Discover More About Elon Musk – Bio, Net Worth, Education, Career, Achievements
Elon Musk is a name that needs no introduction in the automotive industry. He is certainly one of the most influential and gifted scholars of our time. No doubt, some of the biggest revolutions in the transportation and energy industries are credited to this man. He unarguably deserves a place as one of the famous scholars on Scholars Ark. Discover more about the man considered as on of the brightest minds of the 21st century – Elon Musk! His biography, net worth, education, career and achievements.
Elon Musk’ Life Story
Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. As a child, Musk was so lost in his daydreams about inventions that his parents and doctors ordered a test to check his hearing.
After his parents divorced when he was nine, Musk lived mostly with his father. Musk started school a year early, attending the private Waterkloof House Preparatory School and later graduating from Pretoria Boys High School. He read voraciously and was also an avid fan of comics. Self-described as a bookworm and something of a smart aleck, he was bullied in school and withdrew to his books at the expense of his social life.
At the age of 10, Musk was introduced to computers with the Commodore VIC-20. He quickly learned how to program and at the age of 12 sold a game called Blastar to Spectravideo for $500.
One remarkable incidence at that time was when, Musk, along with his brother, planned to open a video game arcade near their school. Ultimately, their parents nixed the plan. But apparently the only thing stopping them was the need for a city permit which had to be applied for by an adult.
In grade school Musk was short, introverted and bookish. He was bullied until he was 15 and went through a growth spurt and learned how to defend himself with karate and wrestling.
Elon Musk’ Education
After two years at Queen’s University, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. He took on two majors, but his time there wasn’t all work and no play. With a fellow student, he bought a 10-bedroom fraternity house, which they used as an ad hoc nightclub.
Musk graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the Wharton School. The two majors speak to the direction Musk’s career would take later, but it was physics that made the deepest impression on his thinking.
“(Physics is) a good framework for thinking,” he’d later say. “Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.”
Musk was 24 years old when he moved to California to pursue a PhD in applied physics at Stanford University. With the internet exploding and Silicon Valley booming, Musk had entrepreneurial visions dancing in his head. He left the PhD program after just two days.
In 1995, with $28,000 and his younger brother Kimbal at his side, Musk started Zip2, a web software company that would help newspapers develop online city guides. The company got bought out, and Musk used his Zip2 buyout money to create X.com, which he intended to shape into the future of banking. X was merged with a company called Confinity and the resulting company came to be known as PayPal. Musk was then ousted from the company before it was bought by eBay.
After PayPal slipped away, Musk helped generate funding for an electric car startup called Tesla. You probably know the rest.
Elon Musk’ Net worth
Elon Musk’s net worth is valued at $23.6 billion as at date of this publication. And this was after the the failed demonstration of Cybertruck. Tesla’s share price dropped by 6% since the market close yesterday, pushing Musk’s net worth down by $768 million in a single day, to $23.6 billion Forbes reporter Hayley C. Cuccinello wrote. The 48-year-old founder is now the 41st-richest person in the world.
Elon Musk’ Achievements
Awards and recognition
- In 2006, Musk served as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
- Inc Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2007 for his work on Tesla and SpaceX.
- 2007 Index Design award for his design of the Tesla Roadster. Global Green 2006 product design award for his design of the Tesla Roadster, presented by Mikhail Gorbachev.
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics George Low award for the most outstanding contribution in the field of space transportation in 2007/2008. Musk was recognized for his design of the Falcon 1, the first privately developed liquid-fuel rocket to reach orbit.
- National Wildlife Federation 2008 National Conservation Achievement award for Tesla and SolarCity. Other 2008 recipients include journalist Thomas Friedman, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Florida Governor Charlie Crist.
- National Space Society‘s Von Braun Trophy in 2008/2009, given for leadership of the most significant achievement in space. Prior recipients include Burt Rutan and Steve Squyres.
- Listed as one of Time‘s 100 people who most affected the world in 2010.
- The world governing body for aerospace records, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, presented Musk in 2010 with the highest award in air and space, the FAI Gold Space Medal, for designing the first privately developed rocket to reach orbit. Prior recipients include Neil Armstrong, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites and John Glenn.
- Named as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine.
- Recognized as a Living Legend of Aviation in 2010 by the Kitty Hawk Foundation for creating the successor to the Space Shuttle (Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft). Other recipients include Buzz Aldrin and Richard Branson.
- In February 2011, Forbes listed Musk as one of “America’s 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 And Under.”
- In June 2011, Musk was awarded the US$250,000 Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization
- In 2012, Musk was awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society‘s highest award: a Gold Medal.
- In 2013, Musk was named the Fortune Businessperson of the year for SpaceX, SolarCity, and Tesla.
- Awarded the President’s award for Exploration and Technology of the Explorers Club at the annual gala on March 16, 2014.
- In 2015, he was awarded IEEE Honorary Membership.
- In June 2016, Business Insider named Musk one of the “Top 10 Business Visionaries Creating Value for the World” along with Mark Zuckerberg and Sal Khan.
- In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.
- In May 2017, Musk was awarded the Oslo Business for Peace Award.
- Musk was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018.
- Musk was awarded as member (fifth class) of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn on 4 March 2019 for his contribution in the rescue at Tham Luang cave, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.
Elon Musk’ Career
Elon Musk’s Companies
Musk launched his first company, Zip2 Corporation, in 1995 with his brother, Kimbal Musk. An online city guide, Zip2 was soon providing content for the new websites of both The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. In 1999, a division of Compaq Computer Corporation bought Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options.
In 1999, Elon and Kimbal Musk used the money from their sale of Zip2 to found X.com, an online financial services/payments company. An X.com acquisition the following year led to the creation of PayPal as it is known today.
In October 2002, Musk earned his first billion when PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock. Before the sale, Musk owned 11 percent of PayPal stock.
Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. By 2008, SpaceX was well established, and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station—with plans for astronaut transport in the future—in a move to replace NASA’s own space shuttle missions.
Falcon 9 Rockets
On May 22, 2012, Musk and SpaceX made history when the company launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space with an unmanned capsule. The vehicle was sent to the International Space Station with 1,000 pounds of supplies for the astronauts stationed there, marking the first time a private company had sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Of the launch, Musk was quoted as saying, “I feel very lucky. … For us, it’s like winning the Super Bowl.”
In December 2013, a Falcon 9 successfully carried a satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit, a distance at which the satellite would lock into an orbital path that matched the Earth’s rotation. In February 2015, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 fitted with the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, aiming to observe the extreme emissions from the sun that affect power grids and communications systems on Earth.
In March 2017, SpaceX saw the successful test flight and landing of a Falcon 9 rocket made from reusable parts, a development that opened the door for more affordable space travel.
A setback came in November 2017, when an explosion occurred during a test of the company’s new Block 5 Merlin engine. SpaceX reported that no one was hurt, and that the issue would not hamper its planned rollout of a future generation of Falcon 9 rockets.
The company enjoyed another milestone moment in February 2018 with the successful test launch of the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. Armed with additional Falcon 9 boosters, the Falcon Heavy was designed to carry immense payloads into orbit and potentially serve as a vessel for deep space missions. For the test launch, the Falcon Heavy was given a payload of Musk’s cherry-red Tesla Roadster, equipped with cameras to “provide some epic views” for the vehicle’s planned orbit around the sun.
In July 2018, Space X enjoyed the successful landing of a new Block 5 Falcon rocket, which touched down on a drone ship less than 9 minutes after liftoff.
BFR Mission to Mars
In September 2017, Musk presented an updated design plan for his BFR (an acronym for either “Big F—ing Rocket” or “Big Falcon Rocket”), a 31-engine behemoth topped by a spaceship capable of carrying at least 100 people. He revealed that SpaceX was aiming to launch the first cargo missions to Mars with the vehicle in 2022, as part of his overarching goal of colonizing the Red Planet.
In March 2018, the entrepreneur told an audience at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, that he hoped to have the BFR ready for short flights early the following year, while delivering a knowing nod at his previous problems with meeting deadlines.
The following month, it was announced that SpaceX would construct a facility at the Port of Los Angeles to build and house the BFR. The port property presented an ideal location for SpaceX, as its mammoth rocket will only be movable by barge or ship when completed.
Starlink Internet Satellites
In late March 2018, SpaceX received permission from the U.S. government to launch a fleet of satellites into low orbit for the purpose of providing Internet service. The satellite network, named Starlink, would ideally make broadband service more accessible in rural areas, while also boosting competition in heavily populated markets that are typically dominated by one or two providers.
SpaceX launched the first batch of 60 satellites in May 2019, and followed with another payload of 60 satellites that November. While this represented significant progress for the Starlink venture, the appearance of these bright orbiters in the night sky, with the potential of thousands more to come, worried astronomers who felt that a proliferation of satellites would increase the difficulty of studying distant objects in space.
Musk is the co-founder, CEO and product architect at Tesla Motors, a company formed in 2003 that is dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars as well as battery products and solar roofs. Musk oversees all product development, engineering and design of the company’s products.
Five years after its formation, in March 2008, Tesla unveiled the Roadster, a sports car capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, as well as traveling nearly 250 miles between charges of its lithium ion battery.
With a stake in the company taken by Daimler and a strategic partnership with Toyota, Tesla Motors launched its initial public offering in June 2010, raising $226 million.
In August 2008, Tesla announced plans for its Model S, the company’s first electric sedan that was reportedly meant to take on the BMW 5 series. In 2012, the Model S finally entered production at a starting price of $58,570. Capable of covering 265 miles between charges, it was honored as the 2013 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine.
In April 2017, Tesla announced that it surpassed General Motors to become the most valuable U.S. car maker. The news was an obvious boon to Tesla, which was looking to ramp up production and release its Model 3 sedan later that year.
In September 2019, using what Musk described as a “Plaid powertrain,” a Model S set a speed record for four-door sedan at Lacuna Seca Raceway in Monterey County, California.
The Model 3 was officially launched in March 2019 following extensive production delays. The car was initially priced at $35,000, a much more accessible price point than the $69,500 and up for its Model S and X electric sedans.
After initially aiming to produce 5,000 new Model 3 cars per week by December 2017, Musk pushed that goal back to March 2018, and then to June with the start of the new year. The announced delay didn’t surprise industry experts, who were well aware of the company’s production problems, though some questioned how long investors would remain patient with the process. It also didn’t prevent Musk from garnering a radical new compensation package as CEO, in which he would be paid after reaching milestones of growing valuation based on $50 billion increments.
By April 2018, with Tesla expected to fall short of first-quarter production forecasts, news surfaced that Musk had pushed aside the head of engineering to personally oversee efforts in that division. In a Twitter exchange with a reporter, Musk said it was important to “divide and conquer” to meet production goals and was “back to sleeping at factory.”
After signaling that the company would reorganize its management structure, Musk in June announced that Tesla was laying off 9 percent of its workforce, though its production department would remain intact. In an email to employees, Musk explained his decision to eliminate some “duplication of roles” to cut costs, admitting it was time to take serious steps toward turning a profit.
The restructuring appeared to pay dividends, as it was announced that Tesla had met its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June 2018, while churning out another 2,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs. “We did it!” Musk wrote in an celebratory email to the company. “What an incredible job by an amazing team.”
The following February, Musk announced that the company was finally rolling out its standard Model 3. Musk also said that Tesla was shifting to all-online sales, and offering customers the chance to return their cars within seven days or 1,000 miles for a full refund.
In November 2017, Musk made another splash with the unveiling of the new Tesla Semi and Roadster at the company’s design studio. The semi truck, which entered into production in 2019, boasts 500 miles of range as well as a battery and motors built to last 1 million miles. The truck is set to launch in 2019.
Model Y and Roadster
In March 2019, Musk unveiled Tesla’s long-awaited Model Y. The compact crossover, expected for release in 2020, will have a driving range of 300 miles and a 0 to 60 mph of as little as 3.5 seconds.
The Roadster, also set to be released in 2020, will become the fastest production car ever made, with a 0 to 60 time of 1.9 seconds.
In August 2016, in Musk’s continuing effort to promote and advance sustainable energy and products for a wider consumer base, a $2.6 billion dollar deal was solidified to combine his electric car and solar energy companies. His Tesla Motors Inc. announced an all-stock deal purchase of SolarCity Corp., a company Musk had helped his cousins start in 2006. He is a majority shareholder in each entity.
“Solar and storage are at their best when they’re combined. As one company, Tesla (storage) and SolarCity (solar) can create fully integrated residential, commercial and grid-scale products that improve the way that energy is generated, stored and consumed,” read a statement on Tesla’s website about the deal.
The Boring Company
In January 2017, Musk launched The Boring Company, a company devoted to boring and building tunnels in order to reduce street traffic. He began with a test dig on the SpaceX property in Los Angeles.
In late October of that year, Musk posted the first photo of his company’s progress to his Instagram page. He said the 500-foot tunnel, which would generally run parallel to Interstate 405, would reach a length of two miles in approximately four months.
In May 2019 the company, now known as TBC, landed a $48.7 million contract from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to build an underground Loop system to shuttle people around the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Thanks for reading this publication.