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Elon Musk: Who Is He? And How He Became the Richest Man on Earth

"Elon Musk Dreaming of a Brighter Future

"Elon Musk Dreaming of a Brighter Future | Jurvetson - CC BY 2.0

Elon Musk, a well-known name all over the internet. From Twitter posts to Youtube videos, to daily articles on big news sites, you could have seen this name. This famous man keeps leaving his mark everywhere. 

But, who is this guy, and why is he so popular? Questions that arise in many people’s heads. Worry not, we are here to help you understand who is Elon Musk.

Elon Reeves Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. His mother is a Canadian model and a dietitian, while his father is a wealthy engineer from South Africa.

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Elon Musk’s childhood.

Musk spent his childhood with his nose in books and computers. He grew up as a small, introverted boy, cast away by his classmates and often bullied until he grew old enough to defend himself. At the age of 17, He moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University. He went to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received bachelors’ degrees in economics and physics.

Elon Musk as a child in South Africa | liz Sargeant, Flickr

His entrepreneurial journey

Later, Elon Musk moved to Silicon Valley in the summer of 1995. He registered in a Ph.D. program in applied physics at Stanford University but withdrew after only two days because his brother, Kimball Musk, who is 15 months younger than Elon, had just graduated from Queen’s University with a business degree and wanted to be with him in California. The early Internet was just heating up. So, the brothers decided to launch a company called Zip2, an online business directory equipped with maps.

They housed the project at a small rented office. The company developed and marketed an online city guide for the newspaper publishing industry, with maps, directions, and yellow pages. As Musk says; before the company gained its success, he couldn’t afford an apartment, so I had to sleep on the office sofa. Yes, he was sleeping on the sofa. They could only afford one computer, and as Musk claimed:  “The website was up to during the day and I was coding it during the night, seven days a week. All the time.”

Musk brothers obtained contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. They persuaded the board of directors to abandon plans for a merger with the big CitySearch. A couple of years later, they sold Zip2 to a computer maker “Compaq” for 307 million dollars. Elon grabbed a share of 22 million dollars for his 7% share in the company.

His own companies.

Elon then, on his own, founded an online financial services company called “”, whose main rival was a corporation called Confinity, founded by Peter Thiel and two others. Both companies were in the same building. The two companies merged in March 2000. They named the company “PayPal” to be the first person-to-person online money transferring service.

After that, eBay, the online auction service, bought PayPal in October 2002 for $1.5 billion. Hence, at the age of 31, Elon Musk, who had been the largest shareholder in PayPal with 11.7% of its equity shares, found himself holding $165 million worth of eBay stock.

Musk was long convinced that to survive in life, humanity is supposed to become a multi-planet species. However, he was dissatisfied with the high expense of rocket launchers. That’s why in 2002, he founded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a space transport company that realizes his own ideas of space traveling.

Elon Musk’s dream company, SpaceX.

SpaceX is innovative because it lowers the cost of space exploration while drawing more attention to the potential of making money in space companies.

The company contracts with NASA are worth millions and millions of dollars. Elon has used his physics and business knowledge to run the company well. Not only does he manage the corporate matters of the company, but as the chief engineer for many of the company’s key projects, Elon also builds and designs many of the rockets and spacecraft.

In the beginning, many people doubted that SpaceX would be successful and many critics were focusing on the company’s mistakes. But, Elon Musk has proven that there is a place for commercial space exploration and that his company can compete with huge corporations like Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

When Elon Musk founded Tesla, everybody was sure it will fail!

Meanwhile, Elon Musk never let go of his interest in clean energy; as well as starting and managing SpaceX. Elon started Tesla Motors, an electric car company. Primarily, Elon is the CEO of Tesla and, as he does at SpaceX, he’s active in overseeing the product design of all Tesla vehicles. Tesla Motors’ cars are not only environmentally-friendly but they’re also designed with a sport-car appeal.

Tesla company | Flickr

A pretty successful career huh? But that’s not all.

Elon Musk has also been at the top of social media platforms for a very long time. His Twitter account has been the cause for many controversies saying that he’s abusing the use of it to manipulate cryptocurrency prices. Yes, you heard it right, cryptocurrency prices have been undergoing a drastic change simply because Elon has tweeted about them. One of the most affected cryptocurrencies by Elon is Dogecoin’s price doubling up within only a week. 

It may seem that we have reached the peak of Musk. But that’s not true: on the contrary, Musk’s status as the business world’s most ridiculous, yet somehow most effective influencer is only growing and solidifying. He’s increasingly transcending the business world, has become a cross between a famous figure, a popular culture stalwart, and a living, breathing subreddit.

In fact, Elon Musk has a better command of social media — and online culture in general — than any other CEO.

With the talents and knowledge that he has gained from a physics education, his eye for design and innovation, and his business smarts, Elon Musk is unrivaled. 

In addition to his talents and gifts, he credits his work ethic, opinions, and education for his success.

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