Elon Reeve Musk is an engineer, industrial designer, technology entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
Musk is the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX; early investor, CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chair of OpenAI. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018.
In December 2016, he was ranked 21st on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Powerful People, and joint first on Forbes’ list of 2019’s Most Innovative Leaders.
Elon Musk’s fortune
As of November 2020, his net worth was estimated at $99 billion by Business Insider and Forbes lists him as the third richest person in the world. He is the longest-serving CEO of any automaker globally.
Elon Musk’s short biography
Musk was born to a Canadian mother and a South African father and raised in Pretoria, South Africa.
Education of Elon Musk
Elon Musk briefly attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada when he was 17 to attend Queen’s University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School and a bachelor’s degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences.
He moved to California in 1995 to begin a Ph.D. in applied physics and materials sciences at Stanford University, but decided to pursue a business career instead of matriculating.
Musk co-founded (with his brother Kimbal) Zip2, a web software company, which was acquired by Compaq for $340 million in 1999. He went on to found X.com, an online bank. This bank merged with Confinity in 2000, which had launched PayPal the previous year and was later bought by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002.
In May 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, of which he is CEO and lead designer.
He joined Tesla Motors, Inc. (now Tesla, Inc.), an electric vehicle manufacturer, in 2004, a year after its founding, became its product architect and became its CEO in October 2008.
In 2006, Musk helped create SolarCity, a solar energy services company (now a subsidiary of Tesla).
In 2015, Musk co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit research company that aims to promote friendly artificial intelligence.
In July 2016, he co-founded Neuralink, a neurotech company focused on developing brain-computer interfaces, and in December 2016, Musk founded The Boring Company, a tunneling and infrastructure company focused on tunnels optimized for electric vehicles.
Vision and curiosities
In addition to his main business activities, Musk has envisioned a high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop. Musk has said that the goals of SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity revolve around his vision to “change the world and help humanity .” His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption and lowering the risk of human extinction by establishing a human colony on Mars. Elon Musk is also the real-life inspiration behind Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Great undertakings of Elon Musk
In 1995, Elon Musk and his brother, Kimbal, started Zip2, a web software company, with money raised from a small group of godfather investors. The company developed and marketed an Internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry, with maps, directions, and yellow pages, with vector graphics mapping and address code implemented by Musk in Java.
Musk secured contracts with The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, and persuaded the board of directors to drop plans to merge with CitySearch. Musk’s attempts to become CEO were foiled by the board. Compaq acquired Zip2 for US$307 million in cash in February 1999. Musk received US$22 million for his 7 percent share of the sale.
X.com and PayPal, two great ventures of Elon Musk
In March 1999, Elon Musk co-founded X.com, online financial services and email payment company, with US$10 million from the sale of Zip2. A year later, the company merged with Confinity, which had a money transfer service called PayPal.
The merged company focused on the PayPal service and was renamed PayPal in 2001.
Musk was removed in October 2000 from his role as CEO (although he remained on the board) due to disagreements with other company executives over his desire to move Unix from PayPal’s infrastructure to Microsoft’s.
In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for US$1.5 billion in stock, of which Musk received US$165 million. Before its sale, Musk, who was the company’s largest shareholder, owned 11.7% of PayPal’s shares.
In July 2017, Musk purchased PayPal’s X.com domain for an undisclosed amount, stating that it has sentimental value to him.
In 2001, Musk conceived of Mars Oasis, an idea to land a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars, containing food crops growing on the Martian regolith, in an attempt to spark public interest in space exploration.
In October 2001, Musk traveled to Moscow with Jim Cantrell (an aerospace supply repairman) and Adeo Ressi (his best friend from college), to purchase refurbished intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could send the intended payloads into space. The group met with companies such as NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras; however, according to Cantrell, Musk was seen as a novice and consequently was spat on by one of the top Russian designers. The group returned to the United States empty-handed.
In February 2002, the group returned to Russia to search for three ICBMs, bringing Mike Griffin with them. Griffin had worked for the CIA’s venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, as well as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was leaving Orbital Sciences, a manufacturer of satellites and spacecraft. The group had another meeting with Kosmotras and was offered a rocket for US$8 million. Musk felt the price was too high and walked out of the meeting. On the flight back from Moscow, Musk realized that he could start a company that could build the affordable rockets he needed.
According to investor Steve Jurvetson of Tesla and SpaceX, Musk calculated that the raw materials to build a rocket were only 3 percent of the selling price of a rocket at the time.
It was concluded that in theory, by applying vertical integration and the modular approach employed in software engineering, SpaceX could reduce the launch price by a factor of ten and still enjoy a 70 percent gross profit margin. Ultimately, Musk ended up founding SpaceX with the long-term goal of creating a true spacefaring civilization.
With $100 million of his initial fortune, Musk founded Space
Exploration Technologies Corp., trading as SpaceX, in May 2002. Elon Musk is the Hawthorne-based company’s chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technology officer (CTO). California. By 2016, Musk’s private trust owned 54% of SpaceX stock, equivalent to 78% of the voting shares.
SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles with a focus on advancing the state of rocket technology. The company’s first two launch vehicles were the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets (a nod to the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars), and its first spacecraft was the Dragon (a nod to Puff the Magic Dragon).
SpaceX designed a family of launch vehicles and the Dragon multipurpose spacecraft in a span of seven years. In September 2008, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket became the first privately funded liquid-fueled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit.
SpaceX is both the largest private rocket engine producer in the world and holds the record for the highest thrust-to-weight ratio for a rocket engine (the Merlin 1D). The company has produced more than 100 operational Merlin 1D engines.
According to SpaceX, each Merlin 1D engine can vertically lift the weight of 40 average family cars, and in combination, the 9 Merlin engines in the Falcon 9 first stage produce between 5.8 and 6.7 MN (1.3 to 1.5 million pounds) of thrust, depending of altitude.
In 2006, NASA announced that the company was one of two selected to provide crew and cargo resupply demonstration contracts to the International Space Station, followed by a US$1.6 thousand Commercial Resupply Services program contract. million on December 23, 2008, for 12 flights of its Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon spacecraft to the Space Station, replacing the US Space Shuttle.
After its retirement in 2011. On May 25, 2012, the SpaceX Dragon vehicle docked with the ISS, making history as the first commercial company to launch and dock a vehicle for the International Space Station.
Beginning in 2011, SpaceX received funding from NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program to develop the SpaceX Dragon 2 crew capsule. In 2014, it was awarded a contract to provide crew flights to the ISS.
Musk believed that the key to making space travel affordable was to make rockets reusable, even though space industry insiders believed that reusable rockets were impossible or unfeasible.
On December 22, 2015, SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon rocket on the launch pad, the first time this had been accomplished by an orbital rocket. The recovery of the first stage was repeated several times in 2016 by landing on an autonomous spaceport drone ship, an ocean-based recovery platform, and by the end of 2017, SpaceX had landed and recovered the first stage in 16 missions. consecutive where a landing and recovery were attempted, including all 14 attempts in 2017. Twenty of the 42 first-stage Falcon 9 boosters have been recovered overall since the Falcon 9’s maiden flight in 2010.
In 2017, SpaceX launched 18 successful missions, more than double its highest previous year of 8 missions.
On February 6, 2018, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy, the fourth largest-capacity rocket ever built (after Saturn V, Energia, and N1) and the most powerful rocket in operation as of 2018. The maiden mission carried a Tesla Roadster belonging to Musk as dummy cargo.
SpaceX began the development of the Starlink constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites in 2015 to provide satellite Internet access, with the first two test-flight prototype satellites launched in February 2018. The second set of test satellites and the first A large deployment of a piece of the constellation occurred on May 24, 2019 UTC when the first 60 operational satellites were launched. SpaceX estimated in May 2018 that the total cost of the decade-long project to design, build and deploy the constellation is approximately US$10 billion.
Musk was influenced by the Isaac Asimov Foundation series and sees space exploration as an important step in preserving and expanding awareness of human life. Musk said that multiplanetary life can serve as a hedge against threats to the survival of the human species:
An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: an engineered virus, the inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end for us. Humanity evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years, atomic weaponry created the potential to make us extinct. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball, or go extinct.
Elon Musk at Tesla
Tesla, Inc. (originally Tesla Motors) was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who financed the company through the Series A funding round. Both men played an active role in the early development of the company before of Elon Musk’s involvement.
Elon Musk led the Series A investment round in February 2004, joining Tesla’s board of directors as its chairman. According to Musk, the three executives, along with JB Straubel, were inspired by the tzero electric-powered prototype. Musk took an active role within the company and oversaw the design of the Roadster product at a detailed level, but was not deeply involved in day-to-day business operations.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 and after a series of escalating conflicts in 2007, Eberhard was forced out of the company. Musk assumed leadership of the company as CEO and product architect in 2008, positions he still holds today. As of 2019, Elon Musk is the longest-serving CEO of any automaker globally.
Tesla’s “master plan,” as repeated by Musk in 2006, was:
Build sports cars. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing the above, also provide options for generating electricity with zero polluting emissions.
Tesla Motors first built an electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, in 2008, with sales of around 2,500 vehicles in 31 countries, which was the first mass-production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells.
Tesla began delivering its four-door Model S sedan on June 22, 2012. The company then introduced its third product, the Model X, aimed at the SUV/minivan market, on February 9, 2012; however, the release of the Model X was delayed until September 2015. In addition to its own cars, Tesla sold electric powertrain systems to Daimler for the Smart EV, Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, and Mercedes A Class, and to Toyota for the Smart EV. RAV4 EV. Elon Musk was able to attract both companies as long-term investors in Tesla.
Musk favored building a more affordable Tesla model; Which led to the Model 3 being introduced in 2016, with a planned base price of US$35,000. Initial deliveries began in 2017, with the US$35,000 base model available in February 2019. As of March 2020, the Tesla Model 3 is the world’s best-selling electric car in history, with over 500,000 units delivered. . Musk originally intended to name the Model 3 the Model E, but was blocked by Ford, which held the trademark, with Musk concluding that “Ford was killing the appeal of the brand.”
Several mainstream publications have compared Musk to Henry Ford for his work on advanced vehicle powertrains. Musk has named the fastest acceleration modes on his vehicles after the Spaceballs’ spaceship speeds (Ridiculous Speed, Checkered Speed).
In a May 2013 interview with All Things Digital, Musk said that to overcome the range limitations of electric cars, Tesla planned to expand its network of supercharging stations, tripling the number on the East and West coasts of the United States in June of that year, with plans for further expansion in North America, including Canada, throughout the year.
In 2014, Musk announced that Tesla would allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith in a bid to lure automakers into accelerating the development of electric cars. “The unfortunate reality is that electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at major manufacturers are small or non-existent, averaging much less than 1% of their total vehicle sales, ” Musk said at the time.
In February 2016, Musk announced that he had acquired the domain name Tesla.com from Stu Grossman, who had owned it since 1992, and changed the Tesla home page to that domain.
Anticipating that the global supply of lithium-ion batteries was insufficient for the planned output of its electric car, a lithium-ion battery factory was planned that would more than double existing global production. On July 29, 2016, Tesla, in partnership with Panasonic, officially opened the first phase of Gigafactory 1, an electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery sub-assembly factory. Gigafactory 1 currently produces 35 GWh/year of batteries.
In July 2016, Musk released Tesla’s “master plan part 2”:
Create impressive solar roofs with perfectly integrated battery storage. Expand electric vehicle product line to address all major segments [including small SUVs and trucks]. Develop an autonomous driving capacity 10 times safer than manual driving through mass learning of the fleet. Let your car earn money when you’re not using it.
In March 2019, the small SUV / CUV model Y was introduced. The first deliveries were in March 2020. Later that year, in November, Musk unveiled the Tesla Cybertruck, an all-electric, battery-powered pickup truck. The presentation was made in Los Angeles, the same month, year and place in which the film Blade Runner was developed, which was an inspiration for the design. The Tesla Cybertruck will be manufactured in three variants of Single Motor RWD, Dual Motor AWD and Triple Motor AWD. The Cybertruck is expected to begin commercial production in late 2021.
As of January 29, 2016, Musk owned approximately 28.9 million shares of Tesla, which is equal to approximately 22% of the company. In January 2018, Musk was given the option to buy up to 20.3 million shares if Tesla’s market value rose to $650 billion. The majority shareholder approval for this package was approved in March 2018. The grant was also intended to end speculation about Musk possibly leaving Tesla to spend more time on his other business ventures. A report by advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. to clients argued against giving the options to Musk.
Elon Musk provided the initial concept and financial capital for SolarCity, which was then co-founded in 2006 by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. By 2013, SolarCity was the second largest provider of solar energy systems in the United States. SolarCity was acquired by Tesla, Inc. in November 2016 and is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Tesla.
The underlying motivation for funding both SolarCity and Tesla was to help combat global warming. In 2012, Musk announced that SolarCity and Tesla would collaborate to use electric vehicle batteries to soften the impact of rooftop solar power on the power grid, with the program going live in 2013.
On June 17, 2014, Musk committed to building a SolarCity advanced production facility in Buffalo, New York, that would triple the size of the largest solar plant in the United States. Musk said the plant will be “one of the largest solar panel production plants in the world,” and that it will be followed by one or more even larger facilities in the coming years. Tesla Gigafactory 2 is a photovoltaic (PV) cell factory, leased by Tesla subsidiary SolarCity, in Buffalo, New York. Construction of the factory began in 2014 and was completed in 2017. Tesla accepted $750 million in public funds from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of the Buffalo Billion project, a plan to invest money to help the Buffalo-area economy. , New York — to build the factory and infrastructure.
The Boring Company
The Boring Company (also known as TBC) is an American tunnel and infrastructure construction services company founded by Elon Musk in December 2016.
On December 17, 2016, while stuck in traffic, Musk tweeted “I’m going to build a TBM and start digging…” The company he was planning at the time was called ‘The Boring Company” (TBC). On January 21, 2017, Musk tweeted “Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in about a month.” As of January 26, 2017, discussions with regulatory bodies began to adjust all the details of his new company.
In February 2017, the company began digging a “test trench” 30 feet (9.1 m) wide, 50 feet (15 m) long and 15 feet (4.6 m) deep at the facility. from the Space X offices in Los Angeles, as construction does not require permits. Musk had said earlier in 2017 that a 10-fold decrease in tunneling cost per mile is necessary for the economic viability of the proposed tunnel network. According to Tesla and SpaceX board member Steve Jurvets, the width of the tunnel is optimized for electric vehicles only, avoiding the complications of exhaust ventilation with internal combustion engines.
As of late 2018, TBC had active construction, approved plans in place, or an operating tunnel in several areas of the United States: Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles. TBC provided an update on the status of their technology and product line when they opened their first mile-long test tunnel to the public in Hawthorne, California on December 18, 2018, saying it has been a proof of concept for the technology. TBC has stated that the design is complete for its next tunnel boring machine (TBM), Prufrock, with assembly and engineering testing to begin in 2019. In February 2020, The Boring Company released images of a working Prufrock prototype.
When it was going commercial, Musk said the company sold 2,000 flamethrowers in 2018, inspired by the movie Spaceballs.
Points of view
On the coronavirus
In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Elon Musk was among the few millionaires critical of the restriction measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, alleging that such measures negatively affected the economy. On April 30, 2020, CNN reported that Musk had called the stay-at-home orders fascist measures. In March 2020 he stated: “the Covid panic is silly”. Musk’s comments on Covid-19 contrasted with those of Mark Zuckerberg, who said: “I’m concerned that reopening certain places too quickly before infection rates have dropped to very low levels, will almost guarantee future outbreaks and make it worse.” longer-term health and economic outcomes.
Later in November 2020, Elon Musk underwent four coronavirus tests. However, a lot of confusion was created because two of these tests appeared to be negative and two positives. The tests were conducted prior to a SpaceX launch that Musk was scheduled to attend. The mixed test results prompted Musk to renew his criticism of the tests, which reportedly offer dubious results.
Musk has been outspoken about short trading sales and how he thinks the practice should be illegal. Musk has also expressed his disrespect for the SEC, stating emphatically in a 60 Minutes interview: “He didn’t respect the SEC” and on Twitter by referring to this organization as the “short sellers’ enrichment committee” multiple times.
Elon Musk has also commented on Tesla’s stock price when it was around $700, saying on Twitter that it was “too high”; then when he crossed $1000 he just tweeted “lol” and after that, he tweeted “stonks”, a pejorative way of referring to misvalued assets, and that his website stankmemes.com predicted it.
Musk responded to an earlier Wikipedia version of his life that described him as an investor, saying he doesn’t think of himself that way and makes almost “zero investments.”
Politically, Musk has described himself as “half Democrat, half Republican” and “I’m somewhere in between, socially liberal and fiscally conservative”.
In 2018, he stated that he was “not a conservative. I am registered as independent and politically moderate.
Driven by the rise of artificial intelligence, Musk has voiced support for a universal basic income; furthermore, he endorses direct democracy and has stated that he believes the government of Mars will be direct democracy. He has described himself as a “socialist,” but “not the kind that shifts resources from the more productive to the less productive, pretending to do good while causing harm,” arguing instead, “true socialism seeks the highest good for all”.
Musk Supports setting an inclusive tax rate of 40%, prefers excise taxes to income taxes, and supports wealth tax, as the “likelihood that offspring will be equally excellent at allocating capital is not high”.
Musk described the United States as “arguably the greatest country that has ever existed on Earth”, describing it as “the greatest force for good of any country that has ever existed”.
Elon Musk believes that democracy would no longer exist were it not for the United States, saying that he prevented this demise three times through his participation in World War I, World War II and the Cold War. Musk also stated that he believes “it would be wrong to say that America is perfect, it certainly isn’t. There have been a lot of dumb things that America has done and a lot of bad things that America has done.”
Before the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Musk criticized candidate Trump saying, “I feel a little stronger because he’s probably not the right guy. He doesn’t seem to have the kind of character that reflects well in the United States. Following Donald Trump’s inauguration, Musk expressed his approval of Trump’s choice of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and accepted an invitation to serve on two councils advising President Trump. Regarding his cooperation with Trump, Musk has subsequently commented: “The more voices of the reason the president listens to, the better.”He subsequently resigned from both business advisory councils in June 2017, in protest of Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, stating: “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”
In May 2020, in the midst of Musk’s restart of Tesla Assembly Plant production during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump tweeted in support of Musk, to which Musk publicly welcomed and thanked him on Twitter.
In August 2019, Musk took to Twitter in support of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, whose platform revolves around the current issue of job displacement through technological automation and artificial intelligence. Musk said in a tweet that universal basic income, which Yang supports, is “obviously necessary.”
Elon Musk Philanthropy
Musk is president of the Musk Foundation, which states that its purpose is to provide solar energy power systems in disaster areas, as well as other goals.
In 2010, the Musk Foundation collaborated with SolarCity to donate a 25 kW solar power system to Community Alliance’s South Bay Hurricane Response Center in Coden, Alabama. In July 2011, the Musk Foundation donated US$250,000 for a solar power project in Sōma, Japan, a city that had recently been devastated by a tsunami.
In July 2014, he was asked by cartoonist Matthew Inman and Nikola Tesla’s great-nephew William Terbo to donate US$8 million towards the construction of the Tesla Science Center in Wardenclyffe. Ultimately, Musk agreed to donate US$1 million to the project and further pledged to build a Tesla Supercharger in the museum’s parking lot.
In January 2015, Musk donated US$10 million to the Future of Life Institute to run a global research program aimed at keeping artificial intelligence beneficial to humanity.
As of 2015, Musk is a member of the X Prize Foundation and a signatory to The Giving Pledge.
In October 2018, in an effort to help solve Flint’s water crisis, Musk and the Musk Foundation donated more than $480,000 to install new water fountains with filtration systems to access clean water in all Flint schools. , Mich. As of 2019, approximately 30,000 children in the area’s 12 schools have free, safe drinking water from water filtration systems.
Musk has been a major donor to the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union.
In October 2019, Musk donates $1 million to ‘#TeamTrees’, a tree planting initiative to plant 20 million trees led by the YouTube community and in collaboration with The Arbor Day Foundation.