Happy Birthday Elon Musk: Entrepreneur, Engineer, Risk Taker Extraordinaire!


Before I begin this article, let me put out a disclaimer.

Disclaimer: It is not humanly possible to describe everything that a certain South African-born Canadian-American gentleman called Elon Musk has and will accomplish in one article. Please do not expect to read everything that will ever be written about Mr. Musk in this one piece of attempted disquisition. Albeit, I will give it a shot.

Elon R. Musk was born in Pretoria South Africa, and is a man who well and truly changing the world in a really (really read multiple times) big way. If you have been living under a rock for the past 2 decades and do not know who Elon Musk is, here are some useful facts to get you started.

Born: June 28, 1971

Net Worth: $11.6 billion (As of 6/28/16), albeit down from $14.3 billion in April 2016.

Elon Musk is

  • World’s 94th richest person on the planet, 15th in Tech, according to Forbes.
  • Co-founder, Product Architect and CEO of Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), a company that designs, manufactures, and sells electric cars.
  • Co-founder, CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a company which develops and manufactures space launch vehicles with state of the art rocket technology.
  • Co-founder and Chairman of SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY), a company that designs and installs solar energy systems.
  • Co-founder of X.com which after a merger went on to become PayPal, the company that revolutionized e-commerce and changed the way financial transactions were made forever.
  • Co-founder of Zip2, a web software company that developed and marketed an Internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry almost a decade before Google Maps was even launched.

No ordinary human being could have envisioned and achieved all of the above, certainly not pretty much simultaneously, but then again, Elon Musk is no ordinary human being. Mocking his capability, media tagged him with the word Alien recently. He is a genius and born to be an entrepreneur. Here are some fun and interesting facts about him that prove it.

Elon Musk was

  • Tested by IBM when he was 10 years old and the test results revealed that he had one of the highest aptitudes for computer programming the IBM team had ever seen.
  • The developer of a space inspired video game called Blastar when he was 12 years old. He didn’t just develop the game, he also figured out how to sell it and decided to open an arcade near his high school, but that didn’t materialize because he hadn’t told his parents about it.
  • He founded his first company at age 23 and went on to become a millionaire by selling it for $307 million USD by age 28.

Elon Musk is also an engineer par excellence. His fascination with Physics and his massive appetite for learning new things have helped him start some of the world’s most ingenious companies. Picture this – Musk is the Product Architect of a first of its kind electric car company and he is at the core of his rocket science team at SpaceX even though he has no formal training as an Aeronautical Engineer. How on earth could he have led his small and ambitious start-up to achieve what NASA, the United States government, space associations and governments all over the world have failed to achieve? Does he have some sort of magical powers?

“An engineer is the closest thing to a magician that exists in the real world.” – Elon Musk.

There is a common trait found in all great entrepreneurs – they dream big. But there exists no entrepreneur that has dared to dream bigger and taken more concrete and yet ground shattering steps to changing the world than Elon Musk has. Here are some of his outrageous goals. Outrageous for us mere mortals, very much possible for the man himself.

Elon Musk has

  • Set a goal of enabling the exploration and settlement of the human race on planet Mars.
  • Set a goal and promised to transport humans to Mars in 10-20 years. He said that in 2011, trusting that his mathematics is as good as his Physics, that figure would now stand at 7-17 years.
  • Plans to rid the world’s dependence on fossil fuels one day. He wants to do this by making solar energy the world’s premier energy source.

“An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: an engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct.” – Elon Musk.

All super successful people have at some point in their lives been risk takers, some more than others, but very few like Elon Musk. He could have retired after selling Zip2 for $307 million USD to Compaq. He could have retired after selling PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion USD. But he chose to venture into the two industries most people don’t even dream of entering, let alone revolutionizing them. Elon Musk took great risks by investing almost all the fortune he had made with his previous companies into his two new ventures – SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Elon Musk epitomizes perseverance and is the greatest risk-taking-success-story ever written in the Silicon Valley.


Elon Musk had

  • Invested almost all his net worth of approximately $100 million dollars into SpaceX because he believed in his vision and because nobody else on the planet thought it was either possible or feasible for a private enterprise to build and enable space vehicles that can do what NASA couldn’t – take humans to Mars.
  • Invested $6.3 million USD of his own money to start Tesla Motors which was the first auto industry start-up in decades and the first auto industry start-up in Silicon Valley ever.
  • Decided to become the man who would go on to save and gradually restore the world’s faith in electric cars. When Tesla Motors was on the verge of collapse and had only enough money to run the company for a couple of months more, Musk put in all his capital reserve to save the company from collapse and his total investment in Tesla eventually became $75 million USD.
  • One last shot at saving his space company SpaceX by conducting a fourth and final attempt at successfully launching a rocket that would reach the earth’s orbit. He needed $20 million USD to keep the company functional, there were no investors, he didn’t have enough personal capital reserve to put into the company and if this fourth and final attempt had failed, SpaceX would have been history. But it succeeded and NASA awarded SpaceX a $1.6 billion USD contract to service the space stations.
  • SpaceX and Tesla Motors, Paypal and Zip2 are not the only ones, Elon Musk has had invested in. He has 19 features in his Investor’s cap. Here is the list of all those 19 companies he has got his fingers into.

If you think you have read enough about Musk’s outrageous yet successful attempts at changing the world then these next few facts are sure to blow your minds to sub-atomic debris sized pieces.

Elon Musk is currently

  • Elon Mush sold his solar power company SolarCity to himself. He used Tesla Motors to buyout SolarCity for whopping $3 billion. However, the move has apparently not been appreciated much by the market and analysts. Consequently, Tesla lost $4.1 billion in market valuation overnight. However, it’s no brainer. By adding SolarPower capability to its futuristic Cars, Elon is trying to care Automative Industry to a new level.
  • Excited from the spectacular sales of Model S sedan, Elon is gearing up for the launch of an electric SUV, the Model X. The SUV is expected to be on the road in the second half of 2016.
  • Working on a concept called the Hyperloop. The Hyperloop is a hypothetical subsonic air travel machine that would allow commuters to travel distances like 500 kilometers in less than 30 minutes. This is a proposed high-speed rail system which plans to put current commercial airplanes to shame.
  • Proposed that the Hyperloop will be completely powered by solar energy and will be the fastest yet cheapest mode of transportation known to mankind.
  • Working on further reducing the cost of space travel so that he can realize his dream of taking humans to Mars as soon as possible.

As Elon Musk turns 45 today, we hope that he continues pushing his own ideas to limits so that the human race can benefit from his efforts in the long run and that his extraordinary visions and achievements can inspire other entrepreneurs to dream big.

Bonus fun fact: The character of Tony Stark played by Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man series is inspired by Elon Musk’s real life.

The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian AssangeSir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.



  1. Nitin Balodi

    September 4, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    You are my hero Elon sir. You are an inspiration for people like me. 🙂 A voracious reader you are and I want to be like you.

  2. VanPerl

    June 28, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Go Elon. Keep proving the dipwads wrong.

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