Elon Musk biographyElon (the erroneous version Ilon is also used) Reeve Musk is a Canadian and American entrepreneur, innovator, engineer and inventor, and business tycoon who invests in huge innovative projects.
Being the founder and head of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, co-founder of SolarCity and PayPal, this technology messiah, as he is often called in media, personally participated in the development of new technologies in alternative power engineering, designing of eco-friendly electric vehicles and cost-effective solar power plants.
He was engaged in the creation of the artificial intelligence of the superhuman level OpenAI, the conceptual high-speed (twice as fast as the aircraft) transportation system Hyperloop, the designing of spacecrafts having mission to put into practice his main goal, the creation of a human colony on Mars.
The recognized genius of our time is characterized by such personal qualities as perseverance, well-developed critical thinking, accurate analysis of events and his own actions, high diligence and capacity for work. It is known for a fact that Musk devotes to work up to one hundred hours a week.
The Forbes placed Musk on the 21st place in the list of the most influential people in the world. In addition, he turned out to be one of the youngest people in this rating, in this parameter standing only behind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Uber service inventor Travis Kalanick.
According to January 2018 data, Elon Musk’s fortune was estimated at $ 20.9 billion, which makes him the 53rd in the ranking of the richest people in the world.
Childhood and familyElon Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, one of the three capitals of South Africa. He was the eldest of three children in the family of English engineer Errol Musk, born in South Africa and model and nutritionist of Canadian and British descent Maye Musk.
Elon has a younger brother Kimbal, born in 1972, and a sister Tosca born in 1974. Though Kimbal is not as successful as his elder brother, he still made a million dollars fortune in the restaurant business, and Tosca became a film producer.
In 1980, after the parents divorced, Elon and his brother and sister stayed with their father in a suburb of Pretoria. He very seldom saw his mother. Errol had several houses, a farm with purebred stallions and a yacht.
The family traveled a lot: the trip could start in Europe, then they flew to Hong Kong, visiting the United States on the way. Since Elon’s father had a pilot’s license, sometimes he leased a plane when he flew somewhere for work, and took children with him. Thus, in his childhood, Elon visited the emerald mine, since the head of the family helped to equip the face. Already in adulthood, Elon also received a pilot’s license, but he simply does not have time for this hobby.
Elon learned to read early and spent most of his free time reading books. At the age of 3, he bowled his father over with a question: “Where does the world begin and where does the world end?” He was an introvert boy, avoided peers and did not get along well with people. In the private school for boys, which he attended, he often had to stand malicious insults of his classmates. Once he was beaten unconscious and hospitalized.
At the age of 9, Elon received as a gift his first computer, Commodore VIC-20. He independently studied programming languages popular in those years and became carried away by creating programs. At the age of 12, he himself wrote on the BASIC the code for the video shooter game called Blastar, which he sold for $ 500 to PC & Office Technologies, which published the code in one of the issues.
EducationIn 1988, Musk graduated from high school, and enrolled at the University of Pretoria, but because of political instability in South Africa, just before his 18th birthday, he moved to Canada. Since his mother is of Canadian descent, Elon obtained the citizenship of this country too. Here, the strangest period of his life began: Elon was enrolled in the undergraduate program at Queen’s University, Kingston (Ontario), and at the same time changed many works in different parts of Canada, and he had something to tell about each of them.
First, he picked fruit and carried baskets of grain at his relatives’ farm in Waldeck. Then he got a job as a lumberjack in Vancouver. For cutting logs with a chainsaw, he was paid mere pennies. After quitting the job, he went to the labor exchange and asked to find a better job with a better salary, and he got a job ... as a boiler house cleaner at sawmill. For $ 18 per hour (in fact, it was good money for 1989), he crawled on the floor in a suit of heat-resistant but toxic material, raking out thrash at extremely high temperatures.
At this time, his younger brother moved to Canada too. Together, Elon and Kimbal decided to acquire useful acquaintances. By hook or by crook, they found the phones of successful businessmen and phoned them, inviting them to have dinner. One of those who agreed was Peter Nicholson, the head of the Bank of Nova Scotia. Impressed with the persistence of young people, he personally met them and decided to take Elon, as the more talented of the Musk brothers, under his wing. Elon worked in his bank for the whole summer, receiving, however, less than in the boiler room ‒ $ 14 per hour.
In 1992, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, located in the U.S. state of Philadelphia. He studied simultaneously at the Department of Arts and Science and at the Wharton Business School at the University. After studying at the university for a year longer than regular students, in May 1997, he received two bachelor’s degrees at once: in physics and economics.
While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk made friends with Adeo Ressi, the future founder of TheFunded. The friends rented a house with ten-bedrooms and turned it into an underground nightclub, which was very popular among students. While everyone was drunk, Musk remained sober to keep the order. But in one night, he could earn so much money that he was able to cover the monthly rent of this giant mansion. The rest of the money he spent on college tuition fees.
“The combination of abilities in the exact sciences and understanding of how the economy works is a rarity, especially when it is in conjunction with the deepest intelligence and purposefulness,” ‒ Dominic Thompson, Musk’s fellow student recalled.
In 1995, 24-year-old Elon moved to California, where he became a post-graduate student at the legendary Stanford University to get a Ph.D. in physics. But after only 2 days, he changed his mind and decided to continue to work on his developments. He had many ambitious ideas related to the spheres of IT, renewable energy and the conquest of space.
First business projectsIn 1995, in partnership with his brother Kimbal and business coach Greg Kouri, Elon founded his first company, the Zip2 Yellow Pages website, which specialized in developing maps and catalogs for online publications. The startup capital of $ 28,000 was offered to him by his father, but Elon refused to take it. Musk worked from early morning to late evening and lived in a rented office to save on renting a home and invest all the money in the company.
His stubbornness and perseverance were repaid a hundredfold. There was Internet boom period then, and in 1999, the brothers sold their startup for $ 307 million in cash (and $ 34 million in securities) to the AltaVista search engine, which was subsequently acquired by Compaq. By that time, Elon owned only 7% of the company and earned $ 22 million from the sale.
Musk invested 12 million of this amount in X.com online bank, believing that electronic payment systems have a future. In 2001, X merged with Confinity, its rival company. The new company was named PayPal. As the majority shareholder (and availing oneself of the conflict on the Board of Directors after the merger), Elon Musk took the place of PayPal’s chief executive officer.
In 2002, in spite of Musk’s advice, the Board of Directors approved the sale of PayPal to eBay trading giant for $ 1.5 billion. Excluding taxes, Musk received $ 180 million. By that time he had enough money to take up his plans for solar energy and space.
SpaceX creationBack in 2001, Musk developed a project to create an experimental greenhouse on Mars that would initiate an exclusive and independent ecosystem on the regolith, which would help in the colonization of the Red Planet in the future. He hoped to return to the public the interest in the space industry.
In October 2001, with the assistance of Adeo Ressi and space equipment engineer Jim Cantrell, Musk decided to acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles, which he needed for experiments with cargo delivery into space. However, the purchase failed, since Elon was refused to sell rockets, finding him insufficiently experienced in this field. The second attempt also failed: six months later, Musk again tried to buy rockets, and he was allowed to buy one for $ 8 million.
The price seemed unreasonable to Elon. He refused, and during the flight home an idea entered the inventor’s head: he could found a company that would provide him with the same missiles, or even better. According to estimates, it turned out that the production cost of one rocket would amount to 3% of the price requested in Kosmotrans. In addition, he intended to reduce the cost of each launch by 70% using reusable carrier rockets.
SpaceX and Falcon-1 rocket
In May 2002, there was the opening of Space Exploration Technologies or, in short, SpaceX. Musk invested $ 100 million in the company. Then he drew a number of large investments from the U.S. Department of Defense Agency DARPA, SpaceDev, Celestis, ATSB and other companies. The first two rockets were the light-lift Falcon-1 and the medium-heavy Falcon-9 rockets. The name came from the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo’s aircraft from Star Wars. And the first aircraft developed at Musk’s company was called Dragon.
In 2006, NASA signed a $ 1.6 billion contract with SpaceX to ship 12 batches of cargo to the ISS. In September 2008, for the first time in history, the rocket the development and creation of which was funded from private sources, successfully delivered the cargo to the orbit of the Earth. It was Falcon-1. Elon staked everything: if the launch had failed, the company would most likely have ceased to exist. On June 4, 2010 there was the successful launch of Falcon-9.
On May 25, 2012, the Dragon, launched into space by the carrier rocket Falcon-9, docked with the ISS for the first time. In the same year, Musk’s company received its first commercial order: the launch of the Intelsat satellite with the help of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was still under development at that time.
On December 22, 2015, the Falcon-9 made a vertical landing for the first time on a landing site at Cape Canaveral. Before that, the rocket had fallen into the Atlantic Ocean twice, but the third attempt was successful and opened a new milestone in the history of space exploration and the second use of the carrier meant tremendous savings.
In February 2018, SpaceX made another breakthrough: the Falcon Heavy rocket that was designed to transport multi-ton cargo (in the case of delivering cargo to the Earth’s orbit, the carrier could withstand more than 60 tons), brought out into space a Tesla Roadster car with a camera mounted on it, which recorded everything happening outside the cabin.
The first successful landing of Falcon 9 (behind the scenes)
The launch was successful, but during the landing, the central core booster of the three boosters could not slow down and crashed into the ocean. Two side boosters landed exactly at the appointed place.
The importance of launching Falcon Heavy for humanity
Other projects by Elon MuskIn July 2003, Musk invested in Tesla Motors, just founded by inventors Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning and positioned as a pioneer among manufacturers of mass-produced electric cars.
Musk personally took part in the development of the electric sports car Tesla Roadster based on the English one called Lotus Elise. At the initiative of the inventor, the weight of the model was significantly minimized, the battery compartment was improved, new design elements were introduced into the design of the headlights. For this work, Elon received the 2006 Global Green Environmental Leadership Award and found investors who invested $ 100 million in Tesla.
Despite the difficulties in business development and the misreckoning that forced Elon to dismiss some of the employees, the company avoided bankruptcy thanks to the investment of $50 million made by the German Daimler automotive corporation, as well as provision Tesla with a soft loan initiated by the US Department of Energy.
The success of Tesla spurred on the “electric segment” of the automotive market: every self-respecting automobile company began developing its own electric car, or at least a hybrid one. In 2010, Tesla became the first American automobile company to launch an IPO in more than 50 years (before that it had been done by Ford in 1956).
Tesla Semi and Roadster 2.0 presentation
The financial success of the company was contributed by the release of the premium model S sedan. The billionaire provoked public interest in the development by taking part in debates with the New York Times reporter. He said that in 20 years, more than 50% of cars coming off the conveyor would be equipped with an electric motor. As a result, only in the first half of 2013, 10.5 thousand Tesla model S cars were sold.
The successful entrepreneur is also developing electric vehicle charging stations, the work on which is carried out under the aegis of the SolarCity project, the founders of which were his cousins.
When Henry Ford created cheap and reliable cars, people said, “No, thanks. Why are horses bad?” Ford risked everything and it worked.
The company specializes in installing solar power plants for both manufacturing and home use. This includes platforms for charging Tesla cars, and home stations for converting solar energy. By the beginning of 2018, the capitalization of SolarCity was estimated at $ 3 billion.
In August 2013, Musk presented the plan of creation of Hyperloop grandiose transportation system. The project represented a completely new type of transport, which would be 2 times faster than the aircraft, would be powered by the Sun’s energy and would not have a specific schedule, but set off at short intervals, like underground trains.
Elon Musk’s conference
Hyperloop was a closed overhead line of two tubes parallel to each other, with giant solar panels along the route. It was promised that the route will connect San Francisco and Los Angeles: the distance between the cities is 560 km. Musk promised that his invention would cover this route within 35 minutes, and estimated the cost of the project at $ 6 billion.
However, Musk was not going to be engaged in the implementation of Hyperloop himself (although later SpaceX and Tesla with joint efforts created a capsule that showed a speed of 355 km/h). As a result, the further development was taken up by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies that worked with the help of volunteer engineers and crowdfunding, as well as Virgin Hyperloop One. In December 2017, the latter tested the model of the vacuum capsule, which accelerated up to 387 km/h.
Hyperloop work principle
The millionaire-inventor has repeatedly called society to control research in the field of artificial intelligence and neural networks. He believes that AI is a threat to humanity, because sooner or later machines will gain too much power over people.
However, in 2016, Elon founded the neural technology company Neuralink. It was planned that its staff would be engaged in the treatment of brain diseases (in the short run) using neural interfaces and “improving people” by creating a connection between the brain and the computer. Musk promised to create the so-called “neural lace”: micro-implants that improve cognitive abilities by 2027.
The role of a pet for machines ‒ this is the future of humanity.
Elon Musk in the cinemaLike many famous billionaires (remember at least Donald Trump’s appearance in the movie Home Alone), Elon Musk sometimes appears in popular TV projects, even in those where they make fun of him.
For example, the founder of SpaceX appeared in the animated series The Simpsons (the episode The Musk Who Fell To Earth) and South Park (the episode Handicar), as well as in the trash action movie Machete Kills with Danny Trejo.
He also made a cameo appearance in Iron Man 2 with Robert Downey Jr. (Actually, Elon is often called the prototype of the protagonist of the film, the inventor Tony Stark). In the role of himself, he appeared both in the TV series The Big Bang Theory and its prehistory Young Sheldon. The story of creating a reusable Falcon carrier is amusedly played out in one of the episodes of the latter one.
The businessman who tried to open the era of affordable space tourism owned a Czech-made Aero L-39 training jet aircraft. Then he acquired the Dassault Falcon 900 model, which was used during the shooting of the film Thank You For Smoking in 2005. The millionaire was not only the producer of this film, but also played a cameo part of a pilot in it, opening the door to the captain performed by the famous Robert Duvall. Musk also owned the Wet Nellie submarine car (created on the basis of Lotus Esprit from the movie The Spy Who Loved Me about James Bond, a British agent 007).
Elon Musk in The Big Bang Theory
Elon’s sister, by the way, is engaged in cinema. She owns Musk Entertainment film production company.
Elon Musk personal lifeThe billionaire and philanthropist, who donated $ 10 million to find ways of control over artificial intelligence was married twice.
He met his first wife Justin Wilson while studying at a Canadian university. She is a year older than Musk and maybe this is the reason he did not make the proper impression on her when they met, but was able to earn it afterwards. After graduation from university, their roads parted for a while, but the couple got married in 2000.
In 2002, a boy named Nevada Alexander Musk was born in the family, who died of sudden infant death syndrome at 10 weeks. After that, Elon temporarily “retired into himself”. In 2004, the couple tried to give birth to children using the IVF method. As a result, the twins Griffin and Xavier were born. In 2006, Justine became a mother again and again through the IVF procedure. This time, the triplet sons Damian, Saxon and Kai were born in the Elon family.
Over time, relationships in the family began to deteriorate. The businessman spent a lot of time at work and little with his family. In 2008, Justine filed for divorce. Former spouses maintain relationships and raise children together.
The businessman married for the second time in September 2010. His chosen one was the English actress Talulah Riley, whom he began to date shortly after the divorce. It is to this girl that the media attribute the role of a “treacherous beauty” who has taken away the businessman from the family. But their love story was not smooth.
The billionaire has repeatedly complained about the lack of time for women: “I can allocate 5-10 hours per week for a woman ... 10 hours of attention ‒ Is this normal? Will that be enough for a woman? ”
One and a half years after the wedding, Musk filed for divorce from Talulah. In the summer of 2013, they got married again, giving a second chance to the relationship. In December 2014, Elon divorced his wife again, and six months later, he abrogated his decision. At last, in March 2016, the couple still decided to finally break up “by mutual consent”.
For about a year Elon dated the actress Amber Heard, who had just gone through a difficult divorce proceedings with Johnny Depp. In August 2017, they broke up.
“Amber constantly lied to Elon. She said that she spent the night at home, but she actually had fun at the club. When she left for Australia for shootings, she behaved as if she had no boyfriend. But during shopping, she did not hesitate to use Elon’s credit card”, a source close to the billionaire claimed to the Metro edition.
In May 2018, Musk appeared in public with a new chosen one, the 30-year-old singer Grimes (real name Claire Boucher). Together they attended the annual The Met Gala ball in New York. The couple met on the Internet: Musk wanted to tweet the phrase Rococo Basilisk, combining the name of the mental experiment about virtual reality “Rococo Basilisk” and the Rococo style of architecture, but it turned out that Grimes had already used it in one of her videos. They began to communicate, then users noticed Musk’s strange comments on Grimes’s Twitter (about the fact that comets are actually made from cocaine).
Elon Musk: the most loved inventor in the world
Elon Mask’s work week is built approximately like this. On Monday, he wakes up in his mansion in Bel Air (the fashionable Los Angeles neighborhood) and travels to SpaceX’s central office in Hawthorne. He spends night at his workplace, and on Tuesday, on a private jet, he flies to Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, where Tesla’s head office is located. On Thursday, Musk returns to Los Angeles and inspects SpaceX. At the same time, he spends time with his sons at least 4 times a week.
The entrepreneur became the founder of a charity foundation in his name. He donates part of his fortune to eliminate the consequences of disasters (the hurricane in Alabama, the tsunami in the Japanese city of Soma).
Elon Musk nowElon Musk’s main goal remains the creation of a human colony on Mars. In an interview of 2011, he stated that the first settlers would travel to the Red Planet within the next two decades. Musk predicts that 80,000 people will live on Mars by 2040.
Work on BFR, Big Falcon Rocket, a launch vehicle and a spacecraft with a payload capacity of 150 tons, continues. It is assumed that the BFR will replace previous generations of Falcon and will become the main tool for transporting cargo and people to Mars.
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