Winning a race no one is running
There is something about boys and their toys.
It doesn’t matter how successful they are, or how old, or any other factor that you can think of. No, the boys are always going to want to have the biggest and the best, the fastest and the first of everything.
The tape measure is never too far away. Everything is a competition.
For most, this never ending competition plays out simply — who can have the most meticulously manicured lawn, or the juiciest barbequed steaks. For the more fortunate, it comes down to having the biggest vacation home, or fastest vanity car.
And, seemingly, for the richest boys in the world, it is a race to spend billions to develop space technology that can send themselves beyond the atmosphere — they are going to be astronauts! It’s the ultimate show and tell with the fanciest and most successful toy yet.
Last month, I wrote about how it appeared that Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Jeff Bezos had appeared to have won the competition to get into space first (sort of. Where all of these guys are trying to get is just beyond the atmosphere. It’s where actual astronauts first got to on April 12, 1961).
However, late last week, another of the boys — Richard Branson –– announced that he was one upping Bezos. His Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) toy was now going to send him and three other Virgin employees into near space nine days before Bezos. He would now be the first ultra billionaire into space, not Bezos!
Of course, being the first ultra billionaire into space is not a competition that anyone outside of the ultra billionaires care about. The hope here is that the race to get there first isn’t going to prevent them from getting there the right way.
Or, that it won’t kill someone, themselves included. The reason there isn’t commercial space travel is because it’s dangerous to fly to space.
There is some benefit to innovative people pushing each other to be better and there probably will some form of commercial space travel in the near future, but the boys rushing to be “first” should probably take a step back and realize that they are trying to win a race no one else is running.
That’s because they won’t be first. As of the time of writing, there have been 556 people prior to them that have been there before, in fact.
That will include the pilots that will fly their toys up there on the day.