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My Experience at Burning Man 2010

I once went to a B.B. King concert, not because I'd ever owned a single song of his or had any familiarity with his music or his genre, but because I knew he was the best at what he did. In that same vein, I've always wanted to experience Burning Man, not because I care about hippies, techno music, drugs, or art, but because it's the biggest and best event of its kind in the world.

For years I intended to go to Burning Man, but the problem is that Burning Man requires a huge degree of preparation. As I found out firsthand, it's located in one of the least hospitable areas of the United States, which means that you need more stuff than you're used to needing (goggles, water, etc.), and you must provide it all yourself. So each year passed by with my intentions dissolving into the reality of a fast approaching deadline and not having prepared at all. But this year was different. A friend of mine took the initiative to rent a huge RV, recruit a Burning Man veteran to come with us, and generally organize the trip.

"Well," I thought, "it's never going to be easier than this. I may as well go."

Tesla Model S Factory Tour in Fremont, CA

On DROdio

Sue and I took a tour of the Tesla Model S factory in Fremont, CA today.  This is the old NUMMI plant.  If you haven't heard the NUMMI story between GM & Toyota, and you're a car buff, there's a This American Life episode about it that's just mind blowing.  The net of it is that GM tried to learn Just In Time assembly practices from Toyota, they built a factory together for Toyota to transfer this know-how to GM, and GM completely blew it.  The factory shut down and was sitting idle after that fiasco.

When Elon Musk was looking for a place to build his new Model S sedan, he approached Toyota with a $50MM bid for it, which Toyota accepted.  Why would Toyota sell a car production plant arguably worth $1 billion or more for $50MM?  For the answer to that, you really have to understand the relationship between Musk and Toyota, which is well portrayed in this 2010 WIRED magazine article.

As a reservation holder for the Model S, I'm proud to support one of the most amazing entrepreneurs of our generation.  What makes Elon even more amazing is that he's not only revolutionizing the automobile industry, but the space industry as well, with SpaceX... at the same time.  Elon, my hat is off to you.

Below are a number of pictures and vidoes of the factory and the event, which was very well done.

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