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Should you call yourself an Engineer?

Just a few weeks ago, I had started reading a new book called, "Elon Musk: the Billionaire CEO", and I was led to believe, or rather enlightened to realize that all that I've done up till now, during my proud 19 years on this planet, has literally no significance. Not just that, everything that I planned about my future also seemed to be pretty garbage. Quite an influential book, you'd say. Yes, it is! But it doesn't just end there.
While the book just covers Elon's life, and his companies' rollercoaster stories, I often wonder about humanity's true capabilities through this. Ashlee Vance, the author, often repeats his quotes from Musk's employees about his superhuman routine, and how he manages to push limits of not just his potential, but also of people working for him.

Before I talk about my thesis, let's just put down some facts about Musk's companies:

  1. SpaceX, a startup company by Elon Musk started with no prior experience, and no mentorship by any government/government agency. All Space Activities/Explorations before were performed by prominent, well-funded government agencies only. In fact, they still are the only ones! SpaceX is a truly private company that has reached the space through literal rubble. Still don't think it's a big deal? 
      • When SpaceX was initially getting up on its feet, they scouted Russia for its business deals for components. The Russian costs were too high and closed for negotiations.
      • Musk decided to make every thing for the rocket on his own, to minimize the manufacturing cost, but definitely exploiting the labour costs.
      • Aerospace experts were called in for jobs, and a few passionate ones stayed in this scandalous venture. Yet, no one had ever built everything on their own.
      • The company was founded in 2002, and it succesfully launched a rocket in 2008. 
    Now think about this. A team, of under 1000 people maybe, successfully launched a rocket in 6 years without any external help, made everything on their own, and it took all the government agencies half a century to do this! This has been my single biggest epiphany in the past month. One might agree, that the early scientists didn't have the technology of today to do what has been done. Yes, surely they didn't.
    Everyone is limited by the technology of their time until they actually build something that pushes the time ahead!  
    There are instances when SpaceX has actually invented methods to do something that wasn't achievable through trivial methods! And if you're asking me if people have invented technologies just to be ahead in the game? Hold on.
  2. Tesla, a modern electric car company. That's what I used to think about it too! But, Tesla isn't just the best electric car, it is The Best Car! Their first car, Tesla Model S, can simply be described as, "Ahead of its time". 
    • For a 20-minute charge, Tesla can go upto a 100-150 miles. I will not go into much details about the car's extra features, but I'll just say they'd beaten the BMW's and Mercedes' cars at that time.
    • The engineers have innovated the battery arrangement, which can provide maximum efficiency. The story behind it (in the book) is absolutely mind blowing!
If you think about these feats achieved by the engineers under Musk, and if you are aware of the fate of most "innovative" engineers in the world, you would find a stark difference. Both these companies have not just proved the media wrong, they've proved the experts wrong. Experts in the Space Industry who dubbed SpaceX's aims and ideas as utter bullshit, and Experts in the automotive industry who scoffed at the idea of an all-electric car company, have all been proven wrong. There's a reason their experience, and understanding of their field made them frame the conclusions they came up with. But most importantly, their conclusions were based on the assumption of Human Capability, that a person, or a team, no matter how big, can only do so much. 
It's not the experience which was proven wrong, but the assumption. Engineers at Tesla, SpaceX have worked 14-15 hours a day for years to come up with these ground-breaking products. And mind you, it's not just labour, it's engineering. 
All these achievements in such a short span of time actually makes me question if this is the true capability of humanity. Could we have achieved a SpaceX-like feat earlier if everyone involved before SpaceX had put in their real 100%? I'm definitely not questioning anyone's efforts in the past, but it is clear that things can be achieved ridiculously faster than they are being achieved today. Solutions to problems can be found much earlier than they're being found today. 

Our scientific progress isn't that great to be honest. The environment continues to rot while businessmen play with their petty stocks and bonds everyday in the market. Money is a commodity, and people are more obsessed with commodity than knowledge. As "intelligent" beings, we must realise that innovation and scientific progress must always be the first human priority, above wars, borders, markets and politics.

To say that we have stopped innovating and inventing would be wrong. But the human potential is far ahead than what is being realized. The real inventors, the Engineers, tend to run after well-settled jobs after they've finished learning the essentials. Before that, they run after courses, or certifications, rather than finding solutions to the real-world problems that plague us. We have about 15 lakh engineers that graduate every year from India alone. Just imagine how many problems of Waste Management, Climate Change, Landslide Prevention, Hunger & Agriculture could be solved even if about 40% of these engineers come up with solutions and start implementing them? The case is not just in India, the very same problems trouble every country more or less, and constructive, efficient and cheaper solutions need to be developed as soon as possible. 

Where on one side of the world, we have a bunch of engineers who are redefining the human potential of achieving feats of actually developing something that advances a human cause, a larger population is still too slothful to realise that their brain needs to start contributing to humanity, and not profit-making firms that are driven by man-made commerce.

P.S.: I don't call myself an Engineer anymore. Having said that, I would recommend this book to you, this might change your perception too (although there's a chance you might not be as pessimistic, hopefully). In the mean time, if you've any ground-breaking world-helping idea that might just take the world to a higher level, ping me!


  1. I am pinging you an awesome idea.

  2. inspiring people who are interested in chchangi the world in bettbetway.

  3. Indeed Elon Musk is a true hero and a brilliant mind, the Tony Stark of our days. Though something bothers me. You were calling yourself an engineer after “my proud 19 years on this planet”?


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