The present CEO of Tesla Motors, the co-founder of PayPal and SpaceX, Elon Musk sure has a lot innovations in his bag. For the innovative entrepreneur, another day at the office means investing in business ventures like Neuralink, OpenAI, SolarCity, etc. But, the path has not always been smooth. The talented, curious young man had to make some tough some to reach the peak.
Childhood and Early Achievements
Born in South Africa, Elon Musk was tutored mostly by his father, an engineer. He became interested in computers in his childhood when he received his first personal computer, Commodore VIC-20. He had earned $500 at the age of 12 after selling Blaster, a computer game created by him. At the age of 17, Musk made the tough decision of leaving his home and paving his own path in the world. He emigrated for Canada and studied at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. Later he studied in the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and Stanford University in California.
After dropping out from Stanford University, Elon Musk had started his own company, Zip2. The company progressed rapidly and had developed online city guides. It had earned Zip2 contracts from newspaper publishers like The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. In 1999, he had sold it to Compaq for over $300 million and used the capital to launch X.com in the same year. X.com an online banking site then went on to purchase the online financial services company Confinity. PayPal, its money-transfer service also came under the wing of X.com. Realising its potential early on, X.com had adopted the name PayPal in 2001. The success of Elon Musk and the company showed when the number of users rose above 1 million within a few months. In 2002 two things happened– eBay purchased X.com for $1.5 billion in stock, and Elon Musk gained citizenship of America. $165 million was earned by Musk from the deal.
Elon Musk was strongly denied the CEO position at Zip2 and PayPal even though he was highly qualified. However, this did not stop the optimist and he went on to about a project called “Mars Oasis” that he hoped would again capture the attention of the public in space exploration.
Elon Musk’s Exploration in Earth and Beyond
After investing in an online banking site, Elon Musk shifted his attention to the space. He next launched a private, for-profit space program, SpaceX. SpaceX had its own failures in the beginning but in 2009 and 2012, the company was acclaimed for launching commercial spacecraft Falcon 1 and SpaceX Dragon. SpaceX Dragon was in fact, the first commercial vehicle to dock with the International Space Station. SpaceX made contracts with NASA in 2006 to create the Falcon 9 launch vehicle that was followed up by another contract after two years. Elon Musk saw the projects as, “There’s a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that is a space-faring civilization, that’s out there exploring the stars… compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event.”
Elon Musk’s Road Drive to Tesla
Elon Musk made entry in the Tesla Motors Inc. arena as a major investor by investing $7.5 million. By the time Musk joined Tesla, he had already made his mark in the world and his popularity also benefited the company. Musk played an active role in the designing of the Tesla Roadster and had insisted that for a carbon fibre body. Tesla Roadster brought in huge profits to the company and Elon Musk became the CEO in 2008.
Elon Musk promoted the construction of electric cars and looked into the shortage of charging stations. He invested in creating charging stations of the electric cars along the East and West coasts and even granted access to other automobile manufacturing companies to their technology patents. To Musk, the projects have never been about money-making. His aim is to help in production and consumption in a sustainable manner.
The urge to solve human and environment concerned issues led Elon Musk to invest in and start projects like SolarCity and Hyperloop. While SolarCity aims to address the production of energy issues, Hyperloop is about a much faster transport system that will take a journey from Los Angeles to Francisco in just 35 minutes.
“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” This is what seeded his decision making process possible. Elon Musk was never shy of moving against the odds and taking big risks in business. If he failed then the attitude “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough” moved him onto newer journeys. The perspective of always trying to solve issues rather than how to earn more money is truly admirable and something every starter should follow in their career.