2018/05/04

Behind Elon Musk: How to be the most interesting man in tech?

We all know Elon Musk and his famous SpaceX and Tesla, but how did he rise from the kid bullied at school to the most interesting man in tech? Here are a few ideas about the rise.

image credit: internet
Elon Musk was born on June 28th, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa.

His father said he's "always been an introvert thinker." Musk's mother is a professional dietitian and model.

After his parents divorced in 1979, the nine-year-old Musk and his younger brother, Kimbal, decided to live with their father.

In 1983, at the age of 12, Musk sold a simple game called "Blastar" to a computer magazine for $500.

Still, Musk's school days weren't easy — he was once hospitalized after being beaten by bullies.

After graduating from high school, Musk moved to Canada and spent two years studying at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

But he finished his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, taking home degrees in physics and economics.

While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and a classmate rented out a 10-bedroom frat house and turned it into a nightclub.

After graduation, Musk traveled to Stanford University to study for his PhD — but he barely started the program before leaving it.

With his brother, Kimbal, Musk launched Zip2.

While Zip2 got off the ground, Musk literally lived in the office and showered at a local YMCA.

Musk next started X.com, an online banking company.

Musk was named the CEO of the newly minted PayPal. But it wouldn't last long.

While Musk was en route to Australia for a much-needed vacation, PayPal's board fired him and made Thiel the new CEO.

But things worked out for Musk — he made another windfall when eBay bought PayPal in late 2002.

Even before the PayPal sale, Musk was dreaming up his next move, including a crazy plan to send mice or plants to Mars.

In early 2002, Musk founded the company that would be known as Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, with $100 million of the money received from the PayPal sale.

SpaceX's first vehicles were named after Star Wars' Millennium Falcon spaceship.

Another early vehicle was named after the song "Puff the Magic Dragon."

SpaceX's long-term goal is to make colonizing Mars affordable.

Musk has also been keeping plenty busy here on Earth, particularly with Tesla Motors.

Musk took an active product role at Tesla, helping develop its first car, the Roadster.

As if that wasn't enough, Musk came up with the idea for SolarCity, a solar energy company.

But back at Tesla, all was not well.

In 2008, with the financial crisis seriously limiting his options, Musk personally saved Tesla from bankruptcy.

But between SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, Musk very nearly went broke.

Around the same time, Musk was going through a divorce.

But right around Christmas 2008, things started looking up again.

By 2010, things had seriously turned around, with Tesla holding a successful initial public offering.

Musk's extraordinary career was starting to get noticed in other circles, too, most notably in Hollywood.

All the while, Musk's personal life has been in continual flux.

And in August of 2017, Aquaman actress Amber Heard broke it off with Musk after a year of dating.

Work is going well, though, particularly at SpaceX.

The Falcon Heavy, the successor to the Falcon 9 and the most powerful rocket SpaceX has built to date, completed a successful maiden launch in February 2018.

The Falcon Heavy carried a unique payload: A dummy dubbed "Starman," and Musk's personal cherry red Tesla Roadster, who were launched towards Martian orbit.

Musk can't stop coming up with new ideas, either. Among his latest is the Hyperloop.

In April, Musk took to Twitter to announce his plans to test a Tesla and SpaceX-branded Hyperloop at half the speed of sound, or 383 mph.

Musk also recently started another company — The Boring Company, which is more interesting than its name suggests.

And in late 2015, Musk cofounded OpenAI, a nonprofit dedicated to researching artificial intelligence and ensuring it doesn't destroy humanity.

At the same time Musk sounds the warning bells over AI, Tesla is investing heavily in autopilot, its self-driving car technology.

In late 2016, Tesla bought SolarCity in a $2.6 billion deal, bringing one of his extant ideas back home to roost.

From a political standpoint, 2017 was a bit rocky for Musk.

2018 seems to be looking up for Musk, though: While Model 3 production is still not quite on track, Tesla and SpaceX are both doing well. He's worth about $20 billion, all told — far from his days of being broke.

 


In conclusion, it is curiosity and dream that drive Musk to overcome all difficulties and become CEO of these two major companies. Between space rockets, electric cars, solar batteries, research into killer robots, and the billions he's made along the way, Musk is basically a real-life Tony Stark — which is why he served as an inspiration for "Iron Man."

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