You’ve got to hand it to Elon Musk. The outspoken founder of Tesla and SpaceX really knows how to get people talking, and with the revelation of his long awaited plans for the high-speed transit system Hyperloop, the buzz is only going to get bigger.
Earlier today, Musk tweeted:
Pulled all nighter working on Hyperloop (as did others). Hopefully not too many mistakes. Will publish link at 1:30 PDT.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2013
The plans for Hyperloop were already highly anticipated and Musk had been teasing his followers for weeks. This afternoon, he revealed the open-source design for Hyperloop which he envisions as a series of aluminium pods encased in steel tubes that would travel at super high speeds, up to 800 miles per hour. Two tubes would run side by side, with pods travelling in opposite directions on each one, and they would connect in a loop at the end. The tubes would be mounted on columns that would repeat every 150 to 300 feet, high above the ground. With a pod leaving every 30 seconds, the system would theoretically be able to transport people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than half an hour. Musk described it to Bloomberg Businessweek as being “like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland.”
While the design for the Hyperloop sounds pretty incredible if it were actually being built, don’t expect it to happen any time soon. Musk isn’t going to do it himself, he’s merely laid out the design in the hopes that someone else will come along and implement it. He estimates the cost of the entire system to be between $6 billion and $10 billion, but Musk believes its justifiable because a big investment deserves an incredible outcome. It’s a direct shot at California’s high-speed rail project which he says is incredibly expensive and also incredibly slow, providing no value.
Whether you think the design is going to work or not, you have to admire Musk’s showmanship and his earnest desire to actually get technology to solve a huge real world problem. Keep in mind, all he has right now is just an idea, not even a real product and people can’t stop talking about it. That’s how you know you’ve got a strong personal brand. When all you have is an idea. Not even Steve Jobs could have conjured up this much buzz over just a concept.