- 1. Early life
- 2. Business career
- 2.1. Zip2
- 2.2. X.com and PayPal
- 2.3. SpaceX
- 2.4. Tesla
- 2.5. SEC lawsuit
- 2.6. SolarCity and Tesla Energy
- 2.7. Neuralink
- 2.8. The Boring Company
- 2.9. Managerial style and treatment of employees
- 3. Hyperloop
- 4. OpenAI
- 5. Music ventures
- 6. Donations and non-profits
- 7. Views
- 8. Personal life
- 9. In popular culture
- 10. Recognition
Elon Reeve Musk (06.28.1971) is an entrepreneur and business magnate. He is the founder of many popular companies and businesses. A centibillionaire, Musk is one of the richest people in the world.
Elon Musk in childhood with brother and sister
Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. His mother, Maye Musk, is a model and dietitian born in Canada, but raised in South Africa. His father is Errol Musk, a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant, and property developer. Musk has two younger siblings, Kimbal and Tosca. After his parents divorced in 1980, Musk mostly lived with his father, but later he regretted that he made that choice. Musk has become suspend from his father, whom he describes as
"He is a terrible human being... Almost every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done."
When he was around 10, Musk developed an interest in computing and video games. He learned computer programming using a manual and, by age 12, sold the code of a video game he created called Blastar for approximately $500. An awkward and introverted child, Musk was bullied throughout his childhood and was once hospitalized after a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs. He attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Bryanston High School before graduating from Pretoria Boys High School.
In 1992, Musk left Canada to study at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and stayed for a second bachelor’s degree in physics.
After leaving Penn, Musk headed to Stanford University in California to pursue a PhD in energy physics. However, his move was timed perfectly with the Internet boom, and he dropped out of Stanford after just two days to become a part of it.
Musk established his 1st company, Zip2 Corporation, in 1995 with his younger brother. An online city guide, Zip2 was later 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.
Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal at the beginning of the path to tremendous success
X.com and PayPal
In 1999, Musk co-founded X.com, an online financial services and e-mail payment company. It was one of the first online banks to be federally insured, and, within its first months of existing, more than 200,000 customers joined the service. The company's investors saw Musk as low experienced and had him replaced with Intuit CEO Bill Harris by the end of the year. The following year, X.com merged with online bank Confinity to prevent unwanted competition. Founded by Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, Confinity had its own fund transfer service, PayPal, which was more common than X.com. Within the merged company, Musk returned as CEO. Musk's preference for Microsoft software over Linux created a rift within the lute in the company and caused Thiel to resign from his post. According to resulting technological issues and limitation of a cohesive business model, the board deposed Musk and replaced him with Thiel in September 2000. Under Thiel, the company focused on the PayPal service and was renamed PayPal in 2001.
Elon Musk was one of PayPal founders
In 2017, Musk purchased the domain X.com from PayPal for an unexposed amount, explaining it has sensational valuableness.
Musk founded his 3rd company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. It based in California. By 2008, SpaceX was well established, and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station.
Musk initially had the idea of sending a greenhouse to Mars, named the Mars Oasis. But after realizing the cost was too high, Musk started a spaceflight company instead called Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX.
A Falcon 9 rocket blasted into space from Launch Complex 39a – the same Launchpad used during the historic Apollo 11 Moon landings.
Since its creation in 2002, SpaceX has completed many successful missions. The first liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit was launched in September 2008 and from then the company has completed a mission nearly every year. In 2012, SpaceX became the first private company to send a spacecraft to the ISS. In June 2017, the Dragon C106 was the first re-flight of a commercial cargo spacecraft.
SpaceX became the first private company to send an object into orbit - the object being a car from Elon Musk's other company Tesla.
In October 2018 SpaceX attempted yet another world first by landing a rocket back on Californian soil. The first stage of the rocket returned safely to the airbase about eight minutes later, making it the first ground booster landing on the California coast.
lon Musk poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California, on July 25, 2008.
Tesla, Inc. — originally Tesla Motors — was established in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who financed the company until the Series A round of funding. Both men played active roles in the company's early development prior to Musk's involvement. Musk led the Series A round of investment in 2004, joining Tesla's board of directors as chairman. Musk took an active role within the company and oversaw Roadster product design but was not deeply involved in day-to-day business operations. Following a series of escalating conflicts in 2007 and the 2008 financial crisis, Eberhard was ousted from the firm. Musk assumed leadership of the company as CEO and product architect in 2008. A 2009 lawsuit settlement with Eberhard designated Musk as a Tesla co-founder, along with Tarpenning and two others.
Tesla first built an electric sports car, the Roadster, in 2008. With sales of about 2,500 vehicles, it was the first mass production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells. Tesla began delivery of its four-door Model S sedan in 2012; a cross-over, the Model X was launched in 2015. A mass market sedan, the Model 3 was released in 2017. As of March 2020, it is the world's best-selling electric car, with over 500,000 units delivered. A fifth vehicle, the Model Y crossover, was launched in 2020. The Cybertruck, an all-electric pickup truck, was unveiled in 2019. Under Musk, Tesla has also constructed multiple lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle subassembly factories, such as Gigafactory 1 in Nevada and Gigafactory 3 in China.
Since its initial public offering in 2010, Tesla stock has risen significantly; it became the most valuable carmaker in summer 2020. It entered the S&P 500 later that year.
Musk’s official salary in Tesla is one dollar per year
In September 2018, Musk was sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a tweet claiming funding had been secured for potentially taking Tesla private. The lawsuit claimed that discussions Musk held with foreign investors in July 2018 did not confirm key deal terms and thus characterized the tweet as false, misleading, and damaging to investors, and sought to bar Musk from serving as CEO of publicly traded companies. Musk called the allegations unjustified and claimed he had never compromised his integrity. Two days later, Musk settled with the SEC, without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations. As a result, Musk and Tesla were fined $20 million each, and Musk was forced to step down for three years as Tesla chairman but was able to remain as CEO.
Musk has stated in interviews he does not regret the tweet that triggered the SEC investigation. On February 19, 2019, Musk stated in a tweet that Tesla would build half a million cars in 2019. The SEC reacted to Musk's tweet by filing in court, initially asking the court to hold him in contempt for violating the terms of a settlement agreement with such a tweet, which was disputed by Musk. This was eventually settled by a joint agreement between Musk and the SEC clarifying the previous agreement details. The arrangement included a list of subjects that Musk would need preclearance before tweeting about. In May 2020, a judge prevented a lawsuit from proceeding that claimed a tweet by Musk regarding Tesla stock price violated the agreement. FOIA released records showed that the SEC itself concluded that Musk has subsequently violated their arrangement twice by tweeting regarding
"Tesla's solar roof production volumes and its stock price".
SolarCity and Tesla Energy
Musk provided the initial concept and financial capital for SolarCity, which his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive co-founded in 2006. By 2013, SolarCity was the 2nd largest provider of solar power systems in the US. In 2014, Musk promoted the idea of SolarCity building an advanced production facility in Buffalo, New York, triple the size of the largest solar plant in the country. Construction on the factory started in 2014 and was completed in 2017. It operated as a joint venture with Panasonic until early 2020 when Panasonic departed.
Tesla acquired SolarCity for over $2 billion in 2016 and merged it with its battery energy storage products division to create Tesla Energy. The announcement of the deal resulted in a more than 10% drop in Tesla's stock price. At the time, SolarCity was facing liquidity issues; however, Tesla shareholders were not informed. Consequently, multiple shareholder groups filed a lawsuit against Musk and Tesla's directors, claiming that the purchase of SolarCity was done solely to benefit Musk and came at the expense of Tesla and its shareholders. During a June 2019 court deposition, Musk acknowledged that the company reallocated every possible employee from the solar division to work on the Model 3, and, according to Musk, "as a result, solar suffered." This had not previously been disclosed to joint owners. Court documents unsealed in 2019 have confirmed that Musk was also aware of the company's liquidity issues. Tesla directors settled the court process in January 2020, leaving Musk the sole remaining defendant.
Elon Musk with the presentation about SolarCity
In 2016, Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology startup company to integrate the human brain with AI. Neuralink's purpose is to create devices that are implanted in the human brain to facilitate the mergence of the organ with machines. The devices will also unite with the latest improvements in artificial intelligence to stay updated. Such improvements could enhance memory or allow the devices to communicate with software more effectively.
At a live demonstration in August 2020, Musk described one of their early devices as "a Fitbit in your skull" that could soon cure paralysis, deafness, blindness, and other disabilities. Many neuroscientists and publications criticized these claims; MIT Technology Review described them as "highly speculative" and "neuroscience theater".
The Boring Company
In 2016, Musk founded The Boring Company to construct tunnels. In early 2017, they began discussions with regulatory bodies and initiated construction of a 9.1 m wide, 15 m long, and 4.6 m deep "test trench" on the premises of SpaceX's offices as it required no permits. A tunnel beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center was completed in early 2021. Local officials have approved further expansions of the tunnel system.
Managerial style and treatment of employees
Musk's executive style and treatment of his employees has been heavily criticized. One person who worked closely with Musk said he exhibits "a high level of degenerate behavior" such as morbid suspicion and bullying. Another described him as exhibiting "total and complete pathological sociopathy". Business Insider reported that Tesla employees were told not to walk past Musk's desk because of his "wild firing rampages". The Wall Street Journal reported that, after Musk insisted on branding his vehicles as "self-driving", he faced criticism from his engineers, some of whom resigned in response, with one stating that
"Musk's reckless decision making... had potentially put customer lives at risk".
In 2013, Musk reported plans for a version of a vactrain, assigning about 12 engineers from Tesla and SpaceX to establish the conceptual foundations and create initial designs. In the same year, on August, Musk unveiled the concept, which he dubbed the Hyperloop. The alpha design for the system was published in a whitepaper posted to the Tesla and SpaceX blogs. The document decided on the technology and outlined a notional route where such a transport system could be built between the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area at an estimated total cost of $6 billion. The concept would make Hyperloop travel cheaper than any other mode of transport for such long distances, but only in case it is technologically feasible at the costs he has cited.
In June 2015, Musk made a design competition for students and others to build Hyperloop pods to operate on a SpaceX-sponsored mile-long track in a 2015–2017 Hyperloop pod competition. The track was used in January 2017, and Musk also announced that the company started a tunnel project with Hawthorne airport as its destination. In July 2017, Musk claimed that he had received "verbal government approval" to build a hyperloop from New York City to Washington, D.C., stopping in both Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Elon Musk talked to the assembled teams about Hyperloop
In December 2015, Musk announced the creation of OpenAI, a not-for-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company aiming to develop artificial general intelligence intended to be safe and beneficial to humanity. A particular focus of the company is to "counteract large corporations (and governments) who may gain too much power by owning super-intelligence systems". In 2018, Musk left the OpenAI board to avoid possible future conflicts with his role as CEO of Tesla as Tesla increasingly became involved in AI through Tesla Autopilot.
In July 2018, Musk arranged for his employees to build a small rescue pod to assist the rescue of children stuck in a flooded cavern in Thailand. Named "Wild Boar" after the children's soccer team, its design was a 1.5 m-long, 30 cm-wide sealed tube weighing about 41 kg propelled manually by divers in the front and back with segmented compartments to place diver weights to adjust buoyancy, intended to solve the problem of safely extracting the children. Engineers at SpaceX and The Boring Company built the mini-submarine out of a Falcon 9 liquid oxygen transfer tube in eight hours and personally delivered it to Thailand. However, by this time, eight of the 12 children had already been rescued using full face masks and oxygen under anesthesia and Thai authorities declined to use the submarine.
Vernon Unsworth, a recreational caver who had been exploring the cave for the previous six years and played a key advisory role in the rescue, criticized the submarine on CNN as amounting to nothing more than a public relations effort with no chance of success, and that Musk "had no conception of what the cave passage was like" and "can stick his submarine where it hurts". Musk asserted on Twitter that the device would have worked and referred to Unsworth as "pedo guy". He subsequently deleted the tweets, along with an earlier tweet in which he told another critic of the device, "Stay tuned jackass". On July 16, Unsworth stated that he was considering legal action.
Two days later, Musk issued an apology for his remarks. Then, on August 28, 2018, in response to criticism from a writer on Twitter, Musk tweeted, "You don't think it's strange he hasn't sued me?" The following day, a letter dated August 6 from L. Lin Wood, the rescuer's attorney, emerged, showing that he had been making preparations for a libel lawsuit.
Around this time, James Howard-Higgins emailed Musk claiming to be a private investigator and with an offer to "dig deep" into Unsworth's past, which Musk accepted; Higgins was later revealed to be a convicted felon with multiple counts of fraud. On August 30, using details produced during the alleged investigation, Musk sent a BuzzFeed News reporter who had written about the controversy an email prefaced with "off the record", telling the reporter to "stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole" and claiming that Unsworth is a "single white guy from England who's been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years... until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time." On September 5, the reporter tweeted a screenshot of the email, saying that
"Off the record is a two-party agreement, that I did not agree to."
In September, Unsworth filed a defamation suit in Los Angeles federal court. In his defense, Musk argued that in slang usage "'pedo guy' was a common insult used in South Africa when I was growing up... synonymous with 'creepy old man' and is used to insult a person's appearance and demeanor." The defamation case began in December 2019, with Unsworth seeking $190 million in damages. During the trial Musk apologized to Unsworth again for the tweet. On December 6, the jury found in favor of Musk and ruled he was not liable.
On September 6, 2018, Musk appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and discussed various topics for over two hours. One of the highest-profile and controversial aspects of the program was Musk's sampling a single puff from a cigar consisting, Joe Rogan claimed, of tobacco laced with cannabis. The Washington Post observed that, "In the media's hands, it became a story about Musk's growing instability”.
Tesla stock dropped after the incident, which coincided with the confirmation of the departure of Tesla's vice president of worldwide finance earlier that day. Fortune wondered if the cannabis use could have ramifications for SpaceX contracts with the United States Air Force, though an Air Force spokesperson told The Verge that there was no investigation and that the Air Force was still processing the situation. In a 60 Minutes interview, Musk said of the incident: "I do not smoke pot. As anybody who watched that podcast could tell, I have no idea how to smoke pot."
On March 30, 2019, Musk released a rap track, "RIP Harambe", on SoundCloud as Emo G Records. The track, which is an allusion to the killing of Harambe and the subsequent "tasteless" Internet sensationalism surrounding the event, was performed by Yung Jake, written by Yung Jake and Caroline Polachek, and produced by BloodPop. On January 30, 2020, Musk released an EDM track, "Don't Doubt Ur Vibe", featuring his own lyrics and vocals. While Guardian critic Alexi Petridis described it as "indistinguishable... from umpteen competent but unthrilling bits of bedroom electronica posted elsewhere on Soundcloud",TechCrunch said it was "not a bad representation of the genre".
Elon Musk dropped a rap song dedicated to Harambe
Donations and non-profits
Musk is chairman of the Musk Foundation, which states its purpose is to provide solar-power energy systems in disaster areas as well as other goals. Since 2002, the foundation has made over 350 contributions. Around half were to scientific research or education nonprofits. Notable beneficiaries include the Wikimedia Foundation, his alma mater the University of Pennsylvania, and Kimball's Big Green. Vox described the foundation as "entertaining in its simplicity and yet is strikingly opaque", noting that its website was only 33 words in plain-text. The foundation has been criticized for the relatively small amount of wealth donated. From 2002 to 2018, it gave out $25 million directly to non-profits, nearly half of which went to Musk's OpenAI, which was at the time a non-profit organization.
Musk is also a trustee of the X Prize Foundation. In January 2021, he promised to donate $100 million as a prize to whomever developed the best carbon capture technology.
Musk was criticized for his public comments and conduct related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He spread misinformation about the virus, including promoting chloroquine and claiming that death statistics were manipulated. He claimed that
"Kids are essentially immune, and the coronavirus panic... dumb".
Musk repeatedly criticized lockdowns and violated local orders by re-opening the Tesla Fremont factory. In March 2020, Musk predicted there would be "close to zero new cases in US too by end of April". Politico later labeled this statement one of "the most audacious, confident and spectacularly incorrect prognostications". In November 2020, the phrase "Space Karen" trended on Twitter in connection with Musk after he tweeted misinformation about the effectiveness of COVID-19 testing. In April 2021, he tweeted a modified version of a Ben Garrison cartoon with a caricature of Bill Gates and an anti-vaxxer message.
Also in March 2020, Musk offered to donate ventilators which Tesla would build or buy from a third party. Multiple hospitals noted that the devices eventually donated were BiPAP and CPAP machines, not the sought-after ventilators, but the machines could still be used to free up ventilators for the sickest patients. In 2021, findings of an antibody-testing program that Musk and a SpaceX medical executive worked with doctors and academic researchers to create were published in Nature Communications with Musk listed as a co-author.
Relationship with Donald Trump
In December 2016, Musk was named to President Trump’s Strategy and Policy Forum; the following January, he joined Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. Following Trump’s election, Musk found himself on common ground with the new president and his advisers as the president announced plans to pursue massive infrastructure developments.
While sometimes at odds with the president's controversial measures, such as a proposed ban on immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, Musk defended his involvement with the new administration. "My goals," he tweeted in early 2017, "are to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy and to help make humanity a multi-planet civilization, a consequence of which will be the creating of hundreds of thousands of jobs and a more inspiring future for all."
On June 1, following Trump's announcement that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, Musk stepped down from his advisory roles.
Elon Musk and Donald Trump
Musk met his first wife, Canadian author Justine Wilson, while attending Queen's University. They married in 2000 and separated in 2008. Their first child, son Nevada Alexander Musk, died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at the age of 10 weeks. They share custody of their five surviving children.
In 2008, Musk began dating English actress Talulah Riley, and in 2010, the couple married. In 2012, Musk announced a divorce from Riley. In 2013, Musk and Riley remarried. In December 2014, Musk filed for a second divorce from Riley; however, the action was withdrawn. A second divorce was finalized in 2016. Musk then dated Amber Heard for several months in 2017; he had reportedly been pursuing her since 2012. Musk was later accused of having an affair with Heard while she was still married to Johnny Depp.
In May 2018, Musk and Canadian musician Grimes revealed that they were dating. Grimes gave birth to their son in May 2020. According to Musk and Grimes, his name was "X Æ A-12"; however, the name would have violated California regulations as it contained characters that are not in the modern English alphabet, and was then changed to "X Æ A-Xii". This drew more confusion, as Æ is not a letter in the modern English alphabet. The child was eventually named "X AE A-XII", with "X" as a first name and "AE A-XII" as a middle name.
Elon Musk and Grimes
From the early 2000s until late 2020, Musk resided in California where both Tesla and SpaceX were founded and where their headquarters are still located. In 2020, Musk moved to Texas, stating that California had become "complacent" with its economic success.
While hosting Saturday Night Live in May 2021, Musk remarked that he has Asperger syndrome.
In popular culture
Musk has had multiple cameos and appearances in films such as Iron Man 2 (2010), Why Him? (2016), and Men in Black: International (2019). Television series on which he has appeared include The Simpsons (2015), The Big Bang Theory (2015), South Park (2016), Rick and Morty (2019), and Saturday Night Live (2021). He has contributed interviews to the documentaries Racing Extinction (2015) and the Werner Herzog-directed Lo and Behold (2016).
Elon Musk appeared in The Simpsons
Musk was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2018 and was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2010, 2013, and 2018. He has received various other awards, such as the Order of the Direkgunabhorn given for his contributions to the Tham Luang cave rescue.