December 2013 Foreign Policy

The December issue of Foreign Policy, the so-called Global Thinkers issue, has my commentary on Elon Musk and why he’s a bigger deal than Steve Jobs. You can read the story, “The Rocketeer,” at

Meanwhile, over at Fortune magazine, Chris Anderson has a story comparing Musk to Jobs, basically putting them in the same league.

Actually, Musk, still only in his early 40s, is already miles ahead of Jobs. You can argue that Jobs revolutionized three major industries: personal computing, music distribution, and cell phones, in that order. But these are all in the same category: consumer gadgets.

Musk, on the other hand, has upended the auto industry by making the best car on the road, bar none, an electric vehicle, as well as the space launch industry by launching satellites for a quarter of the cost of the competition. And he’s well on his way to making human spaceflight to orbit and beyond affordable enough to enable the settlement and development of space.

Jobs made gadgets, Musk is revolutionizing big-iron industries that have been stagnant for half a century. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he’s also helping advance human evolution itself by developing the technologies that will finally get us off the planet in significant numbers. There’s no real comparison.