Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper Professor of American History and Affiliate Professor of Law at Harvard University and a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she writes about politics,…
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How Silicon Valley capitalism is as much about narrative as the bottom line. In 2008 when Tesla Motors launched their first car, the completely electric Roadster, Tesla was a great story. Something genuinely new. An engineering marvel. Elon Musk as CEO was an even better story. He had already disrupted banking and aerospace. Now the automobile industry. That same year, the superhero film Iron Man was released. Its creators turned to Musk to help shape this version of the character of Tony Stark, a billionaire arms dealer who believes everything is achievable through technology, and private enterprise. Musk was on the cover of countless magazines, under headlines like “Elon Musk AKA Tony Stark, Wants to Save the World.” He was becoming a celebrity, on a superhero scale.