Elon Musk is an outspoken and charismatic CEO, a role that is rarely seen as flashy at most companies. Then again, most companies aren’t electric car pioneers like Tesla or space exploration companies like SpaceX.
Despite Musk’s fame, there are things you likely do not know about the world’s richest person, including using many of the strategies the 1% use to deal with inflation. Here are 20 of them.
He almost sold Tesla to Google
At a dire time in Tesla’s history, Musk reached out to Google CEO Larry Page about buying the failing car company, according to Ashlee Vance's book "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future."
The two allegedly initially agreed in 2013 to a sale price of $6 billion, but it never came to be.
He dropped out of Stanford
Musk lasted two days at Stanford before dropping out of school. He was there initially to pursue a doctorate in physics.
Instead, he left the school to start up his first company, Zip2, which he sold four years later for more than $300 million.
He owns a James Bond car
In 2013, Musk bought a Lotus Esprit for almost $1 million. Why so much? Because it was a 1976 version that had been fixed up to become an underwater car for James Bond in the movie “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
Musk later admitted that he used the car for inspiration when designing his Tesla Cybertruck.
He has lots of kids
Musk has seven children — five with his ex-wife, Justine, and two with the musician Grimes. He also had a son, Nevada, who died of SIDS in 2002.
In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal" in 2021, he said civilization is going to crumble if people don’t have more children. “I'm trying to set a good example. Yeah. Got to practice what I preach,” he said.
He’s made cameos in movies and TV
Yes, Musk has an IMDb page. His first cameo was in the 2010 movie “Iron Man 2” and he played himself on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory.”
And if live-action isn’t your thing, Musk has also become a cartoon version of himself in “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” and “Rick and Morty.”
He provided inspiration for Tony Stark
When Robert Downey Jr. was preparing for his role as Tony Stark in “Iron Man,” he turned to Musk for some inspiration.
The two men met and Musk helped Downey add some mannerisms to his version of Stark that made the movies extra exciting.
He’s from South Africa
Musk was born in South Africa and lived there until he was 17. His family then moved to Canada, and he started his collegiate career at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
He used to work at PayPal
Musk co-founded X.com, an online bank that merged with another company to form PayPal. The ecommerce company eBay bought PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk, who was one of PayPal’s largest shareholders, made at least $175 million on the deal.
He’s the richest person in the world
Musk’s ventures have made him very, very rich. He currently sits atop the list of the richest people in the world, with an estimated wealth of more than $200 billion. Yes, billion.
His estimated worth has fluctuated recently due to changes in the stock market, as some of his wealth is tied up in shares of Tesla.
He wasn’t the founder of Tesla
Musk’s most successful venture may be Tesla, but the company wasn’t his idea. Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded the company in 2003 and brought Musk and his money aboard a year later.
Musk invested $6.35 million in Tesla’s first round of venture funding in 2004. He’s now CEO of the company.
He used his PayPal money to create SpaceX
Musk created SpaceX in 2002 and the aerospace company now launches spacecraft to the International Space Station with both supplies and astronauts.
Musk was able to start the company with $100 million he earned when eBay acquired PayPal.
He inspired the creation of a solar-energy company
SolarCity was founded in 2006 by two of Musk’s cousins, Peter and Lyndon Rive, and Musk invested $10 million into the company early on. He also held a seat on the company’s board.
Tesla eventually acquired the solar company in 2016 for $2.6 billion and rebranded it as Tesla Energy.
He named his son after a comic book character
Musk’s son Xavier has a special inspiration for his name: Comic book character Professor Xavier of Marvel’s X-Men. “One of my sons is named Xavier, after Professor X!” he confirmed in a 2017 tweet.
He has Asperger’s syndrome
The tech mogul has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a milder form of autism with characteristics such as a detailed focus on topics of interest and difficulty with social interactions.
In 2022, he described growing up with the syndrome: “I think everyone's experience is going to be somewhat different, but I guess for me, the social cues were not intuitive. I was just very bookish and I didn't understand these.”
His mom is a model
Maye Musk is currently a model and has the distinction of being the oldest "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit cover model. She was 74 years old when she made this year’s cover.
She’s also a model for the Covergirl makeup brand.
He’s been tweeting for a while
Musk has been in the news lately for trying to buy Twitter, but the social networking site isn’t a recent interest of his.
He actually joined Twitter in June 2009, and there have been many of Musk’s infamous tweets to review in the years since.
He founded The Boring Company
No, The Boring Company isn’t some dull venture. It’s actually a company that’s finding a way to bore tunnels underground that can transport people and goods more quickly than surface roads with traffic.
His does not take a salary at Tesla
Musk’s wealth is based on stocks and his ownership of companies. But how much does he actually make as CEO of Tesla? According to a company statement, he takes no salary.
His Tesla is in space
In 2018, SpaceX launched one of its Falcon Heavy rockets into space with a very unusual cargo: a Tesla Roadster. The car was purchased by Musk and is currently still floating in space.
He created a video game
When Musk was 12 years old, he created the video game Blastar. He ended up selling it to a computer magazine in 1984 for $500.
Elon Musk is an interesting character and entrepreneur. Investors and non-investors alike have to be ready for everything from Musk’s comments about politics, how to prepare for the next recession, and his musings on anything else.
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