The news of SpaceX's failure and success this week makes this article as relevant as ever. ( See end)
So how can SpaceX do what they do?
While the cost of a Nasa launch is $2bn, SpaceX does them in a radically different way, for around $62m,
This cost it set to plummet when or if Starship succeeds, it could come down to around $10m per launch, while li
fting 10 times more matter into space. This is incredible progress.
An interesting theory is the progress they've made is so vast because, as a private company, not a Government agency, they are allowed to failure.
Failure is simply seen as a step on the way, a chance to learn, to improve.
I get confused about the culture of fail fast, fail often, the Silicon Valley mantra.
Facebook may like to move fast and break things, but is it Ok if one of the things it breaks is society, trust in the media, or threshold for privacy.
At times it seems like a perfect way to iterate to better, to feel your way to an optimal solutions. At other times it seems like a way to reduce thinking, to A-B test your way to a vision, to generally be lost.
There seems to be a nice compromise between sticking stuff out there and hoping to see what works, and having a robust, unchangable, overly rigid and brittle vision.
And I'm not sure as a rule, in Silicon Valley, we've found that balance.
Dumb ideas get funding, the fallout from failure ( from SVB to FTX to Hacking can be large)
But in this case, well done to SpaceX, and thank goodness for cultures, capital structures and entities that allow progress to the near impossible through risk taking and ambition.