On this day in 2004, SpaceShipOne took its last, fastest, and highest flight into space. It was the first commercial aircraft to fly in space. It was designed by Burt Rutan for his company Scaled Composites. He’s an amazing guy. But the truth is that I only really know about him because I used to work for a real estate company that did most of its investing in the California desert where the company is located.
I’ve long wondered why it is that Elon Musk is such a big name in the world of high tech but Rutan isn’t. And then I realized: Musk is a billionaire. It’s not about tech. I never thought much of Musk. Other than a couple of successful — but hardly innovating — companies, what has the world gotten from him: talk. But this is America and “when you’re rich, they think you really know!” It’s a shame. And a sham.
But Rutan is the real deal. And he doubtless has a better life. He’s been able to do what he loves. Musk shows all the signs of needing the accolades he receives. He’s another Steve Jobs. And those who read me often will know that I don’t mean that as a compliment.
Update 4 October 2015 7:13 pm
David Nichols mentioned in the comments that “A Satisfied Mind” would would be appropriate here. I quite agree. But we’ll go with Porter Wagoner’s popular version instead of Cash’s: