An entrepreneur is someone who has a business idea, from which a business is created by taking risks and bearing all the rewards or losses. Entrepreneurs are known to be the backbone of any economy and whenever people talk about “Entrepreneurs”, there is only one name that pops up in mind and that is “Elon Musk”.
Only a few entrepreneurs have made a mark on the whole world with their start-ups and among them, there is only one who has done it with not just one but with all his start-ups from PayPal to Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, etc. All these start-ups are worth a fortune in the current times and the best in their respectable fields.
Elon Musk is “the Entrepreneur”, engineer, industrial designer, philanthropist, technology expert, visionary, entertainer and what not. Whatever he has touched so far has turned to gold; every company he started or worked with became successful.
According to Forbes, he is currently (in July 2020) the eighth richest person in the world. He was born on June 28, 1971. He has citizenship from 3 major countries South Africa, Canada and U.S.A with china having offered him their green card when he set-up an out-sized manufacturing plant in China which he’s presumably to ignore as he has already decided to manoeuvre his manufacturing unit from china to some other country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is the founder, CEO, the lead designer of “SpaceX”, CEO, product architect of Tesla Inc., founder of The Boring Company and PayPal (formerly X.com), Teslaquila, Co-founder of Neuralink, OpenAI and Zip2, and the chairman of SolarCity.
He was ranked joint-first Most Innovative Leaders of 2019 and 21st on the World’s most powerful people of 2016 by Forbes. He is also the longest term CEO of any automotive manufacturer company around the world.
Elon has appeared in a number of shows like Young Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory and etc. and movie “Iron Man 2”.
Elon has two bachelor’s degrees; one in Economics from the Wharton School and another in physics from the College of Arts and Science. He also wanted to do PhD in applied physics and material science from Stanford University but later decided against it and pursued a business career.
Musk was severely bullied throughout his childhood and he has an interest in reading. He even learned computer programming using a manual and sold a code he made to a magazine for $500. At such a young age, he was being both a techie and a business-man or at least learning about both of them.
Musk is the father of 7 children from his 3 wives over the years. He named his last son as ‘X Æ A-12’ which left everyone scratching their heads. But later Elon explained Son’s name as an idea of his wife Grimes and Musk said, “It’s just X, the letter X, the ‘Æ’ is pronounced, ‘Ash,’ and then, A-12 is my contribution which is Archangel 12, the precursor to the SR-71, coolest aircraft ever.” Well anyway, that’s a weird name to name your son but whatever.
He has been married three times, the first being in 2000 with Jennifer Justine Wilson, a Canadian author who met Elon during college times and was married to him for around 8 years. They divorced in 2008 and before that Justine gave birth to 6 children of Elon out of which one died during his infant age. Among the five, one is a twin pair and the others are triplets.
After the divorce, the billionaire entrepreneur started dating “Taulah Riley”, an English actress. They got married in 2010 but decided to get separated in 2012. However, both remarried in 2013 and stayed together with the 5 children of Elon until 2016 when they finally ended their marriage.
In 2018, Elon met his current wife on twitter goes by the name of “Grimes”, she is a Canadian musician, singer, composer, and visual artist.
Elon Musk’s mother Maye Musk is a dietitian and has been a model for over 50 years. His father Errol Musk who Elon refers to as “a terrible human being” was an engineer and was very tough on his kids. Many people think he is the reason Elon is what he is today but Elon gives all the credit to his mom as she was a single mother raising the three children.
As of July 2020, Elon Musk net worth is estimated around 70.6 billion US dollars and he is the eighth wealthiest man in the world according to Forbes.
Three out of the top ten start-ups of the millennium belongs to Elon Musk but to understand why he is the entrepreneur of the millennium, let’s just talk about his journey from the very beginning, his first start-up.
His first startup was way back in 1995, he along with his brother started Zip2, a web software company, the company provided an internet city guide and Musk was able to persuade contracts from The New York Times and Chicago Tribune. The company became popular and noticed by majors within a time span of 4 years, Musk wanted to become the CEO of Zip2 but the board rejected his idea and in February 1999 Zip2 was acquired by Compaq for $307 Million.
Elon received around $22 million for his 7% share in the company. It is known that Elon was so broke and in-debt after college that he didn’t even have money to buy a second computer for programming of the Zip2. He used to work at nights so that the company stays active during day time.
$22 million was a lot at that time; a normal man would have enjoyed and invested that money but Elon Musk being Elon Musk co-founded another start-up by March 1999 called X.com. X.com was first started as an online financial services and e-mail payment company from the money he received from Zip2.
X.com was one of a kind thing at that time and it received the acknowledgement in just one year. X.com was merged with Confinity in the year 2000 but the merged company focused on only one service ‘PayPal’- a money-transfer service of Confinity and later the company was named PayPal. Elon became the CEO of PayPal but he was ousted due to disagreements with the board members. Later in October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion out of which $165 million went to Elon Musk.
By this time, the world didn’t know who Elon is, he was just another Entrepreneur for the world who had luck in his first 2 start-ups but in 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, the first private company intended to make rockets to explore the space.
The idea came when Musk was looking for cheap rockets to land a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars to gain the interest of people in space exploration but failed to find any rockets in the budget even after exploring 2/3 major rocket making countries. On the way back home, Elon realized he can start his own company that can make the rocket that he needs.
He invested around $100 million and founded Space Exploration Technologies Corporation Known as SpaceX. He is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX and around 54% shareholder of the company. In the very first 7 years, SpaceX has already designed a family of launch vehicles and Dragon multipurpose spacecraft.
Currently, SpaceX is the largest private producer of rocket engines in the world and holds many records and achievements in space exploration.
In 2004, after the initial success of SpaceX, Musk joined another start-up named Tesla Motors, Inc. (now Tesla, Inc.), an electric car manufacturer and became its chief architect and later in 2008 became the CEO of the company and still holds the position. Tesla’s plan as quoted by Elon Musk “Build sports car. Use that money to build affordable cars. Use that money to build even more affordable cars. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options.”
Many publications have compared him to Henry Ford for his work in advancing vehicle power trains. Tesla Model 3 is the world’s best-selling electric car in the world.
Musk provided the idea and finance to his cousins for SolarCity which was founded in 2006. By 2013, SolarCity became one of the largest providers of solar power systems in the U.S before it was acquired by Tesla, Inc. in 2016.
In 2013 Musk unveiled the concept of Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system. Musk has already received government approval to build a Hyperloop and the world will notice another wonder done by the great Musketeer.
In 2015, Musk founded OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company. It aims to develop AI in such a way that it is both safe and beneficial for humans. In 2016 Musk co-founded another company, Neuralink, a neurotechnology start-up company that aims to integrate the human brain with AI. Musk sees the OpenAI and Neuralink related as one is focused on minimizing the dangers of AI, while Neuralink is working to implant AI with human brains.
In 2016 while stuck in traffic Musk tweeted “am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging” which led to the company “The Boring Company”, an infrastructure and tunnel construction service company.
After reading all of this, you should have developed the understanding of why he is the “entrepreneur of the millennium”.
Elon Musk has been involved in many good deeds to help the world. His vision of Tesla and SolarCity to help combat global warming is a prime example of it. In 2014, Musk stated that Tesla will allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith to speed up the development of electric cars to save the environment. His goals include lessening the risk of human extinction by colonizing the planet Mars and that’s the idea of SpaceX.
He became famous around the lesser-known parts of the world too when he offered to help in rescuing children’s soccer team in Tham Luang cave rescue. He arranged engineers from his two companies, The Boring Company and SpaceX to design small and child shaped submarine to help in the rescue. The engineers built the submarine named “Wild Boar” in only 8 hours and Elon personally delivered it to the Thai government. But by that time, 8 out of 12 children were already rescued which led Thai authorities too not use the submarine.
Although the king of Thailand later awarded Elon with “member of the order of the Direkgunabhorn” for his contributions in the rescue.
For the betterment of the human race, Elon has already invested in many technology firms which aim at the improvement of the Artificial Intelligence but he is afraid that AI can be humanity’s largest existential threat and for that he has been arguing with people like Mark Zuckerberg over the safe improvement of the AI which should only benefit humans.
He also stated that the investment in these firms are not for any investment return but to keep an eye on the growth of AI and to make sure the outcome is positive and not bad.
Nikola Tesla’s (the greatest scientist of all time) grandnephew asked Elon for donations towards the construction of Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Elon not only made a donation but also promised to build a Tesla Supercharger in the museum car park.
In 2018, Musk donated nearly $500,000 to help solve the water crisis in Michigan schools.
Just when the world was ready to accept Musk as the superhero that the world needed, he found a way to show his human behaviour. It started in 2018 when U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk for a tweet claiming the tweet as false, misleading, and damaging to the investors. Musk called it unjustified but they reached a settlement in a few days. After that Musk called the SEC as “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” and clearly saying that he doesn’t respect SEC.
After the Tham Luang cave rescue, Vernon Unsworth, a cave explorer who played a key role in the rescue criticized the submarine on national TV and called it a publicity stunt. He also said that Musk had no conception of the cave passage and can stick his submarine where it hurts. Musk is a public figure and should avoid these types of small things but he acted aggressively and called Unsworth a “Pedo guy” which got Musk a lot of criticism.
In another incident, Elon musk was seen smoking Cannabis on-air on The Joe Rogan Experience show. It became a story of Musk’s instability and resulted in a drop in stock prices of Tesla.
Another controversial statement was released by Musk during the COVID-19 pandemic when he compared COVID-19 to the common cold and stated that “the panic is dumb” and claimed that the children are immune to the virus while only oldies that have existing conditions are vulnerable. He also claimed that medical companies are creating a hoax for COVID-19 just for their financial interests.
These claims only brought him a lot of criticism.
All these controversies proved Elon is just as human as others and he can also make mistakes but we cannot take away any acknowledgement that is due to him. He has been an inspiration to thousands of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and every human being. He has achieved all his success by himself and not by any kind of nepotism. He has made the world a better place and plans to make it even better than today.
From his kind gestures and advancements in various fields he has won thousands of awards, the most significant ones are the Entrepreneur of the year, 2007 by Inc. Magazine, 2007 Index design award for his design of Tesla Roadster, George Low award for his contribution is space transportation, National Conservation Achievement award, a Gold medal by Royal aeronautical society, Edison Achievement award and many more.
He is listed as one of the top 100 Time’s people who affected the world. He might be considered a wrong person for his controversies but he is the best entrepreneur that has ever been and a few bad things don’t outweigh the thousand of goods that he has done.
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