Some say he is the nutty professor, some say he is a dreamer and to some, he is the saviour inventor for the mankind… Two most distinguishing feats of Musk are his wit and his innovative nature. Can Elon Musk really establish the first off-world colony?
Elon Musk was born in 1971 in South Africa, to a South African father and a Canadian mother living under the Apartheid regime. He was bullied at school. He had difficulty communicating with others, he found peace in books. By the time he was nine, he had already read many books, he went on with encyclopedias. His other peace-maker would be computers. At 12 he coded the ‘Blastar’ space game. He sold this game for 500 USD; the first money he earned from software.
He would rather avoid military duty, so he left his country for Canada, his mother’s homeland, but the grand purpose was the USA, which he called “The land where everything is possible”. While he was studying economics in Pennsylvania University, he also completed a physics minor in the university’s School of Arts and Sciences. He moved to the Silicon Valley in 1995 for his PhD in the Applied Physics and Material Science, but just two days later, he gave up the PhD. He never abstains from leaving things unfinished, giving up or abandoning. The reason for this particular departure was the Zip2 software, a co-project with his brother Kimbal Musk for publishing online content for new organizations. Only four years later Compaq’s AltaVista bought Zip2 for $307 million cash plus company shares worth $34 million.
SUPER HEROES AND INNOVATORS
He has always been a cartoon and super-hero person…Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney were inspirations for him… The names inspired him to choose three areas where he can help with the biggest problems of mankind. Internet, clean energy and space! According to him, we should not be content solving our problems; we should be innovating too!
The first fruit of this innovative thinking was the global hit PayPal, which disrupted the traditional payment systems. In 1999 Elon Musk became a partner to X.com, the online finance and payment system which later took the famous name “PayPal”. In 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for shares worth $1.5 billion.
THIRD COMPANY; GAZING AT THE SPACE
Following this sale, Musk founded his third company SpaceX in 2002. The core purpose of SpaceX is to improve rocket technologies, and the company loves to stage shows for the whole world to see. Rockets, spaceships, astronaut transport… SpaceX is a source of awe with their NASA contracts worth billion dollars. The ultimate objective is to reduce the cost of manned space flights to tenths.
At the beginning of 2018, Tesla sent the Roadster to space. On the way, the Roadster was playing A Space Oddity by Dawid Bowie to its mannequin driver “Starman”. The mannequin was almost the avatar of our very own starman, Elon Musk.
Elon Musk’s ultimate goal is to establish a colony in space, because a nuclear disaster, AI or an asteroid could virtually end mankind as we know it. Creating an alternative space may well be the only solution for us.
BRINGING THE FUTURE TO US
Elon Musk entered the electric car industry with Tesla, which is a symbol of his ambition for clean energy. He managed to sell 2500 copies of the Roadster in 31 separate countries. The company also specializes on new models and trucks, beside furthering autonomous driving technologies.
Musk also acquired SolarCity for Tesla, a solar energy company for homes, work places and state installations, founded 2006.
A striking characteristic thinking of Musk is to contemplate far-future scenarios in the present, and giving what it takes to make them happen. He designed tunnels for speeds up to 600 km/h to resolve traffic. We owe this Richard Branson-partnered project to Musk getting stuck in a few hours of boring traffic.
An avid opposer to AI with a rocky past with Mark Zuckerberg because of it, Musk established the non-profit OpenAI. The company does human-friendly AI research for measures against a possible future AI threat.
Having divorced twice, Musk is not as consistent in his private life; he is the father of five children, working 100 hours in a week… Meanwhile he takes great care with his looks; he does not shy from cosmetic surgeries. He is a hybrid between garage children and old-fashion entrepreneurs, a madman, a best of both worlds.