Every competitor to American dominance (and holder of the fed's debt)seems to be sending satellites, trinkets, and people into space while we stagnate. They, too, seem to have kids who are smarter and more dedicated to learning than our videogaming youth. These international kids major in STEM disciplines, of all things! So, is America behind?
First to launch the forerunner to mid-20th century rocket technology (Goddard),
First Space Tourist (Dennis Tito of California)
First to send an Iphone to Space on a 4-figure budget("Brooklyn Space Program"*)First to privatize Space. I heard that the backer of the SpaceX program is actually from South Africa, but history books will remember this as an "American" endeavor.
The SpaceX launch earlier this week resembled what the government did about 50 years ago. However, one main difference is that this project was spearheaded by private industry. If a private company built a craft that terminates the lives of 2% of its occupants, there'd certainly be outrage, and shutdown by the feds. But if the government does it, it's simply a Christopher Columbian Odyssey. In 55 or so years of government management through NASA, the space program notably sent men to the moon (but none in 37 years), and a shuttle (which would be an antique if it were a car). As in a number of other homegrown tech-related industries, the government spearheaded initially, but then there came a time for private industry to take over.
Mercedes has this "exclusive" social network for the under-30 set. But clearly the website was written by someone over 30: I'm one of too many of my "demographic" for the club. In big letters from them: Sorry. In fine print, there is a link to the general survey page, but the damage had already been done. Okay, another luxury car company would actually appreciate my interest in their business (my loyalties are with Volvo).
But consider this: if I were a potential customer, I'd be totally turned off. Rule 103 of marketing: make your customer feel special. Now suppose that down the road, I decide to go to a Benz dealership. I'd have fun with the salesman. Don't ask me about the chicken games I'd set up for him, but I'd get the run for my money. The set-up line might possibly be;"I know that something that happened between me and this company 30 years ago isn't your respnsibility, but someone's got to take the fall." The result may end up with me taking that electronic checkbook out the door in confidence(if cars will be sold in stores then), or in a good laugh.