Inspiring People

Elon Musk

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Elon Musk was born (June 28, 1971) to a Canadian mother and South African father and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. He 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 dual bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics. He moved to California in 1995 to begin a Ph.D. in applied physics and material sciences at Stanford University, but dropped out after two days to pursue a business career.

He co-founded Zip2, a web software company, which was acquired by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. Musk then founded X.com, an online bank. It merged with Confinity in 2000, which had launched PayPalthe previous year and was subsequently bought by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002.

In May 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, of which he is CEO and lead designer. He joined Tesla Motors, Inc. (now Tesla, Inc.), an electric vehicle manufacturer, in 2004, the year after it was founded, becoming its product architect that year and its CEO in 2008. In 2006, he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy services company (now a subsidiary of Tesla). In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit research company that aims to promote friendly artificial intelligence.

In July 2016, he co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on developing brain-computer interfaces. In December 2016, Musk founded The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel construction company focused on tunnels optimized for electric vehicles. In addition to his primary business pursuits, he envisioned an open-source high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop based on the concept of a vactrain.

 Elon 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-chairman of OpenAI. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018. Also that year, he was ranked 25th on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People and was ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders of 2019. A centi-billionaire, Musk became the richest person in the world in January 2021.

Business Career

At the age of 10, he developed an interest in computing while using the Commodore VIC-20. He learned computer programming using a manual and, by age 12, sold the code of a BASIC-based video game he created called Blastar to PC and Office Technology magazine for approximately $500.

 Zip2 

In 1995, Musk, his brother Kimbal, and Greg Kouri founded web software company Zip2 with funds from a group of angel investors. The company developed and marketed an Internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry, with maps, directions, and yellow pages.

Compaq acquired Zip2 for $307 million in cash in February 1999. Musk received $22 million for his 7 percent share from the sale.

X.com – Confinity – Psypal

In March 1999, Musk co-founded X.com, an online financial services and e-mail payment company, with $10 million from the sale of Zip2. One year later, the company merged with Confinity, which had a money-transfer service called PayPal

Musk was ousted 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 PayPal’s Unix-based infrastructure to a Microsoft one.

In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock, of which Musk received $165 million. Before its sale, Musk, who was the company’s largest shareholder, owned 11.7% of PayPal’s shares.

Paypal Mafia

PayPal Mafia

The “PayPal Mafia” is a group of former PayPal, ‘

employees and founders who have since founded and developed additional technology companies such as Tesla, Inc., LinkedIn, Palantir Technologies, SpaceX, Affirm, Slide, Kiva, YouTube, Yelp, and Yammer. Most of the members attended Stanford University or University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign at some point in their studies.

SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies Corp.(SpaceX) is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars

In May 2020, SpaceX launched its first manned flight, the Demo-2, becoming the first private company to both place a person into orbit and dock a crewed space-craft with the ISS.  Furthermore, it marked the first time an American astronaut was launched from American soil on an American rocket since the end of the Space Shuttle program.

Tesla

Founded in July 2003 as Tesla Motors, the company’s name is a tribute to inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. Elon Musk, who contributed most of the funding in the early days, has served as CEO since 2008. 

As of 2019, Elon Musk is the longest tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer globally. As of December 31, 2019, Musk owns 38,658,670 shares or 20.8% of all Tesla shares.

SolarCity

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 second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States.

Neuralink

In 2016, Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology start-up company to integrate the human brain with AI. The company is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. 

The Boring Company

On December 17, 2016, while stuck in traffic, Musk tweeted “[I] am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging …” He then founded ‘The Boring Company’ (TBC).

Hyperloop

The Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation, first used to describe an open-source vactrain design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX, although the vactrain concept was first proposed by Robert H. Goddard in 1904.

OpenAI

In December 2015, Musk announced the creation of OpenAI, a not-for-profit AI research company. OpenAI aims to develop artificial general intelligence in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity

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