Elon Musk is a Canadian-American, who was born in South Africa. As a child, he often dreamed of space travel, thinking that since humans landed on the Moon there would be inevitable progress towards space exploration similar to the Star Trek series.
The Wikipedia factoids say that he learned computer programming on his own at the age of 12. He has a degree in economics from Wharton, plus a degree in physics. He was accepted at Stanford for their Ph.D. program in physics, however he quit after only two days in order to pursue his business interests as an entrepreneur.
He was the co-founder of a software company call Zip2 that Compaq acquired in 1999 for $340 million. The next company he founded was X.com to process payments online. In 2000, a merger with another payment processing company called Confinity produced the company PayPal. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion making Elon Musk a billionaire.
This is when the story of Elon Musk starts to get really interesting. With his new found wealth, he started making his childhood dreams come true including making a super fast electric racecar, rockets, and going to Mars.
Musk risked everything he had, nearly became bankrupt, and went through a horrible divorce because of the financial stress. He barely survived, but now his companies are thriving. He parlayed his single-digit billionaire status into now being worth over $20 billion. Here are the companies and projects he is currently working on.
In 2002, Musk used $100 million of his own money to start SpaceX in order to advance rocket technology. His innovative idea was to build reusable rockets that could launch and return to Earth. SpaceX developed the Falcon 1, that in 2008 was the first commercially-launched rocket to put a satellite into orbit. Because of the significant cost-savings of the SpaceX rocket design and its reusability, NASA awarded the company a $1.6 billion contract for Falcon rocket launches by SpaceX on behalf of NASA.
Tesla is an electric car company and advanced lithium-battery maker that started in 2003. Musk became an investor in 2004 and now serves as the company’s CEO. The Tesla Roadster electric sports car debuted in 2008. The electric Model S four-door sedan came out in 2012. The electric Model X SUV/Minivan came on in 2015. Some of the Tesla vehicles have an autopilot feature that allows them to be self-driving.
Solar City is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tesla. It is the second largest supplier for solar systems in America. The goal of Solar City is to reduce global warming with solar power systems and installations. The company developed roof tiles that are solar power collectors, which are as aesthetically pleasing as regular roof tiles.
The Hyperloop project was unveiled in 2013. This project will create a train system that runs through vacuum tubes on magnetic levitation so as to be nearly friction-free. This levitation would allow the train to travel at very high speeds, up to 760 mph. Hyperloop's goal is to create high-speed train connections between major cities, as well as the West and East coasts of the United States.
OpenAI is a not-for-profit open-source artificial intelligence (AI) software company with a stated goal to develop AI software that is shared for the benefit all of humanity to avoid its misuse.
Neuralink is a startup company that began in 2016 doing work in research about how to use physical implants in the brain to connect to computer systems. These enhancements for human beings may improve memory, give people extraordinary abilities, and make it easier for humans to interface with computers in a variety of ways.
The Boring Company
The Boring Company uses advanced tunneling equipment to make underground tubes for the Hyperloop trains. It has a pilot project underway that started in 2017 to test the concepts.
Elon Musk is controversial and outspoken. He is a dreamer, yet he has shown he is quite capable of making his dreams come true. He is also a practical joker. On the recent April Fool’s Day, he tweeted out a photo of himself passed out on a Tesla car, surrounded by empty Teslaquila bottles, with a cardboard sign saying “Bankwupt.” He was making a joke about Tesla causing his near bankruptcy from long ago.
At first, the Washington Post reported that Tesla investors were not amused. This joke came at a time when, because of a market correction, Tesla share prices were down. However, production reports of the Tesla vehicles were then released showing better than expected numbers and the stock price of Tesla shares shot up.
Teslarati.com reported that based on the popular responses and requests, Musk said the joke 'Teslaquila' will now become a real product. He promised to offer free shots of Teslaquila on every April Fool's day at Tesla dealerships in the future. We’ll drink to that!