NAME: Elon Musk
OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur, Engineer,Explorer, Inventor
BIRTH DATE: June 28, 1971 (Age: 42)
EDUCATION: Queens College, University of Pennsylania, Stanford University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Pretoria, South Africa
Elon Musk is best known for being the co-founder of PayPal, a money-transfer service for Web consumers, for founding Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX, the first private company to launch a rocket into space, and for founding Tesla Motors, which builds electric cars.”
Musk is a native of South Africa, born in 1971 to parents who later divorced. His father was an engineer and his mother—originally from Canada—was a nutritionist. Musk was fascinated by science fiction and computers in his adolescent years.
Elon Musk was 12 years old when he first learned how to use technology for financial gain. Two years after getting his first computer, he created Blaster, a video game set in space, and soon licensed it to be sold commercially. Though close to his engineer dad and dietician mom, Elon Musk was not a supporter of the racial division that still dominated his native South Africa, and at 17 he defected to Canada to avoid being drafted into the South African military.
Elon Musk studied at Queen’s University where his academic prowess landed him a paid scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. At the latter, he completed degrees in physics and economics, and gained entrance to Stanford where he had plans to study materials science and physics at the graduate level. The year was 1995 and the recent birth of the internet prompted Elon Musk to leave Stanford after two days to create Zip2, a software program that would facilitate news publishing across media circles. Both the New York Times and Chicago Tribune became Zip2 clients and four years later, AltaVista paid more than $300 million for control of the software.
X.com was the next web-based project for Elon Musk. Used to develop a system for online payments, X.com acquired the rights to an upstart technology called PayPal. Elon Musk oversaw the continued progress of PayPal and in 2000, he dropped the X.com name in favor of PayPal, only to watch business boom through its use on eBay. In the fall of 2002, Elon Musk sold the principal shares of PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion, making himself a very wealthy man and making others a little bit poorer for their continual shopping on eBay.
Also in 2002, Elon Musk developed his next venture, this time in the exciting area of space. He created Space Exploration Technologies, a specialized team of scientists hired to make space travel more economical and in some cases, reusable. Under the guidance of Elon Musk, SpaceX created a pair of rockets, the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, and also developed “Mars Oasis,” a plan meant to grow plant life on Mars. Created by Elon Musk and the members of the Mars Society, which includes James Cameron, “Oasis” was an ambitious but financially flawed plan that has yet to see the light of day. Nevertheless, NASA liked what they saw from Elon Musk and they granted SpaceX an lucrative contract worth in excess of $1.6 billion in the winter of 2008.
Electric cars were next on the list of tech-themed projects for Elon Musk. Tesla Motors became his own car manufacturing company and its Silicon Valley headquarters gained widespread attention when it was revealed that it could develop a fully electric vehicle on a mass scale. Able to drive over 200 miles on a single charge, the sporty Tesla Roadster hit the market in 2009 and prompted additional plans for an electric sedan to be produced in 2011.
As he continues to reshape our spending and driving habits here on Earth, Elon Musk also sees outer space as a playing field he wants to further explore. If he has his way, regular trips into orbit and human colonies on Mars are within our grasp, and it remains to be seen if he will make them a reality. In the meantime, each one of his business ventures continues to live in the black, and he’s even finding time for some show business along the way. In 2010, he was featured on-screen in a cameo appearance in the high-profile superhero sequel Iron Man II, which also starred Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow.
According to Yahoo, Elon Musk is believed to be one of the perspective candidate to become a trillionaire in the future if one of his world-changing ideas takes off in a major way even if his net worth is only about $6 billion as of 2013.
“[Physics is] a good framework for thinking. … Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.”
“Really pay attention to negative feedback and solicit it, particularly from friends. … Hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.”
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
Elon Musk’s video on Bloomberg Game Changers