Elon Musk is one of the greatest entrepreneurs alive, with a fortune of over $13.4 billion. But where did it all begin? Elon Musk is a South African, born in Pretoria in 1971. The eldest of three, Musk was born into a working class family and was followed by a younger brother, Kimball, then a sister, Tosca. Despite his humble beginnings, he went on to study at Pennsylvania University, making his first entrepreneurial venture by selling computer parts from his dormitory.
His family generously gave him a small start-up loan, but the unlikely billionaire made good use of it. He set his sights on nothing less than transforming the world for the betterment of humanity. Setting up an office in Palo Alto, Musk and his brother began to grow their enterprise. These were small beginnings for a man that would go on to found Tesla Cars, Solar City and, most recently, Space X. He has also played a crucial role as cofounder of X.com, the company now known as Paypal.
Countless obstacles stood in Musk’s way. He fought through hard times to prevent his companies from going bankrupt, coming across his biggest challenge after the 2007/2008 recession. Musk’s business partner dropped out of Tesla in 2008, leaving him the leadership at a difficult stage. Keeping Tesla Cars and Space X afloat proved particularly challenging.
Fortunately, Daimler - the German automaker which was also in financial turmoil - invested millions in Tesla in 2010. Eventually, in 2013, Tesla ballooned into a high-profit company. Musk faced immense pressure when having to make the decision on which company to fund, but was willing to endanger bankrupting both in order for the companies to survive. Now both Space X and Tesla are thriving, thanks in no part to a great deal of luck.
Now the Musk brand is booming. A prominent figure in the public eye, Musk was recently made an economic advisor to Donald Trump, suggesting that he has had a large say in how the United States’ economy is run (until he more recently resigned after Trump’s denouncement of the Paris climate change agreement). Many say that Musk has been the communicator between the tech billionaires of Silicon Valley and the White House. He transferred the message from some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the US and gave the President an insight into how technology is progressing in current times.
Musk has achieved a great deal in his lifetime. At the age of just 45, he has transformed the economy as well as the ecology of America. By founding X.com he made the transferring of money 100% safe for anyone who would use it. He has set the tracks for the future by providing reliable and 100% electric cars, with three models of Tesla cars on sale. He has also paved the way for the inevitable mission of space exploration, with his rockets working alongside the International Space station and various satellites for Nasa.
A futurist who is always working towards how he can take that extra step for humanity, Musk has stated that, within his lifetime, Space X will help to create a colony on Mars - with 1 million people. On top of this, he feels, with the reliance of Solar energy and electric cars on the increase, Solar City and Space X can continue to thrive. In 2013, Musk unveiled the concept of the Hyperloop - a high-speed transportation system involving tubes in which pressurised capsules ride on an air cushion, making long distance travel not only cheaper, but monumentally faster.
Elon Musk has succeeded in the past and has planned for the future. Perhaps we can all learn from this true visionary.
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