Yes, we love the internet. It is - as Musk reminds us - so great that people of the past would never have believed that we could access, create and exchange so much information from something the size of pack of cards. However, as great as it is, the internet just isn't the real thing. Ce n'est pas une pipe. Living in Europe, my experience to date of Elon Musk has been entirely internet based. Blogs, articles, photos, videos and promises of future events that he might speak at. The stories of his extraordinary feats creating Paypal, Space X and the even more futuristic hyperloop have lit the imaginations of many - yet almost always from afar.
Walking back from the supermarket the other day one of my favourite bits of the internet was just standing, motionless, in the road. It was like going to Disney Land, visiting New York or meeting the queen: it was no longer one of those things that was in some far off place happening to someone else. A red Model S Tesla motorcar, brainchild of Elon Musk, was sitting quietly in my road in Berlin. Rotherstraße to be precise.
It was strange to see it standing there. I wasn't in the centre of the city or near some big film premiere. It didn't even have a Berlin registration plate. It had driven all the way from Munich in southern Germany - the home of BMWs, Mercedes and Porsches - in my mind a world of industrial prowess, Lederhosen and dense forests. To me, not the place of leaps in future technologies and sustainability. Turning to a Berliner, he felt it was fitting to see this Munich bourne Model S: Munich for him = technology, investment, research, dividends and luxury.
That, as they say, was that. Elon Musk had a thought and acted on it. Thousands of miles away from Tesla's source two people walked back home down a car lined street. Which one stands out? The impossible one from the internet. The one from the future. One created by Elon Musk.
It was a pleasure seeing your thoughts in reality, Elon. Whilst I'll continue to follow your work and ideas online, you can bring them to my street any time you like.
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