The Autodidacts

Exploring the universe from the inside out

Elon Musk could be reading this blogpost

Generated with Stable Diffusion, prompt "Elon Musk in the style of Rembrandt"

It’s unlikely, but it’s possible. That’s the beautiful thing about writing on the internet.

I have no idea who you are. You might be the Queen of Denmark. You might be the farmer who grew my porridge. Or, you might be you — the very person reading this sentence. Nice to meet you.

I suspect the average person reading this blog is far more influential and educated than I am. The percentage of PhDs and startup founders on our email list makes me quake in my socks every time I hit send. I never even graduated from kindergarten.

The chance of Elon Musk reading this blog is low, but the chance of someone like him running across this blog in the eight years I've been writing is not. And it’s much higher than the chance of meeting people like that any other way.

Writing on the internet is like being in one room with almost everyone on the planet. The web isn’t as open as it used to be, but it remains, vestigially, a meritocracy. (There are exclusive clubs on the internet, but even those who belong to them visit the open web, because that's where most of the good stuff is.) And that’s pretty cool. All you have to do is get people’s interest, and then respect their time.

A blog doesn’t have to be popular for someone influential to stumble across it, or find it on the first page of search results for some obscure query. It doesn’t even have to be spelled correctly, or load fast, or look good (think of Wait But Why!).

This hypothetical reader could be the blogger’s hero. Or they could be the blogger’s least-favourite politician, or an amoral Fortune 500 CEO with a large brain. That might be an even better opportunity.

Even if I’m a nobody with a janky Ghost or Wordpress blog running on free-tier hosting, written late at night in my parents’ basement — if I write something that manages to change Elon’s mind even slightly on a pivotal issue, or just help him be a good person, that could change History. (No pressure!)

Thanks for reading, Elon. You might like my article on Mars governance.