When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour
Those are the words of Elon Musk, an ordinary human who chooses to be extraordinary. Elon Musk is the Incredible Man who wants us to drive electric cars on Mars. A gargantuan feat if realized would mean for the first time in 4.5 billion years a human will be able to physically transfer from one planet into another. Today, seemingly unbelievable for most of us but he’d rather be a part of realizing it with Tesla and SpaceX than wait for it to happen. Elon Reeve Musk, the tech entrepreneur, scientific visionary, engineer, and investor is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and the founder of The Boring Company, and cofounder of OpenAI and Neuralink. Between space rockets, electric cars, solar batteries, Elon Musk became the 31st richest person in the world in 2020 with a net worth of USD 42.6 billion. Elon‘s story teaches us that, persistence is very important, you should not give up unless you are forced to give up.
From Engineer to Tech Investor
Musk with an IQ around 155, has proven time and again he thinks differently. In 1999, Musk became a multimillionaire when he was still in his 20s. He sold his first start-up company, Zip2 a software company he had started in 1995 with his brother Kimbal, to a division of Compaq Computers for USD 307 million in cash and USD 34 million in stock options. Musk received USD 22 million for his 7 percent share from the sale. He invested USD 10 million from the sale to found X.com in 1999, an online financial services and e-mail payment company. A year later X.com merged with Confinity which became PayPal Holdings, Inc. Sadly, he ended up getting kicked out from PayPal, the company he himself launched. In October 2002, PayPal was sold to eBay Inc. for USD 1.5 billion. Musk received USD 165 million.
Elon Musk never stopped believing or investing. He invested in Everdream Corporation in 1998 before Dell acquired it in 2007 and in DeepMind Technology prior to Google acquiring it in 2014.
The Tech Story continues with Tesla
Tesla, Inc. (originally Tesla Motors) was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning to revolutionize electric cars for a sustainable planet. Musk came in through an initial round of funding on the Tesla board as its Chairman in February 2004. Tesla’s Master Plan, revealed by Musk in 2006 was – Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options. The company launched an electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster in 2008, Model S sedan and Model X minivan in 2012, and the affordable Model 3 in 2016.
Since 2008, Elon Musk is the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla, working in a dual role without receiving any salary. Elon Musk is Tesla’s largest investor, owning approximately 28.9 million Tesla shares i.e. 22% stake. In 2018, Musk also signed a deferred compensation plan of USD 2.6 billion in stock options linked to achieving some goals. If the goals eventually play out, Musk will stand to receive close to USD 56 billion.
Tesla stretches out to SolarCity
SolarCity, a solar panel firm founded by Musk’s cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive in 2006, was acquired by Elon’s Tesla in 2016 for USD 2.6 billion. SolarCity, now a wholly-owned subsidiary and energy arm of Tesla jointly aims to combat global warming and conserve fossil fuels with increased use of solar energy. In 2017, SolarCity established one of America’s largest photovoltaic (PV) cell factory, in Buffalo, New York. The project known as Buffalo Billion Project, had also accepted USD 750 million in public funds from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to build the factory and infrastructure.
Elon Musk controls and remains optimistic about the growth of solar energy.
A Spot in SpaceX
Space exploration always fascinated Elon Musk. In 2001, an idea germinated to land a miniature greenhouse on Mars. So, in October Elon Musk, Jim Cantrell and Adeo Ressi travelled to Russia to buy ballistic missiles to launch the greenhouse. The idea was shot down and the three had to return empty handed. Not giving up in February 2002, the group along with Mike Griffin an ex NASA, returned to Russia to look for three ICBMs. The group was offered one rocket by Kosmotras for the price of USD 8 million. Realizing the price too high, Musk stormed out of the meeting and decided to start his own company that could build affordable rockets.
In May 2002, with an investment of USD 100 million Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX). Elon Musk is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and majority owner of SpaceX, holding about 54% of the private company, which is valued at approximately USD 33.3 billion. Space X began with its first two launch vehicles Falcon 1 and Falcon 2 and since then launched their own flight-ready rockets with over 100 missions, at 5% of the cost Russia quoted. While many failed, few succeeded. SpaceX like Lockheed and Boeing is now used by the U.S. government through NASA and the U.S. Air Force for satellite launches.
SpaceX is working on two ambitious programs
- Project Starlink, to cover the world in satellites to provide fast and reliable Internet to the earth’s population.
- Reduce the cost of human spaceflight by a factor of 10 to send humans to the Red Planet Mars in 2024 and establish a Mars colony by 2040, with a population of 80,000.
On July 20, 2017, Elon Musk announced he had received a “verbal government approval” to build a Hyperloop from New York City to Washington D.C with stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore. The futuristic transport project which Musk launched on August 12, 2013, developed a high-speed transportation system incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.
An Early Starter
Born on June 28, 1971, Elon Musk spent his early years in Pretoria, South Africa growing up with his younger siblings, brother Kimbal and sister Tosca. As a child, he was an avid reader who spent 10 hours a day reading. By the time he was 8 years, he ran out of books in the local library so he chose to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica then. At 10, he started to develop an interest in computers. This catapulted the journey Elon Musk, the busiest man on Earth, who works in 5-minute slots, skips breakfast and avoids emails. A citizen of South Africa, Canada, and the United States, Elon Musk the INTJ type (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Judgment) is a mastermind. He is the winner of numerous awards and is recognized as a man who is a visionary creating value for the world and contributing largely in the field of space transportation. Like the Wright Bothers gave us wings on Earth, Elon Musk is going to propel us to planet Mars. Be prepared to envision the future….