Participants of Elon Musk's Wednesday evening Slash forum presentation for his Boring Company were greeted by Potty snacks: Capri Suns and orange slices in plastic wrap on individual plates, handed out by young men and women in The Boring Company hats. Elon Musk understands that you do not care about a tunnel boring company. But he knows you care about Elon Musk, and if he does enough Elon Musk-y stuff – as this tunnel-boring company names it, it sounds like a bunch of first graders are busy watching football mom snacks distribute the door and a meeting for society in a traffic-ridden synagogue ̵
Musk's special effect is personal. First of all, few other companies, let alone tunnel borers, could offer a public presentation of their new infrastructure project that would double to a date night, as was the case for a couple I spoke to in their early twenties. The woman, who was dressed more for a nice restaurant than a synagogue, was a student at UCLA, so the Bel Air site proved to be cheap; the muscular man with the T-shirt was one of many I met in 1917 talking about Musk like the Russians, probably Vladimir Lenin.
"Elon Musk is a revolutionary," he said. "I'm a Musko – I've got the hat, I and my business partner have bought the flamethrower."
Second, there's this flamethrower, which is for sale on the Boring Company website. It's a fitting example of Musk's special sense of humor, which takes on the Silicon Valley mantra of "Disruption" and then expands it to the extent that you can not tell if he's serious. (He always does.) When he mentions the flamethrower during his presentation, enough people are familiar with the joke to create a room of applause. And later, when a video from a SpaceX test flight gets the same response, it starts to sink, that this is not so much a presentation as a cheer.
Hundreds of people have come to explain to Musk his recently announced partnership with LA Metro to build a test tunnel on the west side of Los Angeles, and how these tunnels – as well as his much-hyped hypothetical hyperloops – could work. Musk The aim of the Boring Company is to create a network of tunnels that criss-cross the city, zooming cars and larger vehicles over 100 kilometers per hour – with no traffic obstruction. If a slide titled "Why Tunneling?" Displaying one of the bullet points simply says, "So much fun." Other funny details are drills named after Samuel Beckett, Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot poems; funny little photo shops of flying smartcars; and a video introduced with the warning, "If you're prone to seizures, you probably should not be watching."
The crowd is remarkably diverse, ranging from gray-haired men in baseball caps and plaid shirts to fashionable young women to yarmulk-wearing members of the Congregation for Couples in their seventies. But you can not miss the majority: men in their 20s and 30s whose passion for musk borders on the spiritual. "I'm a big Elon fan," I'm told when I ask him why he's here, and the only person who tells me otherwise is a trench-wearing member of the Democratic Socialists of America over there because of his environmental problems the project. And all the participants, with the possible exception of the DSA type, are united by their desire to get a photo (or remote selfie with) Musk bullied on stage after the presentation.
While the formal nature of the scenery has deterred some of the stranger elements that Musk usually follow, there are surprisingly many men who wear actual ties, though somebody his wheelie drives shoes across the stage after the synagogue is cleared – the enthusiasm that fills the room seems to suit the environment. When Musk asks, "How cool would that be?", He gets applause again, and when he asks for the crowd's support, the reaction is just as positive. Another of Musk's innovations must be the least controversial account of public building in history. An elderly parishioner who attended the event with her husband, unaware that Musk would be there – both are passionate about reducing congestion – tells me, "There should be such presentations all over the city Attention and the Financing That Needs It. "
But as much as it is a public outing after Musk's puns, the purpose of the night is to give people a chance to see their hero in the flesh. The point is not just the tunnel of the Boring Company on the west side of Los Angeles: for many it's the hem of Elon Musk's cape to kiss. Considering the ticket price – for free, if you're ready to beat the commuter traffic on the 405 – that's not a bad conversation.