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In Billions s03e04, the Farpoint rocket exploded with Craig Heidecker on board.

I assumed the character was based on Elon Musk, but in a comment on this youtube clip of the explosion someone said that the character was not based on Elon Musk, and rather was based on Steve Jobs for the following reasons:

  1. Musk is alive, Jobs is dead. The guy in the clip is dead.
  2. Musk hasn't died on one of his rockets, Jobs died of cancer and used to carry an iphone with him. The guy in The clip died because of the product he manufactured.
  3. Musk has a whole bunch of kids and ex-wives, Jobs tried to erase all proof of him ever being associated with most of his family. The guy in the clip didn't have any family.
  4. They used the footage of the cygnus CRS orb3 failure (on 28 October 2014) for the show, not any of the SpaceX disasters. The Cyngus was an unmanned cargo vessel, and casually was carrying 2 i-phone 6 for a promotional stunt on board the ISS (like they had done with an earlier model of Iphone on STS 135).

This reasoning is interesting, and it gives me more reason to think it was Steve Jobs than Elon Musk.

So who was the character really based on? Is there any more information than this?

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    The reasoning is silly. Jobs didn't die on a rocket either, and Jobs had a family. – ceejayoz Sep 3 '18 at 13:15
  • @ceejayoz So what? – Gimme the 411 Sep 3 '18 at 13:58
  • So the reasons given don't make any sense, as they're factually incorrect. – ceejayoz Sep 3 '18 at 14:31
  • Which facts are incorrect? – Gimme the 411 Sep 3 '18 at 14:32
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    Point two implies that Jobs died of cancer caused by his iPhone, which isn't factual. Point three debunks itself (as Jobs had a family just like Musk), and it was only one daughter from an earlier relationship he tried to weasel out of. He was openly married with children later on. – ceejayoz Sep 3 '18 at 14:35
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in a comment on this youtube clip

That is not the place to look for rational discussions or well-supported arguments. Beware the trolls looking for attention. Not everyone genuinely believes what they claim in a comment.

Nonetheless, every argument made here is easily defeated. I haven't seen Billions, I'm simply responding to the arguments that were made.

  1. Musk is alive, Jobs is dead. The guy in the clip is dead.

The main point of a fictional story (such as Billions) is that you can explore fictional settings. Someone like Elon Musk dying in one of his rockets is one of those things that can be explored.

  1. Musk hasn't died on one of his rockets, Jobs died of cancer and used to carry an iphone with him. The guy in The clip died because of the product he manufactured.

Again, fictional setting.

Secondly, this argument doesn't apply to Steve Jobs either, unless you assume that carrying an iPhone around is proven to have caused his cancer. This is one of those urban legends that lacks any substantive proof.

Here is an extensive research trial (420,000 subjects) on phones causing cancer if you want to know more about it.

  1. Musk has a whole bunch of kids and ex-wives, Jobs tried to erase all proof of him ever being associated with most of his family. The guy in the clip didn't have any family.

There are many reasons why a TV character does not have children. When it is not important to the plot, the main expected reason is that there was no need for additional characters. It's cheaper to hire a single actress to play the widow than it is to also hire extra actors to play the grieving children.

There is also no logic to this claim. Even if Jobs were to have "tried to erase all proof of him ever being associated with most of his family" (which is a statement so blatantly inflammatory it can't help but smell of trolling), that's still not the same as not having a family.

Even if you were to believe everything that is claimed here, it simply doesn't apply to either Jobs or Musk.

  1. They used the footage of the cygnus CRS orb3 failure (on 28 October 2014) for the show, not any of the SpaceX disasters. The Cyngus was an unmanned cargo vessel, and casually was carrying 2 i-phone 6 for a promotional stunt on board the ISS (like they had done with an earlier model of Iphone on STS 135).

I can't help but notice that this bullet point is significantly more detailed and seems better researched. However, it is smoke and mirrors. The core of the claim, that the ORB-3 was carrying an iPhone, is false.

There is not a single hit on Youtube for cygnus CRS orb 3 "iphone", which should be your first indication that a random Youtube comemnter isn't going to know something that apparently is not posted to the internet anyway.

iPhones are also not listed on the manifest, nor are they mentioned in any of the mission objectives. If they were on board, they would be registered as crew supplies, which would be wholly irrelevant as to the claim that the ORB-3 mission was somehow related to iPhones.


This comment seems tailor-made to draw the ire of as many people as possible.

  1. is blatantly stupid logic, intended to draw in those who are easily goaded into an argument.
  2. is subtly asserting that cell phones cause cancer, which is an often debunked urban legend. It also draws the ire of fans of Apple by claiming that the product killed its creator, which is perceived as slander towards the brand.
  3. is emotionally inflammatory
  4. is made to seem well-researched but instead spread blatant lies and inconceivable claims, which draws the attention of anyone who has topical knowledge (and therefore is liable to enter into a long and complex discussion - which is exactly what trolls feed on)

In my opinion as a fellow internet surfer, this Youtube comment was engineered to troll/provoke a response.

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If you mean "based on" as in "inspired by", then possibly yes to Elon Musk according to the writer of this article,

A chief executive officer inspires such fervor only so often. As a tech celebrity, Musk has eclipsed the reclusive late Steve Jobs or nerdy Bill Gates, in the sense that his dreams, including populating Mars and burrowing transport-tunnels beneath Los Angeles traffic, are on such grand scales. He's inspired Hollywood, with Tony Stark in the "Iron Man" movies and Craig Heidecker in the Showtime series "Billions" modeled after him.


Note: I can not find a confirmation from the EPs, but if one does a Google Search about this, one can see many reviewers for the series insist that Craig is inspired by Elon Musk like in this following youtube video:

As to Steve Jobs, it seems like there are less parallels to be drawn, but that doesn't mean that there can't be bits and pieces from various real world tech giants and/or real world "myths" that also doesn't continue to inspire the writers.

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