Elon Musk is a rarity, like the gold at the end of the rainbow. The South African born entrepreneur is a businessman, inventor, and celebrity. As important as the business aspect of his empire is, this celebrity has gone a long way to push the success of his various endeavors, particularly his electric car brand, Tesla Motors.
Musk who dropped out from school at the highest level of education (while doing his Ph.D.) in 1995, moved on to pursue his entrepreneurial career. Since then, since then his story has been filled with one entrepreneurial success after another. Elon’s dreams have seen him contribute to 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 strong believer in the principle of making the world a better place through entrepreneurial problem solving; little wonder, he always seems to be launching a new company every other year. In December 2016, he was No.21 on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People. As of February 2018, Elon Musk was No.53 on Forbes List of The World’s Richest People, with a net worth of $20.8 billion.
The billionaire is politically active and has often voiced his opinions on different political issues. In December 2016, he came on board as a member of two of then President-elect Donal Trump’s presidential advisory committees. He would resign from both seven months into Trump’s presidency after he fell out with the President in terms of policy direction.
Through his Musk Foundation, Elon has given away over $11 million dollars to many research ventures and communities hit by natural disasters.
Elon Musk’s life and education
The extrovert entrepreneur was born Elon Reeve Musk, on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. Musk was a voracious reader in his childhood who developed an interest in computer programming at the age of ten, leading to him writing and selling his first code for a BASIC-based video game to a computing magazine for approximately $500.
Musk was bullied a lot as a kid, but he would finish his high school education in the country. On the month of his eighteenth birthday, Elon relocated to Canada, having gained Canadian Citizenship through his Canadian born mother.
Musk graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Economics, from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Science, and its Wharton School of Business. He moved to California to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics and materials science but eventually left Stanford University two days later to focus on his entrepreneurial aspirations.
His early career: Zip2, and PayPal
In 1995, Musk and his brother, Kimbal raised money from investors to start their web software company called, Zip2. They developed an online city guide for various publishing powerhouses like The NewYork Times and the Chicago Tribune. The company was acquired in 1999 by Compaq 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 of the money he got from the Zip2 sale and launched a financial services and email payment company, X.com. The next year, he merged with Confinity, and the new entity focused on Confinity’s money transfer service, PayPal. In 2001, the company changed its name to PayPal. The company was sold for $1.5 billion in 2002 to eBay. Musk received $165 million for his 11.7 percent stake in the company.
Space exploration efforts and Tesla, Inc.
In 2001, Musk again dreamt up a project he called Mars Oasis, in an attempt to revive the public interest in space exploration. The project never saw the light of the day due to difficulties he encountered in acquiring refurbished intercontinental ballistic missiles in Russia. This led to him deciding to establish his own company to build affordable missiles he needed for his Mars exploration. Again, dipping into his coffers, he launched his space exploration technologies company, Space X, in May 2002, in California.
In the years following Space X’s achievements within its industry brought them contracts from the likes of NASA in 2006, and another $1.6 billion commercial resupply services program in 2008. In February 2018, they became the first private company ever to launch an object into orbit around the sun. As at November 2017, the company had an estimated 7000 people on its payroll.
In February 2004, Elon led the Series A funding of a company called Tesla Motors at the time. He joined the board of directors of the company and eventually took over as CEO and product architect in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Renamed to Tesla, Inc., the company primarily focuses on the manufacture of electric vehicles such as their Tesla Roadster, Model X, and Model S vehicles. They also build electronic powertrain systems for companies like Toyota and Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler for use in the manufacture of their electric vehicles.
Tesla exploded under the visionary leadership of Elon Musk, who was taking home an annual salary of $37, 000 according to CNBC. Tesla moved into energy storage and the manufacturing of solar powered systems with the acquisition of SolarCity, a company co-founded by two of Musk’s cousins in 2006. As of December 2017, Tesla, Inc. provides employment for over 37,000 employees.
Since Space X and Tesla, Elon has long expanded his entrepreneurial interests, going into transportation and artificial intelligence.
He founded Hyperloop on August 12, 2013, and The Boring Company on December 17, 2016. Both companies are related in their ultimate objective, which is to make transportation systems more affordable, efficient, and reliable. While Hyperloop focuses ob building a high-speed transportation system with next-gen technology, The Boring Company – which was inspired when Musk was stuck in traffic – is essentially an infrastructure and construction company aimed at creating an elaborate tunnel network throughout the country to massively decongest traffic above ground.
Elon Musk’s two artificial intelligence startups are Neuralink and Open AI. According to the billionaire entrepreneur, these two establishments are complimentary. Neuralink is a neurotechnology company that aims at integrating artificial intelligence to the human brain. According to Musk, this will amplify all the brain’s functions to help it keep up in an age of rapidly advancing intelligence. Open AI, on the other hand, is a non-profit that serves sort of like a check. Its objective is to constantly explore the dangers of artificial intelligence and designing safety measures to ensure that the advancement of AI doesn’t eventually become counter-productive to our humanity.
In 2018, Musk took an unconventional turn in the expansion of his business empire. He announced that he would be starting a new comedic media venture called Thud.
Elon Musk’s Family: Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Wife, Girlfriend, and Children
As stated earlier, Elon was born in South Africa. His father, Errol Musk, was a pilot, sailor and electromechanical engineer. His mother, Maye Musk, was a dietician and a model, who was originally from Canada. Musk had two younger biological siblings, Kimbal Musk and Tosca Musk. Kimbal has worked with Elon at various times in his entrepreneurial journey. He is also a member of the board in one of Elon’s numerous companies. Kimbal owns a chain of restaurants. Tosca, meanwhile, is a filmmaker and producer. She has released a few movies under her company, Musk Entertainment.
It seems the ever-evolving businessman has had as many relationships as he has business ventures. So far, the man has been in five relationships, with four different people.
Musk met Justine Wilson, a Canadian author at the Queen’s University campus in Ontario where they were both students. The pair started dating and married in 2000. 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 came along. The couple divorced in 2008 and share custody of the kids.
Musk started seeing Talulah Riley, an English actress in 2008. They wedded in 2010 and divorced in early 2012. They got back together in July 2013 and divorced for a second time in late 2016. Next came American actress Amber Heard in 2016, however, their heavy career schedules meant they had to split after one year. In May 2018, Elon announced that he was in a relationship with Canadian songstress Grimes.
Elon Musk’s height and body dimensions
Elon Musk certainly doesn’t walk or look lazy to even the most perceptive eye. He stands at an impressive height of 1.88m which is approximately two inches above six feet. He maintains a healthy weight of about 82 kg (181 lbs), has hazel colored eyes and light brown hair.