Space X got burned last night, and we’re not talking about its Falcon 9 rocket which shattered into a thousand fiery pieces above Cape Canaveral.
When footage of the company’s unmanned rocket- meant to put Facebook’s $95m satellite in orbit to help connect parts of Africa with the online world - exploding during a test take-off went viral, CEO Mark Zuckerberg typed this:
‘As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent. Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well. We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided’.
Look at the way that sentence starts: “As I’m here in Africa”, reminding Space X, and its owner Elon Musk, that while they're out there botching unmanned space missions with the flick of a button from Florida, he’s actually out there doing something. It’s not going to be easy to impoverished communities in the third world the right to send Candy Crush invites to one another but by heck he’s going to do it. With or without major setbacks such as these.
And how about that next line, containing the most passive aggressive of slights in that he's “deeply disappointed”. The Zuck's not just disappointed, Space X, he’s DEEPLY disappointed; disillusioned with your attempt in the same way a dad is angry at his son for getting sent home from school for bad behaviour for chucking apples at cars at lunch time.
See, Elon. You’ve not just let Mark, Facebook and the whole of Africa down. Worst of all, you’ve let yourselves down.