1/ In 2004, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos met for a meal to discuss space.

It was one of their few in-person interactions.

The conversation they had perfectly captures the different approaches they've taken to space exploration.

Here's the story 🧵 Image
2/ For Bezos, the path to the meeting began in 1999 when he and famed sci-fi author Neal Stephenson watched the film "October Sky" (about NASA engineer Homer Hickam)

After the viewing, the Amazon founder told Stephenson he always wanted to start a space company... Image
3/..and Stephenson said "why don't you start today?"

Stephenson -- author of classics such as "Snow Crash" -- was hire #1 and put together a team of thinkers and engineers.

Bezos dropped in on the team one Saturday a month, mostly to discuss alternatives to chemical rockets. ImageImage
4/ Bezos' space company Blue Origins was officially incorporated in Sept 2000.

Elon Musk wouldn't launch SpaceX until Mar 2002. He bankrolled it with 2 big tech exits:

• selling Zip2 to Compaq for $300m in 1999
• netting $180m after eBay bought PayPal for $1.5B in July 2002
5/ From the start, SpaceX was much more publicly visible.

Musk's attempts to win NASA contracts (competing w/ Boeing and Lockheed Martin) included wild stunts.

In Dec 2003, he rolled a SpaceX rocket down Independence Ave in DC and gave a speech at the Air & Space Museum ImageImage
6/ While SpaceX had yet to launch a rocket into space, it was testing engines in Texas and Bezos wanted to pick Musk's brains.

When they met in 2004, Musk was not impressed by Bezos' progress: Image
7/ Like really unimpressed ("dude, we tried that") Image
8/ Why did Bezos ignore Musk's advice?

His history at Amazon clearly shows 3 things:
• vast patience
• trailblazing its own path
• constant experimentation

If Bezos was wrong, he wanted to find out on his own...and didn't mind if that would take some time.
9/ The Bezos strategy is enshrined in Blue Origin's motto and its coat of arms.

The motto is "Gradatim Ferociter" (step by step, ferociously) while the coat of arms has a pair of turtles (AKA the tortoise vs. the hare) heading to the stars.

Slow and steady wins it for Bezos. Image
10/ Conversely, SpaceX's motto is "Head down. Plow through the line" Musk's aim of creating a multi-planet species (eg Mars) requires urgency.

(Bezos is more focussed on creating a space economy for millions of people)

SpaceX's first successful launch came 4yrs after they met.
11/ Over the years, Blue Origin has aggressively hired top SpaceX talent, often 2x-ing their salary:

"I think it’s unnecessary and a bit rude,” Musk says of the practice.

Blue Origin's New Shepard would finally touch the edge of space in Apr 2015, nearly 7 years after SpaceX. Image
12/ With Bezos retiring from Amazon and focussing more on Blue Origin, the battle b/t the world's 2 richest people (each worth $160B+) may just be starting.

While SpaceX has the clear lead, Bezos is likely banking on Aesop's tortoise and hare fable to win the race. ImageImage
13/ If you enjoy business stories like this (or dumb memes) SMASH that follow: @TrungTPhan

Excerpts from the great book "The Space Barons" by Christian Davenport.

Check this story about Elon Musk starting SpaceX with a legendary cold call:
14/ PS. Here's a funny video debunking Bezos' claim that Blue Origin made the first re-usable rocket:

15/ If the space beef between Musk and Bezos wasn’t enough.

Amazon-backed EV startup Rivian (maker of trucks and SUVs) is eyeing a $50B IPO this year.

Here’s how it’s truck stacks up to Tesla’s Cybertruck. Image
16/ PS: Link to "Space Barons" amazon.com/Space-Barons-B…

And a story I wrote about founding SpaceX team member, Jim Cantrell: thehustle.co/jim-cantrell-r…
17/ PPS: Here was a dumb meme that got the @elonmusk seal of approval

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More from @TrungTPhan

25 Jul
Virgil Abloh just sold 60% of his streetwear brand Off-White to lux giant LVMH, where he serves as artistic director.

Incredibly, the Ghanaian-American has no formal fashion training (background = architect, DJ).

Here are 10 insights from a multi-disciplinary life.

Background: Virgil Abloh was born in 1980 in Rockport, Illinois to Ghanaian immigrants.

His father (Nee) worked for a paint company. His mother (Eunice) was a seamstress, who taught him how to sew.

In his teens, Virgil -- an avid skateboarder, graffiti artist -- designed tees. Image
After high school, Abloh's parents wanted him to learn a practical career, so he enrolled in Civil Engineering at U. of Wisconsin-Madison.

He didn't want to be an engineer in the "classic sense". He kept making custom tees and DJ-ing (his dad passed down an interest in music). Image
Read 27 tweets
24 Jul
In November 2012, Mark Zuckerberg sent a cold email (below) to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel.

Not long after, Facebook offered to buy Snap for $3B. Spiegel turned it down and — today — Snap is worth $120B+.

LESSON: Never accept offers from strangers on the internet.
Spiegel’s rationale for not taking the deal is great: “There are very few people in the world who get to build a business like this..I think trading that for some short-term gain isn’t very interesting.”

(“Short-term gain” = ~$750m for his cut) forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/…
Snap board member (and Benchmark VC) Mitch Lasky did say in an email that Spiegel did oscillate daily on whether to sell or “go long”

Read 5 tweets
22 Jul
Ted Lasso’s Season 2 starts tomorrow.

If you want a masterclass in character writing, re-watch the Pilot episode. My Hollywood screenwriter buddy did a frame-by-frame breakdown for me.

The show’s writers make us love Lasso…and it only takes 157 seconds.

1/ From the get go, the Ted Lasso writing team effectively deploys the classic storytelling technique "show, don't tell".

Instead of Lasso (or other characters) talking about how great of a guy he is, we come to the conclusion based on observing his actions.
2/ We first see Lasso at the 3:51 mark of the pilot.

And when we do, it's a still photo of him on ESPN's Sportcenter show.

Importantly, it's a HUGE smiling photo that instantly pulls you in...and you spend 28 seconds with the still smiling image as Scott Van Pelt speaks.
Read 15 tweets
21 Jul
Zuck’s already sold $2.1B of $FB stock this year. Dude’s def going to space:
Wonder if Zuck’s knowledge of space travel is a limited as his knowledge of AI:
Read 4 tweets
20 Jul
never deleting this app Image
TBF: the text reads a lot worse than the audio
Updated my Linkedin profile Image
Read 4 tweets
20 Jul
Apple's AirPods did ~$16B in 2020.

More than: (LTM)

• Mastercard ($15.4B)
• Estee Lauder ($14.3B)
• Adobe ($14.4B)
• Kellogg ($13.9B)
• Nordstrom ($11.6B)
• eBay ($11.2B)
• Uber ($10.8B)
• Bed Bath ($9.9B)
• Intuit ($8.9B)
• Chipotle ($6.3B)
• Under Armour ($4.8B) Image
Apple’s Hype Cycle, explained Image
$16B estimate via @theinformation Image
Read 4 tweets

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