Elon Musk (1971-) is probably one of the most dynamic businessman of our times. Born in South Africa, at the age of 12 he had already taught himself computer programming and sold a video game to a computer magazine.
In 1988, after obtaining a Canadian passport, Musk left his country as he as unwilling to cooperate and attend the compulsory apartheid military service. In an inspiring ted talk, he said that since then, he asked himself “what were the areas that were most likely going to affect the future of humanity”. He realised that would be internet, sustainable energy and spacial exploration, and he did nothing more than build an empire around this three remote areas.
Elon Musk received two bachelor degrees, one in economics and one in physics, and despite his acceptance at Stanford University graduate school in physics, his entrepreneurial guts made him fell that “internet had much more potential to change society than physics”. That same year, in 1996, he co-founded Zip2, a company providing financial advice for online newspapers, which he sold three years later for $307 million. He then founded X.com that provided online financial services to companies, and in it he invented the revolutionary online money transfer service PayPal, which was later sold for $1.5 billion.
In 1999, after selling PayPal, he told himself that it was time for some spacial exploration and founded SpaceX with the goal of building more affordable rockets. Not only he was the CEO but also the rocket’s chief designer and he invented a fully reusable rocket, which was successfully launched for the first time in 2006. While working at SpaceX, he also funded Tesla Motors, a company that has developed a fully electric car that can travel 394 km on a single charge.
In this article, CNN compares the genius of Elon Musk with the one of Steve Jobs. CNN describes their unique aptitude to develop more than one improvement in one product while being obsessed with its design perfection. This man has revolutionize the entire history: “Steve Jobs transformed at least four industries (computers, music, animated movies, mobile communications). Elon Musk may achieve even greater impact”.
And the best of it? He looks like a nice guy! Check out his interview at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.