Elon Musk 101: The Genius behind SpaceX, Tesla, and More

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is a globally renowned business magnate and investor. He is the founder, CEO, and chief engineer/designer of SpaceX, the CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc., owner and CEO of Twitter, Inc., founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI, and chairman of the Musk Foundation, a philanthropic organization.

According to Forbes, Elon Musk has a net worth of $146 billion, which makes him the world’s second-richest person, just behind French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault.

Who is Elon Musk?

Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. As a child, he sold homemade Easter eggs door-to-door with his brother. He also developed his first computer game at the age of 12, demonstrating his early aptitude for design and entrepreneurship. However, Musk’s parents’ early divorce, bullying in school, and Asperger’s syndrome made for a difficult childhood. Through his Canadian mother, he became a Canadian citizen and moved to Canada while studying at Pretoria University. He later attended Queen’s University and then Pennsylvania University, where he earned undergraduate degrees in economics and physics.

Elon Musk and His Early Ventures

In 1995, Elon Musk moved to California to attend Stanford University but dropped out two days after starting to found Zip2, a software company, with his brother Kimbal. Four years later, in 1999, Zip2 was sold to Compaq for $307 million. With the proceeds, Musk founded X.com, a “direct banking” company, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to create PayPal, the online payment system that eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002.

Elon Musk and SpaceX

In 2002, Elon Musk founded SpaceX, which would play a significant role in his current fortune. He served as the company’s CEO and chief engineer. In 2006, SpaceX attempted to launch the Falcon 1 rocket, which failed to reach orbit. However, NASA administrator Mike Griffin signed a commercial agreement with SpaceX. After two more unsuccessful ventures nearly bankrupted Musk and his companies, SpaceX succeeded in launching Falcon 1 into orbit in 2008. Later that year, SpaceX won another $1.6 billion commercial contract with NASA.

In 2015, SpaceX began developing Starlink to provide internet access via satellite, with the first two prototypes launched in February 2018. The total cost of the project was $10 billion. In 2022, Musk used Starlink to provide internet access to Ukraine, which was under Russian occupation.

Elon Musk and Tesla

Tesla was actually founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, but Elon Musk was an early investor in the company. With a $6.5 million investment in February 2004, he became the majority shareholder. In 2007, following a dispute among the partners and the subsequent economic crisis, Eberhard was ousted from the company, while Musk remained and became the public face of Tesla. Under Musk’s leadership, Tesla has become one of the most innovative and successful electric vehicle companies in the world.

Elon Musk and His Other Investments

Elon Musk helped establish SolarCity, a solar energy company that was later acquired by Tesla and became Tesla Energy, in 2006. In 2015, he founded OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company. The following year, he founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company that develops brain-computer interfaces, and The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company. Most recently, in 2022, he led a high-profile acquisition and purchased the popular social media platform, Twitter, for $44 billion.

Elon Musk and Cryptocurrency

Musk is also highly interested in cryptocurrencies, which have become popular investment tools in recent years. His company Tesla owned about $2 billion worth of Bitcoin before selling a portion of it. Additionally, Musk has helped popularize Dogecoin (DOGE), a meme coin, through his Twitter posts.

On May 13, 2022, Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla will no longer be accepting Bitcoin payments. As a result, the price of Bitcoin fell from $54,819 on March 1, 2021, to $45,700.

In January 2021, Musk tweeted about DOGE, and its price surged by over 300% within four hours of the tweet. However, it later dropped to almost half of its new peak within a few hours.

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