Elon Musk Biography | Early Life | Education | Family | Business | Wealth

November 9, 2021 88 Views

Elon Musk Biography

Elon Musk is a man who symbolizes futuristic innovation. The entrepreneur-cum-business tycoon has acquired immense fame for his brilliant and groundbreaking ideas that have disrupted multiple industries throughout the last two decades.

Musk is the founder, CEO, and chief engineer at SpaceX. He is also the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc, co-founder of Neuralink, and OpenAI, the founder of The Boring Company and SolarCity. According to Forbes, Musk is also one of the wealthiest persons on earth, with a $182.9 billion US dollars fortune.

Early Life

Early Life

Elon Reeve Musk, widely known as Elon Musk, was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. His mother was a Canadian named Maye Musk, a model and a nutritionist by profession, and his father, Errol Musk, was an engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant, and property developer.

Elon Has British & Pennsylvania Dutch Ancestry.

Elon has a half-brother and a half-sister from his father’s side. All the Musk siblings are great achievers. For example, Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon Musk, is a venture capitalist and an environmentalist. His sister, Tosca Musk, is an award-winning producer and director.

Musk’s parents divorced in the 1980s, and Musk chose to live with his father, which he said he regretted subsequently. He described his father “as a terrible human being” who, according to him, has done “almost every evil thing you could think of.” 

Early Achievements

Musk was no ordinary child; he had a knack for computing and video games. He learned computer programming only by reading a manual. At 12, Musk created Blaster’s video game based on BASIC and sold it to PC and Office Technology magazine at $500.

The business mind was budding within Musk from a very early age; he and his brother Kimbal almost opened a video game arcade near their school at the age of 17. They planned everything from lease to suppliers, but they could not get a variance, and their plan failed.

Bullied As A Child

Musk was an exceptional and introverted child; he was a bookworm who read everything from encyclopedias to comic books. Unfortunately, his nerdy nature was why he was bullied multiple times during his school life.

A gang of boys at school threw him down a flight of stairs once, resulting in the hospitalization of young Musk.

It was challenging to find friends for young Musk in the Afrikaner culture of his school. He hated getting up in the morning and going to school because of being picked on constantly. Musk himself said that it was difficult growing up and that he faced many adversaries.

Born To A Lineage Of Achievers

The Musk family lineage radiates the word “specialty.” They were always aware of their specialty and were adventurers.

Musk’s grandfather won a race from Cape Town to Algiers; his great grandmother was the first Chiropractor in Canada. The grandparents were the first travelers from Africa to Australia in a single-engine plane.

Education

Education

Musk’s education life was quite interesting. At the beginning of his school life, he went to Waterkloof House Preparatory High school and Bryanston High School. But he graduated from Pretoria Boys High School. 

He applied for a Canadian passport because he wanted to enter the US, and having a Canadian mother made it easier for him to get a Canadian passport. He went to the University of Pretoria for five months while waiting for the documentation.

Moving to Canada helped Musk avoid mandatory military service in The South African Army. So in June 1989, he came to Canada and lived with his second cousin during this period. During this period, Musk worked at a farm and lumber mill.

He entered Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Then, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, from where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in  Economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics.

Musk did two internships in the summer of 1994 in Silicon Valley. One of the internships was at an energy storage startup called Pinnacle Research Institute; the other was at Rocket Science Games, a Palo Alto-based startup.

The Journey Begins

Musk Applied for a Ph.D. in Physics because the passion that he had for Physics was immense. In 1995 Stanford University California accepted Musk for a Ph.D. in material science, but the man who had an entrepreneurial dream could not stop there.

The rapid manifestation of the internet and Silicon Valley booming in business fuelled the entrepreneurial spark he had smoldering inside. So he dropped out only two days after getting accepted into Stanford University and decided to launch an internet startup instead.

Business

Business

Funded by Angel Investors, Musk, Kimbal, and Greg Kouri founded a web software company called Zip2 in 1995. The company developed and marketed an online city guide with maps and directions for a newspaper publishing company.

Musk could not even afford an apartment; he said he used to sleep on the couch in their rented office in Palo Alto. He even had to share one computer with his brother. “The website was up to during the day and I was coding it at night, seven days a week, all the time,” said Musk.

In February 1999, they sold Zip2 to Compaq for 307 million dollars, and Musk got his share of 7%, which was $22 million. This was the turning point of Musk as a businessman.

X.com & Paypal

X.com & Paypal

The share that Musk earned from selling Zip2 paved the way for the entrepreneur Musk, who we know today, as he used that money to co-found X.com, which intended to disrupt the conventional shape of banking. 

The investors of X.com replaced Musk as the CEO, with Bill Harris claiming that he was inexperienced. X.com merged with Confinity the following year to establish Paypal, and Musk came back as the CEO. 

But the board replaced Musk with Thiel, who resigned from the X.com merger company earlier because of his conflict over software preference with Musk. Musk preferred Microsoft, where Thiel preferred Linux.

In 2001 the company was renamed PayPal under Thiel. But eBay acquired the company in 2002 for $1.5 billion, and Elon was its largest shareholder ( 11.7%). In 2017 Musk purchased the X.com domain of Paypal for an undisclosed amount.

Tesla

Tesla

Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning co-founded the company Tesla in 2003. Elon Musk made a major investment in Tesla in 2004 and became the chairman of Tesla.

However, a series of conflicts caused Eberhard to leave Tesla in 2007, and Musk assumed control as the CEO and Product Architect.

Tesla Roadster

Elon Musk himself oversaw the manufacturing of the Tesla Roadster. This groundbreaking electric sports car is eco-friendly and can make any gasoline-based sports car jealous with its power and features.

Tesla Model S, Model 3, & Cybertruck

Tesla Model S, Model 3, & Cybertruck

Tesla cars are the first cars to use Lithium-ion batteries. The 2008 Roadstar sold 2500 units. After that, Tesla started manufacturing affordable sedans named Tesla Model S & Tesla Model 3. 

Afterward, Tesla unveiled an all-electric pickup truck called Cybertruck in 2019, creating massive hype on the internet.

The rapid sales of the Tesla Model S and Model 3 resulted in Tesla being the best-selling electric car in 2020 with 500000 units sold.

Tesla now manufactures rechargeable solar batteries for storing solar energy. There are currently two batteries in production. The smaller battery is meant for home backup power, while the larger battery is for commercial requirements.

SpaceX

SpaceX

Musk involved himself in a nonprofit society called Mars Society. The idea to place a growth chamber for plants on Mars intrigued him so much that he funded $100 million to that project. 

Musk went to Moscow to buy refurbished intercontinental ballistic missiles to send greenhouse payload to Mars via rocket. But they saw him as a novice, and one of the chief rocket designers of Russia even spat on him.

So in 2002, Musk turned down the offer to buy a rocket from Kosmotras for $8 million and decided to build affordable and reusable rockets by investing the $100 million fortune that he gained from PayPal. 

This venture was indeed a nonprofit one in the beginning and exposed the explorer within Elon Musk.

Contract With NASA & US Airforce

After three consecutive failures in launching the SpaceX rockets, the Falcon One finally sailed to space in 2008. This success helped SpaceX gain several top-of-the-line contracts with NASA and the US Airforce to design rockets.

Musk Revolutionized Space Technology

SpaceX revolutionized Space exploration by commercializing it and making the rocket launch cheaper and affordable using refurbished rockets. As a result, SpaceX is the first private company in history to send spacecraft to the international space station.

SpaceX has reduced the cost of reaching the ISS by 90%. The initial expense was $1 billion per journey; now, that expense has been trimmed down to $60 million with SpaceX.

SolarCity & Tesla Energy

SolarCity & Tesla Energy

Elon Musk provided the initial funding and the idea into co-founding SolarCity with his cousins Layton and Peter Rive in 2006. The company worked as a residential solar panel installation company.

The company’s business model makes the customers agree on buying the power those panels generate for 20 years while skipping any upfront cost. This business model became so popular that SolarCity became the second largest solar power system provider in the US by 2013.

Tesla Acquired SolarCity 

In 2016 Tesla acquired SolarCity for $2 billion and merged it with the battery products division creating Tesla Energy. Before Tesla acquired SolarCity, it provided free charging to Tesla Roadster owners at the SolarCity charging stations.

Neuralink

Neuralink

Musk’s innovation knows no bounds; he would always attach himself to any futuristic project that catches his attention. In 2016 he co-founded a neurotechnology startup company named Neuuralink. The company intends to integrate the human brain with AI.

The purpose of the company is something that you see only in sci-fi movies. They are trying to create devices to embed in human brains to create a merger of human minds and machines.

There was a live demonstration of the Neuralink in august 2020 where Musk exhibited one of their early devices named “Fitbit in your Skull” and claimed that the machine would soon cure diseases such as paralysis and deafness, blindness, and many other physical disabilities.

The Boring Company

The Boring Company

Musk founded the boring company to construct tunnels underground to avail safe, fast, and comfortable transportation that succeeds to avoid traffic on the surface land. The fun fact is that the idea has its roots in a Tweet.

Story Behind The Boring Company

Musk found himself stuck in traffic on December 18, 2016, in Los Angeles. Bothered by the traffic, he Tweeted that traffic was driving him crazy, and he wanted to build a tunnel-boring machine and start digging holes underground.

And just like that, Musk made Twitter into a serious business proposition and launched the boring company in January 2017.

The company started its first project in February 2017 by digging a test hole on the premises of SpaceX. The company managed to dig a hole 30 feet wide and 50 feet long, and 15 feet deep.

The first completed project of the boring company was in Hawthorne, California, in 2018, December 19. The initial plans of Musk Suggested Pods with sixteen passengers. But later, when the boring company unveiled its plans in December, it was remarkably different.

Instead of pods, there were Tesla Xs equipped with tracking wheels to glide it through the tunnel. However, early test riders reported calling the ride bumpy even at the speed of 40 mph.

As per the early assumptions, the construction of the tunnels 1 mile long would cost around one billion dollars. But two years after Musk’s first tweet about the boring company, the company accomplished its first 1.14-mile construction of tunnels at the cost of $10 million.

The Boring company already acquired the contracts to dig tunnels in Chicago and Maryland.

Personal Life

Wife & Children

Wife & Children

Musk met his first wife, Justine Wilson, a Canadian author while studying at Queen’s University. They got married in 2000 and had a son named Nevada Alexander Musk in 2002, who died at the age of 10 weeks due to a sudden infant death syndrome. 

Later, the couple used IVF to continue their family and had twins named Xavier and Griffin in 2004, followed by triplet Kai, Saxon, and Damien. The couple divorced later in 2008, and they share custody of the children.

Dating & Relationship

Musk started dating Talulah Riley, an English actress, in 2008, and they got married in 2010. Although the marriage lasted only two years, Musk announced his claim for divorce from Riley in 2012. But the couple remarried in 2013 only to divorce again, which got finalized in 2016.

Musk dated Amber Heard for a few months in 2017, a famous Hollywood actress and wife to Johnny Depp. Rumors are that they had seen each other since 2017.

Later Johnny Depp accused Musk of having an affair with his wife while Amber was still married to Depp. However, Musk and Amber denied the accusation.

The Canadian Musician Grimes revealed that she and Musk had been dating in May 2018. Two years later, she gave birth to Musk’s son in 2020 May. The couple shared with their son an unconventional name, “X Æ A-12″.

The name was violating California regulations because it contained characters instead of alphabets. So the couple finally changed the name of the baby to “X AE A-XII.”

Wealth

Musk has been on a winning streak since eBay acquired PayPal making a $165 million fortune for Elon in 2002. The entrepreneur was first listed on Forbes magazine in 2012 with a net worth of $2 billion. As of 2021, he stands right behind Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO. The current net worth of Elon Musk is $156.9 billion.

Economic Growth Between 2020 to 2021

At the beginning of 2020, Musk’s net worth was $27 billion. But the net worth increased because of his 20% share in the stock of Tesla. The rapid growth made Elon Musk escalate by $150 billion within a year.

Ranking As The Richest Man On The Planet

In November 2020, Musk surpassed the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and claimed the spot of the third wealthiest person. After a week, he also surpassed Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, claiming the second spot. 

But in January 2021, he reached the first spot beating Jeff Bezos with a net worth of $185 billion. But Jeff reclaimed his position the next month.

Earning From Tesla

Tesla contributes three-quarters of Musk’s earnings. He doesn’t receive any salary from Tesla. In 2018 he agreed to a compensation plan with the board of Tesla. The plan tied his earnings to the valuation and revenue of Tesla. The pact stipulates that Musk will receive compensation when Tesla reaches a specific value.

25 Interesting Facts About Elon Musk

Interesting Facts About Elon Musk

  1. Elon Musk read the Encyclopedia Britannica when he was 9.
  2. Musk’s parents thought that he was deaf as a child. 
  3. Musk built his first video game at the age of 12.
  4. Elon Musk almost started his business with his video arcade at the age of 17.
  5. Musk left his Ph.D. after two days of getting admission to Stanford University.
  6. Elon Musk dreams of making the journey to Mars a reality and probably making the planet habitable for human beings. 
  7. Musk is a fan of Star Wars; the SpaceX rocket Falcon takes its name from Han Solo’s rocket Millennium Falcon in Star Wars.
  8. SpaceX is the first commercial organization to retrieve the spacecraft to earth from earth’s orbit.
  9. Musk owns a custom-built Lotus Esprit submarine car from the movie The Spy Who Loved Me.
  10. Alongside Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Musk has also signed the Giving Pledge, where he promises to give away significant portions of his wealth for philanthropic reasons.
  11. Musk became one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century in Esquire magazine.
  12. Musk received the same award as Neil Armstrong, the FAI Gold Space Medal, in 2010 from Federation Aeronautique Internationale for designing the first privately built rocket to reach space. 
  13. In 2013 he was entitled Fortune’s “Business Person Of The Year” for SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity.
  14. The real-life Tony Stark Elon Musk cameoed in Ironman 2 (2010), Why Him? (2016), and Men In Black: International (2019), and sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory(2015), The Simpsons( 2015), South Park (2016), Rick & Morty ( 2019) Saturday Night Live (2021).
  15. Musk is a fan of video games. Half-Life 2, Mass Effect 2, Deus Ex, Fallout 3, and Warcraft are his favorite games. However, he replied to a tweet saying that only Halo is his favorite console game.
  16. The Tesla Model S comes with the game Cyberpunk 2077 included.
  17. Elon Musk owns a Tesla Roadster, but the car is not in his garage; it’s in space. Musk sent his Roadster to space with an astronaut mannequin as its driver on February 20.
  18. Musk revealed his love for anime on Twitter. Your Name and Princess Mononoke are his favorite anime films. Studio Ghibli movies like Spirited Away are also his favorites.
  19. The billionaire otaku replied to a tweet that branded him as Weeblon Musk and corrected the tweet identifying himself as Elon-Chan. He even expressed his desire to build a mecha. 
  20. Musk’s annual salary from Tesla is $1. He earns from his share in Tesla stock.
  21. Unsettled by the negative press issue and production issuers of Tesla Model S and Model 3, Musk called for a journalist ranking website.
  22. Elon Musk’s Tweets have a great effect on many things. For example, his Tweet made the Dogecoins surge up to 20%. Also, his Tweet regarding Tesla stock being too high made the company lose $14 billion, and he had to compensate with $3 billion from his stake.
  23. Musk has an idea to create a new mode of transportation called Hyperloop, enabling passengers to travel at an advanced speed. The transportation system is immune to weather’s effects and will use renewable energy.
  24. Elon Musk is a fan of the X-men. He loves Marvel comic characters and even desired to name the robots of his Tesla facility after the X-men characters like Wolverine, Storm, Colossus. 
  25. Elon almost sold Tesla to Google in 2013 for $11 billion.

Influence On Cryptocurrency

Influence On Cryptocurrency

His fan followers are so insane that his Tweets made considerable changes in the value of Dogecoins. He even considers trying to make Dogecoin a mainstream currency. His successive Tweets make the Dogecoin surge up to 20% sometimes. Musk is trying to pave the way for the future of the human lifestyle.

Best Quotes

  1. “Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”
  2. “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
  3. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”
  4. “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is a disaster.”
  5. “I think it is very important to have a feedback loop, where you are constantly thinking about what you have done and how you could be doing it better..”
  6. “People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and enjoy working.”
  7. “A company is a group organized to create a product or service, and it is only as good as its people and how excited they are about creating. I do want to recognize a ton of super-talented people. I just happen to be the face of the companies.”
  8. If you are a co-founder or CEO, you have to do all kinds of tasks you might not want to do….. If you don’t do your chores, the company won’t succeed……No task is too menial.”
  9. “Starting and growing a business is as much about the innovation, drive, and determination of the people behind it as the product they sell.”
  10. “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

i) How Much Does Elon Musk Make A Day

Elon Musk, the second richest man on the planet, has over $176 billion. The billionaire has earned $383,000,000 per day, according to his earnings from between April 2020 and April 2021. And he reportedly earns $16 million per hour.

ii) How Many Hours Does Elon Musk Sleep

Elon Musk recently appeared in The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast; he sleeps six hours every night. According to him, this was out of necessity. Otherwise, he cannot put a hundred percent effort into his work.

iii) How To Be Like Elon Musk

Elon Musk embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of taking risks and a solid work ethic. So, many people aspire to be like Elon Musk, and that is possible if you are an optimist and work as hard as him and think as productive and futuristic as Musk thinks. 

You must build a work schedule of 80 hours every week, read voraciously, be obsessed with perfectionism, take risks without quitting and always be open to constructive criticism, and have the will to do something productive and groundbreaking for humanity.

Money never motivated Musk to do anything. Although he finds interest in learning and working hard, there is always a zeal to work for the future of humanity as a driving force behind Musk.

Musk understands more profound principles of different fields and can see the connection between those fields. That is probably the reason behind his success in creating and developing companies in various areas: software, energy, transportation, and spacecraft.

iv) What Languages Does Elon Musk Speak

Although Elon Musk is well versed in computing languages and not a monolingual in that field, he only speaks English when speaking in different tongues. Therefore, when Musk travels around the globe primarily for business, he travels with a translator.

v) Who Founded Tesla?

Although we know Elon Musk as the co-founder of Tesla, he was not among the founding members of Tesla. The company was initially founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003. Later on, Musk founded the company with a massive investment in 2004 and led the company today. 

vi) How Many Cars Has Tesla Sold In Total?

Tesla started its journey in the automotive industry with the Tesla Roadster, an electric sports car of which they sold 2500 units. After launching Tesla Model S and Tesla Model 3, more budget-friendly cars, Tesla sold around 500,000 units in total.

vii) When Did Elon Musk Become CEO Of Tesla?

Elon Musk initially was an investor of Tesla, which Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpennig founded in 2003. Elon Musk invested in Tesla in 2004. He joined the company as its CEO and product architect in 2008; Musk is also the primary force behind creating the Tesla Roadster. 

viii) Who Is The CEO Of SpaceX?

Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and is the CEO of the company. He started the company as a nonprofit industry to build affordable rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX has its headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

He intended to use rockets to send greenhouse payloads to Mars and possibly make Mars a place for Space Tourism. SpaceX has achieved its goal to reduce the cost of space transportation by almost 90%. The company has enormous contracts with both NASA and The US Airforce.

ix) Is Elon Musk An Engineer?

Elon Musk has a degree in Physics from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and he does not have any degree in engineering. So, reasonably speaking, he is not an engineer. But the founder of SpaceX is the Chief Engineer at SpaceX and has been the product architect of Tesla.

x) What Is The Salary Of The SpaceX CEO?

Elon MusT is the CEO of SpaceX. He founded the company as a nonprofit making industry and invested $100 million of his fortune. Now the company is worth $74 billion. Musk is the CEO and owner of SpaceX, and he does not receive any salary, and he earns profit from the business that SpaceX conducts. 

Conclusion

Many beginner entrepreneurs look for inspiration and look up to some of the biggest business giants on earth. Being the genius, visionary, passionate, innovative risk-taker he is, Elon Musk shines as a role model in the list of inspiring entrepreneurs worldwide.

Not everyone learns coding by themselves, dreams of colonizing Mars, dreams of connecting the human brain with machines, or thinks of the fastest modes of transportation. Musk does not think on the level of a regular human being; he dreams of changing human life in the future entirely.

Musk faced his adversaries head-on and overcame those adversaries to write his own story with a mind full of dreams sharpened with diamond-like determination.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.

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