Visionary, mercurial, futuristic, relentless, maverick, tenacious, charismatic, intellectual, genius, controversial, and revolutionary are just a few words to describe serial entrepreneur Elon Musk.
He has been in news recently for toppling Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world.
But who is Elon Musk? Read on for a biography of this entrepreneur.
Born on 28th July 1971 in South Africa, Elon Musk is the eldest of three siblings. An introvert, Musk spent his childhood buried in books and has admitted that he was often bullied in school. However, he did show an inclination and talent towards computers and entrepreneurship right from his young days. At the mere age of 12, he created a video game called Blastar and sold it to a computer magazine.
When he was 17, Musk moved to Canada and enrolled in Queen’s University and in 1992, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It was here that he received bachelor’s degrees in physics and economics in 1997. Subsequently, he joined Stanford University in California to pursue a Ph.D. program in energy physics but left it in two days because he believed that the internet had huge potential to change the world.
In 1995, he launched his first company, Zip2 Corporation, a company that provided maps and business directories to online newspapers. A few years later, Zip2 was bought by a division of Compaq Computer Corporation for a whopping $307 million. From the money that he earned, he founded X.com, an online financial services and payments company that later became PayPal.
Musk’s third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) was founded in 2002 to make affordable rockets and to build spacecrafts for commercial purposes. The company has a host of achievements to its credit: in 2012, it launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space with an unmanned capsule, marking the first time a private company had sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). In March 2017, the Falcon 9 rocket made from reusable parts was successfully launched, opening the doors to affordable space travel. SpaceX again made history in 2020 by becoming the first private company to send humans into orbit and to the ISS.
Musk is also the founder of Tesla Motors, founded in 2003, with the aim of creating affordable, mass-market electric cars. He leads all product design, engineering and global manufacturing of the company’s electric vehicles, battery products and solar energy products. Tesla became the most valuable car company on the planet last year!
But Musk’s erratic behavior has been the subject of various news stories: he had recently downplayed the risks of the coronavirus and had restarted Tesla’s assembly plant in May 2020 during the lockdown.
However, his extraordinary vision of transitioning to clean energy, reducing climate risk, and eliminating single-planet dependency has made him a force to reckon with and one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of all time. He is known to be a relentless worker, working as many as 120 hours a week! Becoming the richest person in the world is just an offshoot of his brilliant vision.
Here are a few quotes by the genius:
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”
“I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”
“If something’s important enough, you should try. Even if – the probable outcome is failure.”
“If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.”
“I could either watch it happen or be a part of it.”
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”
“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”
“It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.”
“I don’t create companies for the sake of creating companies, but to get things done.”
“People should pursue what they’re passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.”
“You shouldn’t do things differently just because they’re different. They need to be… better.”
Isn’t this man a quintessential example of stretching beyond your limits and a perfect testimony to the fact that nothing is impossible? Love him or hate him, you definitely cannot ignore this maverick!