I don’t create companies for the sake of creating companies,
but to get things done
-Elon Musk, the Living Legend
- PayPal, the online money transfer company.
- SpaceX, the space transportation service and aerospace manufacturer.
- Tesla Inc., an MNC that specializes in electric vehicles.
- The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company.
- Neuralink, a neurotechnology company.
- SolarCity, the solar-energy provider.
- Hyperloop, the legendarily super-fast mode of transportation.
- OpenAI, a non-profit research company based on Artificial Intelligence.
There’s little that this man’s name has not been associated with. “I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary,” says Elon Musk.
Full Name: Elon Reeve Musk
Birth: 1971 June 28, in Pretoria, South Africa
Occupation: Entrepreneur, Engineer, Investor
Elon Musk is the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, co-founder, and CEO of Tesla Inc. and Neuralink, founder of The Boring Company, co- founder of PayPal, SolarCity, and OpenAI. He has also envisioned and proposed a high-speed transportation system known as Hyperloop. He has set goals for himself: reducing global warming through sustainable energy production, and reducing the risk of human extinction by colonizing Mars.
Born to Errol Musk and Maye Musk in Pretoria, South Africa, Musk attended Queen’s University, Canada when he was 17. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. He received a degree in Economics from the Wharton School, and one in Physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. He, after dropping out of his PhD program at Stanford, launched a software company named Zip2 with his brother Kimbal in 1995. The company’s worth skyrocketed as it was the age of the global expansion of internet, and Zip2 won contracts with major newspapers including The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, who were trying to dominate the new medium of discourse.
In 1999, Zip2 was acquired by Compaq for $340 Million. That very year, Musk founded X.com, an online banking company, that went on to merge with Confinity; and its money transfer service PayPal the next year. The rest is history. The company renamed itself as PayPal, as that was the center of focus, and quickly made ripples in the business. In 2002, e-commerce giant eBay acquired PayPal. The deal went on till PayPal’s spin-off from eBay which completed in 2015.
“There’s a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that is a space-faring civilization, that’s out there exploring the stars, compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event,” says Musk. Using vertical integration and the modular approach of software engineering he decided to start a company that would build affordable rockets, and thus was SpaceX born in 2002. The company named its first launch vehicle Falcon 1 (after the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars) which made history in 2009, as the first privately-funded, liquid-fueled rocket to put a satellite into Earth’s orbit.
In 2012, it became the first ever commercial company to dock with the ISS, when SpaceX Dragon emerged successful in doing so. The company was able to successfully land the first stage of the Falcon rocket back at the launch pad in 2015, a first for rocket science and a feat that would be replicated multiple times in the months to follow. The ultimate aim, however, is Mars. In 2018, SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster into space, and it aspires to send a cargo mission to Mars in 2022, and a crew to the planet in 2024, all with the aim of building a self-sustaining civilization on it.
In 2003, he co-founded Tesla Inc., which aims to revolutionize the automotive industry. The company’s first car, the Tesla Roadster, sold 2,500 vehicles in 31 countries. For his work with Tesla, Musk earned an annual salary of just a dollar (as of 2014). Considering the role that electric cars can play in the sustainable power energy consumption, Musk has also announced that Tesla will allow other automobile manufacturers to use its technology patents to accelerate development.
Energy consumption, checked. Now, to address the issue of energy production, he, in 2006, inspired the creation of SolarCity, which is now a subsidiary of Tesla Inc. The company designs, finances and installs solar panels and also constructs electric-car charging stations in collaboration with Tesla Motors. The company is the 2nd largest provider of solar power systems in the US.
In 2013, he released a proposal for a hypothetical machine called Hyperloop that can carry passengers from LA to San Francisco (614.5 km) in less than 35 minutes. To promote friendly AI, Musk founded OpenAI in 2015. In 2016, he co-founded Neuralink, which focuses on developing Brain-Computer Interfaces, and The Boring Company.
Musk is also the chairman of the Musk Foundation, which provides solar-power energy in disaster areas and is a generous philanthropist. Collaborating with SolarCity, Musk Foundation brought a 25 kW solar power system to Coden, Alabama, after the area had been hit by a hurricane in 2010. After Sōma, Japan was badly damaged by a tsunami in 2011, the foundation donated $250,000 towards a solar power project.
“If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic-being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago” -Musk points out the possibility of dreaming and aiming high.