From the young boy who was bullied by his peers and beaten so severely he was hospitalized for a week, to becoming the world’s richest man – throughout his life, Elon Musk has faced adversity and ridicule. He has resurrected the electric vehicle, aerospace and solar energy industries, and narrowly escaped bankruptcy twice in the process.
Is Musk insane, a genius, an idiot or a hero? Regardless of what you may think of him, Musk’s success, popularity and global impact on society have elevated him from nerd to rock-star status.
And with plans to someday colonize Mars,he’s nowhere near finished.
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ELON’S GLOBAL FOOTRPINT
Tesla and SpaceX’s global footprint consists of at least 19 factories with 70,000 employees over three continents. Here are their locations:
While Musk earned most of his wealth from Tesla in the early days of the electric vehicle maker, he was already very wealthy from co-founding financial services company PayPal and later selling his stake. With this in mind, paying $75,000 should not have been an issue with buying the rights to the name Tesla.
A TIMELINE OF ACHIEVEMENTS
1983: Musk was just 12 years old when he created the source code for a video game called Blastar where the player was given five available ships to destroy as many alien fighters as possible. After two years, he sold the code of Blastar to a computer magazine for $500.
1995: Greg Kouri and brothers Elon and Kimbal founded Global Link Information Network in Palo Alto which was an online business directory alternative to the standard yellow pages.
1996: Global Link received $300 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures, changed its name to Zip2 and provided licensed online city guide software to newspapers. Musk was soon ousted as CEO and replaced with a more experienced leader.
1999: Musk sold Zip2 to Compaq Computer Corp. for over $307 million. With profits from the Zip2 sale and the help of three other co-founders, Musk launched X.com. It was an online bank that facilitated the process of transferring funds digitally and eliminating the need for mail or traditional banking infrastructure.
2000: Musk and his X.com partners, including Confinity co-founder Peter Thiel, merged to form PayPal, a secure online payments platform with a foundation in payments conducted for Palm Pilots. Soon after, while on vacation in Australia, Musk was removed from his role as CEO and replaced by the board with Thiel.
2001: With his sights set on his dream of advancing space exploration, Musk traveled to Russia with his colleagues to negotiate a purchase of refurbished ICBMs to carry payloads to space. The price for three rockets was $18 million. Musk offered $6 million for two. The insulted Russians spit in his face.
2002: PayPal was sold to eBay in a $1.5 billion stock deal of which Elon received $165 million.
That same year, Musk Foundation was founded as a nonprofit organization to support renewable energy, pediatric research and education, and the development of artificial intelligence to benefit humanity.
2002: With the profits Musk received from PayPal he founded SpaceX, which would revolutionize the space industry and become the world’s largest private producer of reusable rockets.
Musk hired rocket engineer Tom Mueller, who would build rocket engines for 3% of what Musk would pay to get them from the same Russians that spit in his face.
2003: Tesla Motors was founded by Musk and two other men. The electric car company was named after the inventor Nikola Tesla. However, because the name Tesla Motors was already owned, Musk had to pay a man in Sacramento $75,000 for the name.
2004: The first Signature One Hundred set of fully equipped roadster electric vehicles was released. Price: $109,000.
2006: SolarCity was founded by Musk’s cousins and he was the primary financial backer. It became the leading residential solar installer in the U.S. by the mid-2010s.
Sept. 28, 2008: After three failed attempts, Space X launched Falcon 1, the first orbit of a private venture liquid-fueled rocket. Despite the milestone, the failed launches and countless delays in the production of Tesla’s roadster had Tesla and SpaceX on the verge of bankruptcy.
Dec. 23, 2008: NASA backed SpaceX to become the supplier for the International Space Station. The company received $1.6 billion as payment for 12 flights and Musk avoided bankruptcy by only a few hours.
2012: Model S debuted.Price: $57,400.
2013: Musk published a white paper which proposed the concept of hyperloop – reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings and residual air pressure inside the tube to provide lift by airfoils and propulsion by fans.
2015: Model X debuted. Price: $80,000.
December: Musk co-founded OpenAI as a nonprofit with a for-profit artificial intelligence research lab component. It was started with a $1 billion collective pledge from its founders.
2016: Musk, via Tesla, acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion in stock and incorporated it into its operations as Tesla Energy.
December: Musk founded The Boring Co. as a subsidiary of SpaceX with the objective of building tunnels that would be used to revolutionize and speed up underground transportation.
2017: Falcon 9 became the first successful relaunch and landing from space of a used orbital rocket.
Tesla Model 3 debuted.Priced at $35,000, it is the most popular electric car in production today, with over1 million units sold globally.
May 8, 2021: Musk hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first time.
November: Tesla’s stock price hit a record high of $414.50 a share, making Musk the world’s richest man, worth $340 billion.
2022: After buying enough stock to make him a majority shareholder by April 1, Musk made the move to purchase Twitter for $44 billion.
Source: Orange County Register