Born to South African father Errol musk and Canadian mother Maye Musk, Elon is an masterful by birth. Incidentally, his father is an electromechanical engineer, pilot, and sailor. On the other hand, his mother is a model and a dietitian. Elon’s life was not a cake walk so tells his personal life. Shortly after his parents divorced, Elon chose to stay with father that he described as a mistake later. His relation with his father was nominal or say silent torture (as said by his close circle). Later on, he referred to him as a terrible human being too.
Growing to be…?
Basically, Elon is a very shy person eventually terming him as a nerd. An extremely introvert characteristic who was even bullied by many of school mates. One incident went such to an extent that he was hospitalized. Such was his life incidents which made him more energetic.
Genetically, Elon loves to learn and to be studious. The vacuum in family life instigated him more towards his professional life. From the age of 10, he was interested in learning computer programming with Commodore VIC-20 and also designed a code language for video games which sold for around $500. Later in 1989 when he was 17, Musk shifted to Canada to attend Queen’s University and to avoid mandatory military service in South Africa. This move can be seen as an initiative of transforming studious Elon to innovative Musk.
Later, he moved to the USA for a bachelors in business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. Immediately, Musk went to Stanford University to pursue a Ph.D. in physics. Within two days Elon dropped out to become a part of innovation in the field of internet. With his knowledge in design video games and programming languages at a very early age, Elon started work on Zip2 along with his brother.
Simply, to sum up, Elon Musk has an inborn talent of innovation and business. Interestingly, life gave him many unique chances on the cost of his family life. His success today can be termed as a perfect blend of his talent of learning, innovation blended with the right use of time and opportunities at every aspect of his life.
Zip2, a web software company raised by funds from small group investors. While Musk aimed for the CEO post, the management board declined. At the long run, Management thought Musk was incapable of handling the company administration. Later, after the acquisition of Zip2 by Compaq, he received $22million for his 7% share.
X.com and PayPal
Immediately in the same year 1999, Elon co-founded X.com, an e-payments company. This later got merged with Confinity and later got renamed to PayPal in 2001. The company was so named because of its focus on its online payment services. Later musk was removed as CEO on the grounds of an argument with CTO. The fight was over a proposal of changing the operating system from Linux to Windows.
Worse than that was when eBay acquired PayPal as its fully owned subsidiary. Eventually, Elon received an amount of US $165million, being the largest shareholder. Coincidentally this merger happened when Musk was in South Africa for a vacation. There he was infected with Cerebral Malaria. The virus has a 20% mortality if treated and took him 6 months to recover. This incident was almost a near-miss to death. Elon describes it as a renewal of his spirit and focus. This scene ended up portraying Elon as the initiation for the merger.
Later, musk bought back X.com in 2017, underlying his sentimental value.
By now, Elon Musk learned the art of being an entrepreneur. His talent for creating, funding and nurturing an organization made him a creator. Simply, he made stand out from other entrepreneurs.
Space X- flight to Mars
In 2001, Elon Musk had a dream to explore human life and make colonization a reality. Initially, Musk conceived “Mars Oasis” in order to set up a greenhouse on Mars for testing plants growth on its soil. In the step, Elon along with his team visited Russia to look for Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that could send the envisioned payloads into space. His initial round of meetings failed considering that he is incapable in the field. Even incidents were noted that he was insulted by one of the Russian delegations. Eventually, making Musk return empty-handed.
Going to Russia
In February 2002, He visited Russia again taking up the deal. This time, when they met Kosmotras and were offered one rocket for US$8 million which was considered as too much expensive deal. While back to the USA, Elon started to think the possibility of an extension to the project Space X. The new dream now consists of experimenting colonization on Mars, lowering prices for space travel, and building rockets at a lower cost for his experiments and for commercial purpose too.
Another personal debacle came in May 2002 when his first son Nevada Alexander died after 10 weeks of birth due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is the only incident that Musk never wants to speak about.
Coming back to SpaceX, a company that came with an objective to reduce the space travel and explore vegetation on Mars. The main challenges included the cost to make, procure and launch a rocket. Incidentally, the first three launches were a drastic failure. The company was on the verge of Bankruptcy. The launches were at the cost of money from PayPal. So, the financial crunch was deepening for every new step. Then came the fourth launch, which became a huge success surprisingly and made way to procure a 1.6 Billion deal with NASA. The deal was to continue testing and developing its Falcon- 9 launch vehicle and the Dragon spacecraft.
Again to Russia:
According to the internal resources, this company birth was not easy and simple. After the second trip to Russia, Musk started to do homework on the costs used for making a rocket. He was surprised to know that the sales price was 3 times the original cost. further calculations certified that the cost can be brought down to 70%. With its Falcon rockets series, the firm became first to be a private one to do so. Eventually, the first one to launch a berth vehicle to International Space Station.
From then, SpaceX grew many heights innovating many new technologies and methods. One such was the reuse of rockets. Musk explored the possibility to land the rocket after a successful launch. Eventually, SpaceX became a mother to many new subsidiary companies like “The Boring Company”.
On 6th February, 2018 SpaceX launched the heaviest rocket possible, the Falcon heavy which is also the most powerful one in operation s of 2018.
Tesla: Electrification of cars
After a successful launch of SpaceX, Elon didn’t stop his mind of innovation. The started a new automobile company named Tesla in 2003. Elon’s role started as a financial investor and went to be a crucial stakeholder in the company underlying his capability for crisis management.
The company aims to produce electric cars that are cost effective. Those were the days when electrification of cars was a luxurious privilege. The Roadster is the first model which took a long time to launch. That was the time of crisis when Musk had only two options. One, see the company go down. Two, invest his life savings and revive it. Musk saw the latter as the best step and after few years Tesla is another brand under his umbrella just like SpaceX.
Tesla aslo owns many subsidiary companies Solarcity- solar panel company, Gigafactory- the main manufacturing facility.
This all was not as simple as taking money from the company and putting in another one. There were times when Musk had to completely depend on loans from friends. His main company was also not in better financial status and was at a loan of $465 Billion from the Department of Energy, United States of America. Tesla could help by helping him with a 6.7 Million worth Shares transfer. On the same time came his first divorce when all the Musk’s investments were put in Tesla.
Musk broke out so many stereotypes in business that levelled costs to high levels
Elon Musk, a person with many failures and success. But the most important factor is the art of learning and the skill of not giving up. There is a saying “people can steal honey from bees but not it’s the art of making honey”. Similarly, Musk used to invent, grow and was forcefully made to leave to make the company a commercial entity. the best part is the fundings. Musk never wasted money, the money he got from coming out of the previous companies was used to invest and innovate another company. Musk was an energetic learner and his personal life problems made him more inclined towards world problems. Problems in his personal life made him more devoted towards his work.
In spite of having many challenges in the present life and time schedule, Musk never stops to think about the future. This is one other factor for his success even after failing so many times. His belief in hard work and his determination should be appreciated.
The essence of life is understanding the hard work and believing in oneself and things definitely fall in your line. Finally, it’s not about the money earned, it’s about the perseverance and objective in life.