Elon Musk Introduction
Elon Musk is an entrepreneur who has founded and launched multiple businesses. These include PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX.
He is the CEO of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, while he serves as Chief Product Architect for SolarCity. His latest companies are The Boring Company which produces tunneling equipment to make digging tunnels easier and faster and Neuralink – a neurotechnology startup working to combine human brains with AI.
Musk has stated that his motivation comes from a fear of artificial intelligence (AI) taking over the world; “I’ve had so many near-death experiences with AI,” he said in 2017.” If we create some digital superintelligence that exceeds our own abilities, then it’s very likely to be either good or evil.”
Name: Elon Musk
Born: Pretoria, South Africa
Parents: Maye Musk, Errol Musk
Net worth: $194.8 billion
Early life Elon Musk
Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, Transvaal. His birth name is Elon Muskönder but he used his mother’s surname when growing up because there were another seven Elons at the school.
He is a Canadian-American and holds South African citizenship.
Being brought up by a Canadian mother and a South African father who were both very interested in the sciences, Musk was taught to read at home before attending primary school.
Musk developed an interest in computers by teaching himself how to program when he was only nine years old. His childhood heroes would be Martin Cooper who invented the first cellphone and Nikola Tesla an electrical engineer responsible for major advances in electricity distribution systems.
By the time Musk was 14, he had taught himself how to use Lotus 123 and Visual Basic. Using these languages helped him create a video game called Blastar which would be sold for $500.
In 1989, his father moved the family from South Africa to Canada where Elon finished high school at McMaster University in Ontario before graduating with an undergraduate degree in economics and a minor in physics.
Elon Musk went to high school in South Africa. He then attended the University of Pennsylvania and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and economics.
Musk emigrated to Canada at the age of 17 in 1989 to attend Queen’s University and avoid mandatory service in South Africamilitary.
He was unhappy with the tuition fees of $4500 per quarter so dropped out before completing his third year – however, this did not prevent him from moving on to study for an MBA at UPenn’s prestigious Wharton School.
In 1992, Musk moved to California where he started a Ph.D. study in applied physics and material sciences at Stanford University.
Even though he was not able to finish his doctorate studies, Musk has stated that this was the reason why he is always interested in tackling business and engineering problems – “you can’t discount someone saying ‘I don’t know how to do it or it’s really hard’. Those are both true statements; but with those two statements, you can solve a problem that has never been solved before. That’s the thing I love about engineering; it is not like school.”
After dropping out of his physics degree at Stanford, he started a new business which was called Zip2. This involved creating a new business enterprise to provide on-demand city-to-city transportation using vertical take-off and landing electric jets.
Zip2 was a company that Musk co-founded with his brother Kimbal and business partner Greg Kouri. The original idea for Zip2 came from Elon himself who reasoned that the internet would become more accessible and increase in speed – therefore, it made sense to use this technology as an on-demand corporation.
In 1995, they started up the business in California with Kouri and Musk both using $28,000 of their own money to get it off the ground.
The company first began by selling software known as CityGuide which provided efficient maps for navigating digital traffic systems.
Out of 20 employees, only five were programmers so they managed to autonomously create the product within six months time span.
Zip2 was then sold to Compaq in 1999 for $305 million and Elon Musk became a millionaire at the age of 28.
Even though he had made money from Zip2, it was not enough for him – “I thought ‘Wow! I can actually make a difference.”‘
After selling his first business venture, Elon Musk decided that instead of buying a new house or car, he was going to put all of his money back into the technology industry – “I thought, well rather than doing what most entrepreneurs were doing at the time which would have been buying a fancy car or a bigger house I basically took my remaining money and bought companies in related fields.”
X.com and PayPal
X.com was an online financial services and e-mail payment company that Musk decided to invest in back in 1999, which later merged with Confinity – another money transfer service created by Peter Thiel and Max Levchin.
The combination of the two companies formed a new business venture known as PayPal which is now used all over the world as a trusted and secure method of transferring money.
In September 2000, Musk left the company and was replaced by Peter Thiel.
In 2002, eBay purchased PayPal for $1.5 billion which helped Musk become an overnight billionaire at the age of 31 years old.
This made him not only one of the youngest self-made billionaires in America but also created some controversy over his new financial status – “I remember waking up and thinking ‘Wow, I’m worth $100 million!’ Then it was like oh – wait a minute – that means if I don’t give away at least $95 million my wife will divorce me.”
Thus, by figuring out that he was not satisfied with how things were progressing in his life at this point, Musk decided to take action into his own hands.
This led him on a journey where he started making more smart business investments which soon after saw him become an overnight billionaire.
In 2001, Musk became involved with the Mars Society, which was founded to advance human exploration of Mars. He was inspired by plans to establish a growth chamber for plants on Mars and vowed to finance the venture himself.
To send greenhouse payloads into space, Musk traveled to Moscow in October 2001 and bought refurbished Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that had been refitted for spaceflight.
Musk visited NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras, but he was seen as a novice and insulted by one of the Russian chief designers.
The group returned to the United States without finding any missiles. The team traveled back to Russia in February 2002 in search of three ICBMs again.
They met with Kosmotras again, and they were offered one rocket for $8 million. Musk turned down the offer. Elon, instead, decided to create a private company that could produce low-cost rockets.
In May 2002, Elon Musk established Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) with $100 million of his initial money, after Musk observed and learned that NASA’s space shuttle fleet had been irregularly retired and what used to be the lowest cost per pound of payload lifted off before this time – now became by weight.
He reasoned that if there were not any affordable methods for reaching low Earth orbit, then it would make sense to use his own money to create a company that would do it for him.
Space X’s main goal is to innovate and develop the technologies that will reduce space transportation costs in order to enable people living on Earth to lead better lives by colonizing other planets such as Mars – “My vision is for a fully reusable rocket transport system between Earth and Mars that is able to re-fuel on Mars – this is very important. The most fundamental breakthrough needed in rocketry is a rapidly and completely reusable orbital rocket transport system.”
Elon Musk’s drive, determination, and hard work have allowed him to start his own company from scratch that had never been done before which later grew into what we see today as SpaceX – one of the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers and space transport services companies.
Space X has been able to design, test, and deliver a number of different affordable rockets including the Falcon launch vehicle family (including both boosters and upper stages), the Dragon spacecraft family as well as control systems such as the Draco thrusters used on Dragon.
The first successful orbital flight of a privately funded, liquid-propellant spacecraft occurred in September 2008. SpaceX launched Falcon I which became the first privately developed spacecraft to orbit Earth.
Since then, SpaceX has delivered crew and cargo to International Space Station multiple times.
Elon Musk and SpaceX originally wanted to follow its light Falcon 1 with an intermediate capacity vehicle, the Falcon 5. Instead, in 2005, SpaceX made the decision to continue with the Falcon 9, a larger reusable rocket. NASA accelerated the Falcon 9’s development by requiring that certain capabilities be demonstrated in order to receive several commercial flights. SpaceX made a successful launch of Falcon 9 for the first time in June 2010.
The Falcon Heavy is a super heavy-lift vehicle capable of launching 63,800 kg (140,700 lb) into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or 26,700 kg (58,900 lb) into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. On February 6, 2018, Falcon Heavy successfully carried out its inaugural mission, launching Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into a heliocentric orbit.
Space X is able to produce low-cost falcon rockets that are reliable and reusable which has allowed them to become one of the most sought-after companies in aerospace.
Elon Musk acknowledged that the primary goal with SpaceX was not only to colonize Mars but also make humans an interplanetary species – “I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary… in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, “Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left.”
Elon Musk continues to work on his company, SpaceX, in order to build new technologies and continue innovating while also working with NASA. Musk announced: “Working on this mission [International Space Station resupply] has been a rewarding and invaluable experience for the whole SpaceX team. We are looking forward to our next flight, which will be in February from the Cape.”
In 2016 SpaceX unveiled their plan to use satellites orbiting the Earth as well as to create an enormous swarm of internet-providing satellites that will form a network to bring high-speed internet access anywhere on the planet.
In March 2018, SpaceX won approval from the FCC to put 12,000 internet-broadcasting satellites into orbit. The Starlink program will provide global high-speed broadband service to home users, businesses, and internet providers around the world.
It is estimated that this project could cost upwards of $15 billion by 2025 to have a final product in place for all cities across the globe. This number does not even include the proposed Mars Colonial Transporter system that costs an additional $20 billion.
SpaceX has stated that they will be able to provide speeds of one gigabit per second (Gbps) to up to 14 million customers, which is significantly faster than the current speed offered by most US broadband providers today. SpaceX’s long-term goal is for Starlink satellites to work with their Dragon capsules to deliver an internet connection anywhere in the world.
In February 2019, SpaceX established a sibling firm, SpaceX Services, Inc., to manufacture and deploy up to 1 million fixed satellite Earth stations that will communicate with its Starlink system.
Tesla is an electric car company that specializes in creating luxurious cars for eco-friendly drivers.
It was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning and is currently headquartered in Palo Alto, California.
Elon Musk helped the company by funding it with $6.5 million back in 2004 (which made him the largest shareholder, co founder, and its chairman) and later became CEO, after the series of escalating conflicts with the original founders.
He is still the CEO of Tesla today, and he’s the longest-tenured CEO of any car company globally.
Tesla’s goal was to create an electric sports car that would be efficient, but also luxurious enough for people with expensive tastes to want it in their driveways.
Only two years after Tesla was founded, the company released its first electric car into the market: The Roadster. It was a car that could get from 0-60 in about four seconds and had a range of 200 miles.
Tesla has since expanded its lineup to include the Model S four door sedan (released in 2012), Model X SUV (released in 2015), and Model 3 sedan (released in 2017).
Since then, Tesla has increased electric car production and has a constant growth in profits year to year.
Also, recently Tesla unveiled plans to release a semi-truck and a pick-up truck in near future.
One of the biggest features of Tesla cars is the automatic driving system called autopilot. Tesla autopilot is a system of controlling a vehicle with the use of sensors and software via artificial intelligence.
In August 2018, Elon Musk contemplated taking Tesla private. The idea was never realized, and it produced a lot of dispute and legal battles, including a securities fraud charge from the SEC.
SolarCity and Tesla Energy
SolarCity was founded in 2006 by brothers Peter and Lyndon Rive, based on the belief that the world needed to move to sustainable energy.
Elon Musk had expressed an interest in SolarCity as early as 2014. He is now Chairman of the Board of Directors. To fund SolarCity, Elon Musk has invested more than $100 million of his personal funds into the company.
In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity for roughly $2 billion and combined it with its battery energy storage business to form Tesla Energy.
SolarCity provides solar power systems to homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits, and government organizations and strives to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
SolarCity has grown rapidly in the last few years and is now the second-largest solar installer in the United States, with 11 states across America under their belt.
In addition to creating cars, Tesla also sells battery products for use in homes and businesses that have solar panels on their roofs. These batteries allow people with solar power sources at home to be able to store the extra electricity they create from sunlight so it can be used later when there’s a shortage or during the night.
The company’s mission is to make clean energy accessible to everyone. This includes developing new ways to finance solar projects that are affordable for homeowners–whether they’re leasing or making a traditional purchase–and delivering renewable energy at prices that are competitive with fossil fuels without subsidies.
The Boring Company
The Boring Company is a tunnel construction company that aims to alleviate traffic congestion in the nation. The startup was founded by Elon Musk, who has been recently exploring ways on how he can make life easier for commuters and travelers alike.
The company takes its name from the fact that it is boring tunnels. The Boring Company has already started digging a one-mile test tunnel in Hawthorne, California along SpaceX’s headquarters.
The startup now aims to construct an extensive network of road tunnels underneath Los Angeles and Culver City by using faster but more cost-effective methods than those used by traditional tunneling companies such as The Boring Company. This will allow The Boring Company to reduce the cost of tunnel boring by a factor of ten and increase tunneling speed from an average rate of 14 feet per day at present to 57 feet per day.
The company aims to be able to construct tunnels for both high-speed public transport and also for vehicles.
The Boring Company built the tunnel under Las Vegas Convention Center in early 2021.
The Boring Company aims to build tunnel networks in Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington DC that will allow passengers to travel from place to place without traffic congestion through high-speed electric skates or platforms that can move at speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour (about 124 miles).
In order to achieve its goal of reducing traffic congestion, The Boring Company has been working towards providing alternative methods of transport by using electric skates or platforms that can run on The Boring Company’s tunnels.
Neuralink is an American neuroscience company founded by Elon Musk to improve human-computer interaction by creating neural interfaces with the brain.
Musk tweeted the Neuralink announcement on Twitter in 2017 and is a collaboration between Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc., and Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
It has been speculated that Neuralink will be responsible for creating brain-machine interfaces (BMI). This would allow humans to connect wirelessly with computers as well as with each other.
Musk has also discussed neural laces that would directly interact with the brain and allow humans to achieve symbiosis with machines.
The Neuralink will likely be responsible for creating BMI, which is a wireless connection between computers and brains allowing neural signals (thoughts) to pass through it in order to control machines.
It is also speculated that neural laces would allow humans to achieve symbiosis with machines through direct interaction with the brain.
Hyperloop was originally thought up by Elon Musk, who envisioned it as a mode of transportation that uses pressurized tubes in which capsules float on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.
Musk’s idea was first published in 2013 through the Hyperloop alpha design concept.
The hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and/or freight transportation. It would be able to transport people from one place to another through pods or capsules that run inside sealed tubes that have very low air pressure, allowing the pod to travel at high speeds as there’s little resistance against it (similarly how an airplane moves in the atmosphere).
The Musk Foundation is a private, non-profit organization founded in 2002 by Elon Musk.
The goals of the foundation are to provide solar power and internet access to school children in East Africa. The foundation has since been scaling up its projects, with a goal to build 300 schools and provide electricity to over 650K children by 2020.
In order to achieve these goals, Foundation has been working towards providing solar power and internet access for school children in East Africa. They have also sought collaboration with other organizations such as solar providers and internet providers. This will allow them to expand their work in the region and reach more children across Africa within the next few years.
Elon Musk has been criticized for his use of Twitter and other social media platforms, which he uses to announce new projects and companies as well as occasionally making personal statements that surprise many people.
Some have expressed concern over Tesla’s safety protocols, while others claim Elon Musk’s actions and words are overshadowing Tesla’s actual accomplishments.
The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a legal action against Elon Musk for securities fraud after Musk’s tweet that he was taking the company private at $420 per share, causing shares to rise more than six percent in minutes before trading of TSLA stock was halted.
Musk ultimately agreed to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the SEC investigation, without admitting or denying the agency’s claims. The SEC charged Musk with fraud, and Tesla was fined $20 million each. Musk was forced to step down as chairman of Tesla for three years but remained as CEO.
Elon Musk defended himself in interviews and confirmed that he does not regret the tweet that prompted the SEC inquiry.
Joe Rogen interview
Joe Rogan has interviewed Elon Musk on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast in September 2018 which was the first time that Elon spoke about Tesla’s future plans in detail to a wider audience beyond investors.
The interview received over 12 million views on YouTube, and the most controversial point was that the two were smoking marijuana in the show.
Elon Musk later tweeted “I thought I was asked to inhale.”
After the event, Tesla’s stock fell, which happened to be followed shortly by the confirmation of Tesla’s vice president of worldwide finance’s resignation that day.
The Defamation Case
Elon Musk was sued by Vernon Unsworth, a British cave explorer who helped rescue 12 Thai boys and their coach from Tham Luang Cave in July 2018. This happened after Elon Musk arranged for his staff to build a tiny rescue pod to assist the evacuation of children trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.
In an interview with CNN, Vernon Unsworth, a British recreational caver who had been exploring the cave for the previous six years and had advised on the rescue, slammed the sub as “meaningless” because it was little more than a public relations stunt with no possibility of success, and that Elon Musk “had no conception of what the cave passage was like” and “can stick his submarine where it hurts”. Musk claimed on Twitter that the submarine would have worked and mentioned Unsworth as a “pedo guy”.
Vernon accused Elon of defamation after he made an unsubstantiated claim that Vernon had married a child bride due to a lack of evidence or justification for his claims.
Elon Musk later removed his tweet and issued an apology.
æ a xii
In 2020, Grimes gave birth to her and Elon Musk’s first child. The couple chose a controversial name – æ a xii which sparked increased activity on social networks when people tried to figure out what it means.
Many implied that the name was a joke. Elon Musk is a well-known Twitter joker, frequently putting up jokes and memes for his 33.6 million followers.
Soon after, Grimes published an explanation of what each character represents: X is the “unknown variable,” Æ stands for Grimes’ “elven spelling of Ai,” and A-12 is a type of CIA aircraft known internally as Archangel.
Why is Elon Musk famous?
As you can see, Elon Musk is famous for many reasons throughout the years, but most prominently – he’s able to use his willpower and brainpower to start companies from zero and turn them into profitable businesses.
Some of his more controversial decisions, such as launching a car into space, have made Elon even more well-known than before.
Who’s the man that will take us to Mars? Elon Musk, of course.
Who else could it be but someone who is willing to dream big and has taken some smaller steps in making our dreams come true? He has made a name for himself over the years by showing how he can make his ideas into reality and he’s is not stopping any time soon.
Now, he is currently working on developing technologies that will not only reduce space transportation costs but also make it more affordable for people to live and work in places such as Mars – all with the hope of one day creating a sustainable colony there.
By using his incredible determination and never-give-up attitude, Elon Musk has been able to do what most people would have never even thought was possible.
And with this, Musk is just getting started!