Elon Musk is a rarity, as the gold at the end of the rainbow. Born in South Africa, he is a businessman, inventor, and celebrity. As important as the business aspect of his empire is, this celebrity has come a long way to drive the success of his various ventures, especially his electric car brand Tesla Motors.
Musk, who dropped out of high school in 1995 (while earning his doctorate), went on to pursue his entrepreneurial career. Since then, one entrepreneurial success follows another in his history. Elon’s dreams have led him to work in many industries. These include everything from online payment systems and electric cars to space exploration, unconventional construction and transportation systems, artificial intelligence, and yes, vanity toys.
Musk is a firm believer in the principle of making the world a better place through entrepreneurial problem solving; no wonder, since he seems to start a new company every two years. In December 2016, he was ranked 21st on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful people. In February 2018, Elon Musk was ranked 53rd on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people with net assets of $20.8 billion.
The billionaire is politically active and has often expressed his views on various political issues. In December 2016, he came on board as a member of two of the presidential advisory committees of then-elected President Donal Trump. He would step down from both of them seven months after Trump’s inauguration after he had disagreed with the president in a political direction.
Through his Musk Foundation, Elon has donated over $11 million to many research companies and communities hit by natural disasters.
Elon Musk’s life and education
The extroverted entrepreneur was born on 28 June 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa, as Elon Reeve Musk. Musk was a voracious reader in his childhood and developed an interest in computer programming at the age of ten, which led to him writing his first code for a BASIC-based video game and selling it to a computer magazine for about $500.
Musk was harassed a lot as a child, but he would finish his high school education in the country. In the month of his eighteenth birthday, Elon moved to Canada after his Canadian-born mother granted him Canadian citizenship.
Musk graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Economics from the College of Arts and Science at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business. He moved to California to earn his doctorate in applied physics and materials science but finally left Stanford University two days later to focus on his entrepreneurial endeavors.
His early career: Zip2, and PayPal
In 1995 Musk and his brother Kimbal collected money from investors to start their web software company Zip2. They developed an online city guide for various publishing houses such as The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. The company was acquired by Compaq in 1999 for a total of $341 million in cash and stock options. Musk, who owned a 7 percent stake in the company, received $22 million from the sale.
In March 1999, he took $10 million from the money he received from the Zip2 sale and founded a financial services and email payment company, X.com. The following year, he merged with Confinity, and the new company focused on Confinity’s money transfer service, PayPal. In 2001, the company changed its name to PayPal. The company was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk received $165 million for his 11.7% stake in the company.
Space exploration efforts and Tesla, Inc.
In 2001, Musk again conceived a project he called Mars Oasis in an attempt to revive public interest in space exploration. The project never saw the light of day because he encountered difficulties in obtaining refurbished ballistic intercontinental missiles in Russia. This led him to decide to set up his own company to build affordable rockets that he needed for his Mars exploration. Again, he reached into his coffers and in May 2002, he founded his space research technology company, Space X, in California.
In the following years, Space X’s achievements within the industry brought contracts from NASA in 2006 and another $1.6 billion commercial services recovery program in 2008, and in February 2018 it became the first private company ever to put an object into orbit around the sun. By November 2017, the company had an estimated 7000 employees on its payroll.
In February 2004, Elon led the Series A financing of a company then called Tesla Motors. He was appointed to the company’s board of directors and eventually assumed the position of CEO and product architect during the financial crisis of 2008. The company, which was renamed Tesla, Inc., focuses primarily on manufacturing electric vehicles such as the Tesla Roadster, Model X, and Model S. They also build electronic drive systems for companies such as Toyota and Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, for use in the manufacture of their electric vehicles.
The Tesla exploded under the visionary leadership of Elon Musk, who took home an annual salary of $37,000, according to CNBC. With the acquisition of SolarCity, a company co-founded by two of Musk’s cousins in 2006, Tesla entered the energy storage and manufacturing of solar-powered systems. As of December 2017, Tesla, Inc. employed over 37,000 people.
Since Space X and Tesla, Elon has long expanded its entrepreneurial interests and turned to transportation and artificial intelligence.
He founded Hyperloop on August 12, 2013, and The Boring Company on December 17, 2016, both companies are united in their ultimate goal of making transportation systems more affordable, efficient, and reliable. While Hyperloop is focused on building a high-speed transportation system with next-generation technology, The Boring Company – which was inspired when Musk got stuck in traffic – is essentially an infrastructure and construction company that wants to create an elaborate tunnel network across the country to massively reduce above-ground traffic.
The two artificial intelligence companies founded by Elon Musk are Neuralink and Open AI. According to the billionaire entrepreneur, these two facilities are complimentary. Neuralink is a neurotechnology company that aims to integrate artificial intelligence into the human brain. According to Musk, this will enhance all the functions of the brain to keep up with an age of rapidly advancing intelligence. Open AI, on the other hand, is a non-profit organization that is a kind of check. Its goal is to constantly research the dangers of artificial intelligence and to design security measures to ensure that the further development of artificial intelligence does not ultimately become counterproductive for our humanity.
In 2018, Musk took an unconventional turn in the expansion of his business empire. He announced that he would create a new comedy media company called Thud.
Elon Musk’s Family: Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Wife, Girlfriend, and Children
As already mentioned, Elon was born in South Africa. His father, Errol Musk, was a pilot, sailor, and electrician. His mother, Maye Musk, was a dietician and model, originally from Canada. Musk had two younger biological siblings, Kimbal Musk and Tosca Musk. Kimbal has worked with Elon at various times during his entrepreneurial career. He is also a board member of one of Elon’s many companies. Kimbal owns a chain of restaurants. Tosca is now a filmmaker and producer. She has released several films under her company Musk Entertainment.
It seems that the ever-evolving businessman has had as many relationships as business ventures. So far, the man has had five relationships with four different people.
Musk met Justine Wilson, a Canadian writer, on the campus of Queen’s University in Ontario, where both were students. The two began to meet and married in 2000, and Justine would later have five sons for Musk – twins in 2004 and triplets in 2006 – through in vitro fertilization. They had lost their first child before these five children showed up. The couple divorced in 2008 and shared custody of the children.
Musk began meeting Talulah Riley, an English actress, in 2008. They married in 2010 and divorced in early 2012. They got back together in July 2013 and divorced a second time in late 2016. Next in 2016 was the American actress Amber Heard, but due to their dense career plan, they had to separate after one year. In May 2018 Elon announced that he was in a relationship with the Canadian singer Grimes.
Elon Musk’s height and body dimensions
Elon Musk certainly doesn’t run and doesn’t look lazy to even the most perceptive eye. He stands at an impressive height of 1.88 m, which is about two inches over six feet. He holds a healthy weight of about 82 kg (181 lbs), has hazel eyes and light brown hair.