Elon Musk has been named as the richest man in the world as of 2021 with a soaring net worth of $188 billion – and that’s not it! He is also the founder, chief designer, CTO, and CEO of the American space transportation and aerospace manufacturing company SpaceX.
Furthermore, Musk is also the product architect and CEO of another American company, Tesla, which manufactures electric vehicles and produces solar and clean energy; founder of The Boring Company that specializes in tunnel construction services; co-founder and initial co-chairperson of an artificial intelligence research laboratory, OpenAI; and a co-founder of a neurotechnology company, Neuralink, that develops implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMIs).
Musk seems to appear everywhere where there is technology and advancement, but he didn’t inherit this billion-dollar worth of fortune from his ancestors or family; he earned it. From being bullied as a schoolboy to becoming the CEO of two tech-giant companies that combine make an exorbitant net worth of more than $700 billion, this voyage wasn’t the road full of dough and success; there were failures, fears, and darkness before there was any light of success.
Musk was born in South Africa in 1971 to a South African father and a Canadian-South African mother. He was only 9 years old when his parents broke their marriage in 1979, and he and his younger brother, Kimbal, decided to continue living with their father, Errol Musk until Musk started to regret his decision and the father-son relationship came to bring havoc to their lives.
Musk recalls that troubled relationship with his father in one of his interviews with the Rolling Stone as: “It was not a good idea”.
From an early age, Musk had a reclining interest in technology. Just at the age of 12, in 1983, he proved his entrepreneurial skills by selling a simple game, Blaster, to a computer magazine that raised him his first $500. He called it “a trivial game, but better than Flappy Bird”. Musk is also known as The Raddest Man on Earth.
The high school days weren’t easy for the future billionaire; he faced much criticism and severe bullying. He was once hospitalized because of being beaten by the bullies. They beat him so much and threw him off the stairs which led to a concussion. Soon after his graduation, he left to live with his sister and mother in Canada.
Musk got admission to the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania where he studied Economics and Physics. It was during his days at the university that he embarked on his first entrepreneurial experiment when he and his classmate, Adeo Ressi, rented out the college’s Kappa Delta Rho fraternity house consisting of 10 bedrooms and converted it into a nightclub to earn money.
After graduating, he got another opportunity at one of the world’s leading universities, Stanford University, to pursue his Ph.D., but he didn’t start the program. Within just two days, he decided to try his luck and made a life-changing decision to leave Stanford at least for a while – which turned into forever because he never made it there again. He went on to focus full-time on his new startup “dot-com boom” after leaving his education hanging in the air.
He then launched Zip2, a web software startup to provide travel guide to the news publishing companies, with his brother Kimbal, where they managed to get funds from high-net-worth investors and companies in the Silicon Valley. Soon, the startup turned into success when Compaq acquired Zip2 by making a 341 million dollar deal with the Musk brothers. That’s when Elon Musk became a millionaire – not yet a billionaire – by raising his worth to $22 million with this deal.
Musk then used $10 million of his money to make an online banking company X.com in 1999, which was merged with Confinity a year later to form what we now know as one of the biggest online payments system operating companies in the world, PayPal.
Musk is referred to as the modern-day Tony Stark. He made some of the biggest investments, ranging from PayPal, DeepMind Technologies, to a rocket-making company, SpaceX, where he spent 100 million dollars from his own account in 2002. In 2008, Musk upgraded another level of his leadership by jumping from being one of his board members to becoming the CEO of Tesla Motors. He served as the CEO of two companies at the same time.
Musk has always had a passion for technological advancement. In fact, he claimed that he found things easier which were difficult for others to accomplish. In one of his interviews with Rolling Stone, the architect of tomorrow says:
“I’m naturally good at engineering that’s because I inherited it from my father,” he says. “What’s very difficult for others is easy for me. For a while, I thought things were so obvious that everyone must know this.”
That was the success story of the richest person and one of the influential billionaire leaders in the world who is an inspiration to almost all of his aspirers. The New York Times regarded him as “arguably the most successful and important entrepreneur in the world”. A money-making genius and founder of the four billion-dollar tech startups that include SolarCity, SpaceX, PayPal, and Tesla; and co-founder of numerous companies that are now part of giant high-worth companies. Musk took his failures to step the stairs of success, because according to him:
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”