Elon Musk. Tech visionary? Or exhausted billionaire? Does anyone know? Better yet, does anyone care? All that matters is this guy built some pretty awesome electric cars, and he’s going to colonize Mars. What else matters?
Here are 10 things you don’t know about, and might not care to know about Elon Musk.
- Elon was born in Pretoria, South Africa and holds South African, Canadian, and U.S. citizenship. His mother, Maye Musk is a model and dietitian from Regina, Canada, and his father is Errol Musk, an electromechanical engineer from South Africa which means Elon had a lot to live up to. But don’t worry, if anyone has ever surpassed their parent’s expectations, it was Elon Musk. Musk also has a younger brother, Kimbal, and a younger sister, Tosca.
- Elon joined a Ph.D. program at Stanford in energy physics but left to become a part of the internet boom. He couldn’t resist the pull of technology and money, dropping out of Stanford after only two days. Elon clearly had an unconventional start to adulthood, but he has never cared about what others think he should do. If he did, he probably wouldn’t be the tech giant we all know and love today. Elon created his first company, Zip2 Corporation shortly after leaving Stanford.
- In 2012, Elon maxed out his political contributions (over $100,000) to support President Obama’s reelection campaign. During the same year, Elon also gave $5,000 to Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a key state in the space industry. All told, Elon managed to contribute about $250,000 in the 2012 elections, supporting a wide variety of candidates that could help his business aspirations. He really needed to hit a wide base of supporters, and there’s no better way to get support than by paying for it.
- At 12 years old, Elon showed off his technology prowess, teaching himself to code and building the video game, Blaster. He later sold the game’s BASIC code to a magazine, PC and Office Technology, for $500. You can still play the game online, but it’s understandably not as advanced compared to the games of today and virtual reality. Still, though, if you’re feeling nostalgic, it’s probably worth a gander.
- When he was 17, Elon avoided mandatory military service in South Africa by moving to Canada. He attended Queen’s University before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned bachelor’s degrees in both economics and physics. At Queen’s University, Elon met his future wife, Justine Wilson, an aspiring writer. They divorced in 2008.
- Elon has five living children, all boys, with his first wife, Justine Wilson. He has one set of twins and one set of triplets (yikes!). A sixth child, their first, died at only 10-weeks old from sudden infant death syndrome.
- In 2010, Elon had a cameo in “Iron Man 2,” appearing as a spectator at the Monaco Grand Prix. But his involvement with the franchise goes further. Robert Downey, who plays Iron Man in the film, met with Elon to get a better idea of what it’s like to be Tony Stark. Scenes of the movie were also filmed at SpaceX for free.
- In 2018, Elon was ranked number 25 on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People. He was chosen because of his power in the automotive industry, in the aerospace industry, and his status as a highly-respected billionaire and tech visionary. Elon was topped on the list by Vladimir Putin, President of Russia (#2), Donald Trump, President of the U.S. (#3), Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (#8), and Doug McMillon, the CEO of Wal-Mart (#23). How Wal-Mart beat him, we may never know.
- Elon’s net worth is in the range of $21.2 billion. His first earned billion was through the sale of PayPal in 2002. SpaceX is valued at over $20 billion. This puts Elon as #40 on Forbes’ 2019 list of Billionaires, and #12 on Forbes’ list of Richest in Tech 2017.
- SpaceX, arguably Elon’s most famous company, was founded in 2002 with the goal of commercial space travel. In 2008, NASA gave SpaceX a contract to move supplies to the International Space Station with plans for a manned transport mission in the future. SpaceX launched Falcon 9 in 2012, delivering 1,000 pounds of supplies for the astronauts. It was the first time a private company sent a spacecraft to the station. SpaceX plans to launch the very first cargo mission to Mars in 2022 to begin the process of colonizing the planet, which is a massive advancement for humans. Does anyone really want to be the first to colonize another planet? Don’t the most things that will go wrong, go wrong on the first try?
- Elon has founded and co-founded ten companies, including his more famous ventures, PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla. He was also integral in Zip2, The Musk Foundation, SolarCity, OpenAI, Neuralink, The Boring Company, and Thud. And all before the age of 50! He honestly must be exhausted.