Elon Musk: biography of the visionary founder of Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk

Elon Musk: biography of the South African entrepreneur who founded Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity

When we talk about innovators in recent years, we can’t help but talk about Elon Musk . In fact, the founder of Tesla is profoundly redefining all the paradigms related to the automotive, renewable energy and space travel sectors.

In this StartUp Magazine post, we retrace the life and successes of Elon Musk , the one who is revolutionizing the world with his businesses.

He is in fact the founder of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Neuralink , president of SolarCity, founder of “The Boring Company”, co-founder of PayPal and OpenAI, supporter of the Hyperloop fast transport system.

Let’s discover together step by step his extraordinary goals achieved, which have led him today to be one of the richest men in the world, especially after the run-up of the Tesla stock on the stock market.

Elon Musk: the beginnings

Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 28, 1971 to Maye Haldeman , a model of Canadian origin and Errol Musk, an electronic engineer.

Musk’s family has different origins: his grandmother was British, his maternal grandfather was of American origin, and this subsequently allowed him to acquire American and Canadian citizenship.

Elon’s life, thanks also to his father’s profession, an electro-mechanical engineer, is immediately based on a passion for technology: at just 10 years old he learned the programming language on his own, so much so that at 12 years old he sold his first video game, Blastar , written in BASIC, a web version that still exists online today.

However, this extraordinary intelligence of his was also his Achilles’ heel in childhood: in fact, he was often targeted by school bullies, so much so that once following a beating, he lost consciousness and ended up in hospital.

At 18, young Elon moved to Canada to study at Queen’s University, in the state of Ontario.

Elon Musk’s college career

Elon Musk’s university career is outside the lines: Degree in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania (where he moved from Canada), then second degree in Economics at the Wharton School of Business, one of the most important and prestigious in the world.

Elon subsequently began his doctorate in Applied Physics and Materials Science at Stanford University, which he however abandoned to become an entrepreneur: he understood the potential of the Internet and renewable energy, and decided to begin his adventure in the business world.

The adventure in PayPal and his beginnings as an entrepreneur

Elon Musk’s life as an entrepreneur began in 1995, when he and his brother Kimbal founded Zip2 , which provided online content to users. The venture was successful and Elon sold the company in 1999 to Compaq’s AltaVista for $307 million plus $34 million in stock options. The money obtained from the sale is all reinvested in a new company: in fact he co-founded , a company that provided financial services and online payments through email… I know what you are wondering and the answer is YES: this company later becomes PayPal ! In fact, the idea was entirely Elon’s, but in 2002 he decided to sell the service to eBay: how could 1.5 billion dollars be refused?

The sale of PayPal brings to the fore the figure of Elon Musk as one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the world.

Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity

But Elon is an entrepreneur in his DNA: in fact, after selling PayPal, he doesn’t want to stop doing business and understands the potential of two sectors: renewable energy and space travel . And it is from here, at the beginning of the 2000s, that Elon Musk decided to invest in the future: he founded Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity .

The first is SpaceX , which stands for  Space Exploration Technologies Corporation , of which he is CEO and CTO. This company designs and builds rockets and space vehicles, which can be used for the transport of people and goods, so much so that it supplies the Space Station with food with its rockets. The idea of ​​using rockets is brilliant, which instead of dispersing into the environment, can be reused, making them re-land: the proof was the launch of the  Falcon Heavy:

But Musk doesn’t stop there: his goal is the conquest of distant planets which are, according to the visionary entrepreneur, the next step for human survival.

This is one of his statements about it:

There have only been about a half-dozen truly important events in the four billion-year history of life on Earth: single-celled life, multicellular life, differentiation into plants and animals, the movement of animals from water to land, and the advent of mammals and consciousness. The next big moment will be when life becomes multi-planetary, an unprecedented adventure that will greatly increase the richness and diversity of our collective consciousness.

Tesla-Elon Musk: winning combination

 Parallel to Space low environmental impact, using renewable energy, but at the same time without losing the pleasure of driving and the thrill of speed.

Its first model, the Tesla Roadster , combines attractive design, driving pleasure and speed (from 0 to 100 KM/h in 3.7 seconds) with a low environmental impact: it is in fact rechargeable with lithium ions.

SolarCity , on the other hand, as you can imagine from the name, aims to provide solar energy sources with low environmental impact to reduce the problem of Global Warming. The company is run together with his cousin Lyndon Rive.

Elon Musk’s other initiatives

Among Elon Musk’s initiatives there are the foundation of other companies with different objectives: for example we have  Halcyon Molecular , a health biotechnology company that wants to defeat many diseases that are still incurable today;  Hyperloop for the fast transport of people and passengers, which promises trips from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 35 minutes; OpenAI , a non-profit organization that develops modern artificial intelligence technologies that can be used safely by humans; Neuralink  which wants to be able to connect the human brain to forms of artificial intelligence using implants.

Elon Musk Net Worth

Elon Musk is one of the richest men in the world, with a fortune of $251.3 billion. In this way he surpasses Jeff Bezos who for years was in first place, and who had in turn displaced Bill Gates in this particular ranking.

Elon Musk main shareholder of Twitter

The icing on the cake for Elon Musk is the acquisition of a majority of the shares of the social network Twitter for approximately 2.9 billion dollars in exchange for 9.2% of the shares. Elon subsequently purchased the remaining portion of Twitter shares. A monstrous operation, and an investment that intends to relaunch the company.

Elon, after all, is one of the main well-known faces of the same social network, with over 80 million followers who follow his “tweets”. Once he assumed the role of President, the company was renamed X.

Elon Musk’s maxims

As always when it comes to biographies of famous entrepreneurs , we want to leave you with some of Elon Musk’s most famous sayings.

  • Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.
  • If something is important enough, you should try. Even if the likely outcome is failure.
  • There must be reasons why you get up in the morning and want to live. Why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? If the future doesn’t include being out there among the stars and being among multi-planet species, I find that incredibly depressing.
  • I’m interested in things that change the world or affect the future and wonderful, new technology that you see yourself in, and you say things like, ‘Wow, how did that happen? How is it possible?’
  • When Henry Ford built cheap, reliable cars, people said, “Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?” It was a huge gamble that he made, and it worked.
  • The path to the CEO position should not be through the CFO position, and it should not go through the marketing department. It has to go through engineering and design.
  • SpaceX is only twelve years old now. Between now and 2040, the company’s lifespan will triple. If we have a linear improvement in technology, as opposed to a logarithmic one, then we should have a significant base on Mars, perhaps with thousands or tens of thousands of people.

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