Elon Musk is a South African entrepreneur and Business Leader. He is the Co-Founder of X.com which later became PayPal, The Boring Company, Zip2 and OpenAl. He is the CEO of Tesla, Co-founder, CEO of Neuralink and Chairman of SolarCity. (Baldwin, Kaufmann, Yoffie, 2018) He keeps challenging the process in order to solve as many problems as possible that humanity is facing such as; preventing the extinction of mankind by colonising the Mars, developing and improving electric cars without putting patents on any of its research fundings, technology for a better environment and a safer online payment method. (Vance, 2015)
Elon Musk’s accomplishments are not driven off of money or success. He wants to contribute as much as possible to society. Elon Musk is neither afraid or ashamed of a failure. He claims “that failure is an option and that if your visions wouldn’t fail by the first try your ideas are not innovating enough.” (Vance, 2015) Through-out his business career, he proved himself as a very talented strategic thinker, by dreaming the unreal and turning it into reality. Following his path one can learn to develop a successful business with nothing but your dreams and further achieve a better life and name for themselves.
Elon Musk is the first child of an engineer and serial entrepreneur Errol and fashion model Maye Musk. He was born and lived all his childhood in Pretoria, South Africa. When Elon was just seventeen years old his parents divorced and he moved to Canada by himself. There he would spend the first year travelling around and took any odd jobs offered. (Vance, 2015) Since Elon Musk is gifted with a photographic memory and is blessed with an immense love for reading he did extraordinary in school and graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and physics at the University of Pennsylvania.
One can assume that Elon Musk doesn’t hesitate to take an entrepreneurial risk since he grew up in South Africa where people live every day as if it is their last because of all the daily danger and violence they are facing. With a twitter account of 24 million followers, Elon is not afraid to speak for what he believes is right. However, what he shares with his followers is not always positive, some of his posts got him in trouble with public or even legally prosecuted. He tweeted things such as telling his Twitter followers that he is making Tesla private, (Fleishman, 2018) which led to loss of money within the stocks of Tesla.
However, since Elon Musk does not spend a penny on the advertisement the attention he gets due his tweets are helping him and his businesses to stay relevant to the public. Musk is clearly ahead of his time as he takes risks where others might hang back such as finding ways and solutions to give access to people stepping on the Mars. Elon Musk even stated that it was never about the money for him, but about solving and tackling the problems for the future of humanity or problems that could affect the future of humanity.
The era when Elon Musk decided to invest in the idea of online banking, was an era where no one was introduced to this idea. Furthermore, at the time Amazon had just started selling books, which compared to now is mind-blowing since Amazon is now known as an online store. Moreover, Musk started x.com with two other guys named Harris Fricker and Christopher Payne who then later left the company due to their ongoing issues with the company. (Vance, 2015)
However, Musk did not give up and was further persistent with how he ran his company leading to him gaining popularity after 1999. The company was gaining popularity very quickly, meaning the market was getting competitive. Confinity was one of their main competitors, who focused on expanding the web and how to make email based payments. They developed Paypal which was in competition with x.com. (Vance, 2015)
March 2000, x.com and Confinity had now joined forces to become one. The qualities that these two companies had complimented each other and worked well with the population’s needs and wants. Furthermore, Elon Musk at this time was the largest shareholder of the company. As the company further grew it started having more inside issues and at one point there was tension between him and the coworker, which led to him be replaced with Peter Thiel. However, this did not bring him down as he kept investing in the business and soon became one of the biggest shareholders of the company.
In 2001, X.com became what is known today as Paypal. The company’s revenue per year is $250 million. The company was offered at $1.5 billion and was accepted by Elon Musk in 2002 for $250 million. (Vance, 2015) After being financially stable by having invested in such a successful business, he was ready to settle down with his wife. He decided to move to Los Angeles with his wife and there he rediscovered his childhood hobby; space travel and rocket ships.
With the profit earned from PayPal he decided to take interest in space projects again. He joined the Mars society, which was a non-profitable company that brought together scientists and engineers who wanted to occupy Mars. The plan that he put together was to send a small robotic greenhouse to Mars to increase the interest of people in space. Furthermore, Musk took a trip to Russia to consult with the Russian government whether he could buy some “Intercontinental ballistic missiles” but unfortunately they dined his proposition of investing $20 million of his own money into this project. (Vance, 2015) After being rejected he concluded that he should invest this money into opening his own business.
Moreover, after some time he put his theory into practice, June 2002, Space Exploration Technologies was his reality to his once a dream. The factory was working on developing rockets and establishing a new name for this brand that Elon Musk had come up. (Baldwin, Kaufmann, Yoffie, 2018)
Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 in order to solve a lot of problems that humanity is facing but cannot prevent such as natural disasters. He built a sub-business in Nigeria called NigeriaSat-X that is building satellites that can monitor crop and manage weather disasters. SpaceX also targets other problems by space launches such as GPS to track poachers or using long-range communications to organise charities. (Johnkingsley, 2011)