It’s finally here! After several months of waiting, I finally picked up my flamethrower from the Boring Company Flamethrower Pickup Party in Washington, DC.
As I’ve written about previously, it’s nice to see so many people from across the country to celebrate the launch of something so unnecessary, but also, so delightfully entertaining.
Who Actually Buys a Flamethrower?
Based on conversations with people at the event, there were a couple main reasons people were there. Many were Elon Musk/Tesla devotees who viewed his event and the ownership of a flamethrower as appreciation toward Musk’s can-do attitude, and desire to flout convention. I saw a lot of Tesla apparel, SpaceX “Occupy Mars” T Shirts, and The Boring Company’s Hats.
Since this was the second and largest pickup event so far, there were a fair amount of people who had driven hundreds or thousands of miles on a supercharged road trip. There were probably at least 70 Tesla cars in the small parking lot at any given time. One couple who I spoke to had literally just received their Model 3 the week before and thought this was the perfect inaugural voyage. They had even listened to the Audible version of Ashlee Vance’s, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.
The demographic skewed white/male heavily, but there was a surprising range in ages represented (teens to some retirees). I only got a limited sample size as I was there for the first time slot. Even then, there was already a long line around the block from people who had arrived hours earlier.
After signing in there were Boring Company staff who explained that the pit in the center of the vacant lot would eventually become a station for the super-high-speed transit line, which is planned to connect DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.
The Boring Company was issues a permit in November 2017,allowing preliminary digging on the site at 53 New York Avenue NE in Washington DC.
Pods of passengers and platforms loaded with vehicles would “skate” through the tunnel at high speeds to dramatically reduce the journey times between the cities, and reduce congestion on the roads above.
The other cool thing The Boring Company staff showed us was the much anticipated bricks made from compressed dirt that Musk had suggested he would sell. The Boring Bricks are being made out of dirt excavated from the tunneling projects.
The bricks were larger than I had anticipated and felt quite heavy. Someone in front of me in line dropped one and there was no discernible damage to the brick and they seemed quite dense. As promised they also stacked quite well.
After a brief safety overview, I was handed a flamethrower by one of the employees, and instructed to try it out.
The flamethrower was surprisingly light and quite easy to use. My propane tank was running low, but when full, the flames probably extended another 3–5 feet. It was very easy to control and the design felt sturdy.
I was even able to convince them to let me roast a few marshmallows. While this one was burned to a crisp due to excessive flames, the flamethrower would generally do a great job roasting marshmallows or other foods, if utilized carefully.
Ultimately —the event was a lot of fun. I met some really interesting people, got a chance to talk about colonizing Mars, learned a bit more about boring technology, and I successfully picked up my flamethrower. It felt a bit like waiting in line for a ride at Disney World — but on crack.
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Casey Botticello is a partner at Black Edge Consulting. Black Edge Consulting is a strategic communications firm, specializing in online reputation management, digital marketing, and crisis management. Prior to founding Black Edge Consulting, he worked for BGR Group, a bipartisan lobbying and strategic communications firm.
Casey is the founder of the Cryptocurrency Alliance, an independent expenditure-only committee (Super PAC) dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain advocacy. He is also the editor of several Medium publications, including Making Money Online, Blogging Guide, and Black Edge Consulting. He is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. in Urban Studies.