Elon Musk的思考方法: First Principles

Elon Musk谈到,他一直用这种First Principles的方式来思考一个问题,即回到问题的根本逻辑上思考,自底向上,而不是通过类比来做判断。

First principles is a physics way of looking at the world. What that really means is that you boil things down to the most fundamental truths and then reason up from there. That takes a lot more mental energy.

比如说,有人觉得汽车电池组非常贵($600 KW/Hour),因为这些电池一直就很贵,并且现在市场上的电池也都很贵,所以在不久的将来,电池应该还是会这么贵。

如果用First Principles来思考的话,我们会分析电池里有哪些成分(碳,镍,锂),这些原材料的价格总计是多少($80 KW/Hour),把他们以这种形式组装起来的成本可能是多少,结果能得到惊人的结论。就好像他当时分析完火箭的价格后,发现居然成本可能达到市场上现有成本的2%。

I think its important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy…The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy…

We are doing this because it’s like something else that was done..or it is like what other people are doing…slight iterations on a theme…

“First principles” is a physics way of looking at the world…what that really means is that you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there…that takes a lot more mental energy…

Someone could –and people do — say battery packs are really expensive and that’s just the way they will always be because that’s the way they have been in the past…

They would say it’s going to cost, historically it cost $600 KW/hour. It’s not going to be much better that in the future…

So first principles..we say what are the material constituents of the batteries. What is the spot market value of the material constituents? It has carbon, nickel, aluminum, and some polymers for separation, and a steel can..break that down on a material basis, if we bought that on a London Metal Exchange, what would each of these things cost. oh geez…It’s $80 KW/hour. Clearly, you need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into the shape of a battery cell, and you can have batteries that are much cheaper than anyone realizes.