Can you imagine a greater contrast than that between vehicles from Ford Motors and those from Tesla, Inc.? With the dates of their respective foundings (1903 and 2003) separated by exactly 100 years, the two companies together in many respects encapsulate the full gamut of vehicle design and engineering evolution since the beginning of the automobile industry to the present day.
When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.
This weekend, for the first time in 10 years, the United States launched a manned rocket into orbit from Cape Canaveral, with the aim of docking with the International Space Station. This feat was a joint effort by NASA, a government-funded organization, and a private company that goes by the name of Space Exploration Technologies (better known as SpaceX for short). The success of this launch is due, in large part, to the cost-saving innovations in rocketry by SpaceX engineers—one of the most impressive of which is the use of a reusable Falcon booster rocket. Yet, when somebody has a breakthrough innovation, it is usually a combined cascade of events. “Very rarely, is it one little thing,” according to Elon Musk, the CEO/CTO of SpaceX. “It’s usually a whole bunch of things that collectively amount to a huge innovation.”