As successful as he has been over the last several years, Elon Musk has always made news headlines with his new projects and controversial tweets. However, last week's biggest news inaugurated the 49 years-old businessmen as the world's richest man, overtaking the rank that had been occupied by Amazon's Jeff Bezos for years.
Elon Musk is no longer the world's richest person, according to Forbes, after a fall in Tesla stock wiped $13.5 billion from his fortune in a day https://t.co/jDW1SO6RXG— Business Insider (@businessinsider) January 12, 2021
Known for having founded Tesla, Space X, and Neuralink, Musk has deservedly gained a reputation as the businessman who introduces brand new ideas with incredible enthusiasm and confidence.
Yet, these three companies he has set to success are not the only famous ones we know. This article is meant to highlight the little to unknown facts about the overly-ambitious man who is worth around $185bn now.
1. He was born in South Africa
While his mother is Canadian, she grew up in South Africa during the Apartheid era, which is also where Musk's father was born. The couple met in Pretoria over 50 years ago, which is where their oldest son, Elon, was born in 1971.
2. He holds three different nationalities
Besides being South African and Canadian, Elon also holds US citizenship.
3. Had a turbulent relationship with his father
After his parents got divorced, Elon chose to live with his father in South Africa, which he- reportedly- regretted later after a rift ended in the two men being estranged from each other.
However, it seems that young Elon had been greatly affected by his father, especially when we know that Errol Musk was an electromechanical engineer.
4. He studied for his undergraduate degree in two different universities and graduated from a third one
Only five months after enrolling at the University of Pretoria, Musk left South Africa for Canada where he started school at Queen's University but left after only two years so he could join the University of Pennsylvania from which he graduated with a BSc in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from the Wharton School in 1997.
5. He arrived at the US with only $2000 and a suitcase full of books.
In 2018, Musk tweeted some information about his background, telling his followers about his first days in the US. saying: "I arrived in North America at 17 with $2000, a backpack & a suitcase full of books."
More background: I arrived in North America at 17 w $2000, a backpack & a suitcase full of books. Paid my own way thru college. Dropped out of Stanford Eng/Phys grad school w $110k in college debt. Created Internet startup w bro & Greg Khouri (love bro & loved Greg, may he RIP)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2018
6. Before completing his studies, Musk was an intern in Silicon Valley
In 1995, Musk received two internship opportunities, one at a start-up called Pinnacle Research Institute and another at Rocket Science Games.
7. Dropped out of a Stanford Ph.D. program two days after enrollment
His years-long interest in physics granted him acceptance into a Ph.D program in energy physics/materials science in one of America's most famous schools, yet, he decided that the pursuit was not for him only after two days of enrollment.
8. Failed job hunt
In an attempt to follow his interest in the internet world which he then thought would make major changes in the world, Musk had previously talked about his attempts to land a job at Netscape, the company that was able to launch the world's first web browser Netscape Navigator, but said that he was never contacted by them.
9. Zip2 Project
In 1995, funded by a group of Silicon Valley and along with his brother Kimbal, Elon launched the Zip2 service which provided well-known newspapers with city travel guides. At that time, Elon fully devoted his time to his project that he reportedly lived in the office full-time.
After Zip2's success, Compaq purchased the service for $341 million in cash and stock, of which $22 million went to Elon Musk.
10. Was fired from PayPal's board
Using $10 million of his Zip2 revenue, Elon established an online banking service called X.com in 1999. In 2000. X.com merged with Peter Thiel's Confinity under the name PayPal, the same online payment system we use today.
However, several disagreements with the cofounders had pushed Thiel to take over the company while Musk was on a vacation in Australia, announcing firing Musk from the board during the first year of their partnership.
PayPal still played a major role in his success as he kept his shares in it, especially as it was sold to eBay in 2002, making him a solid $165 million fortune.
11. Space X was founded in 2002
We'd assume that Space X is one of Musk's latest projects since its first space trip went off in 2020, while in fact, it was one of Musk's first projects as he has always fascinated by the possibility to travel to outer space.
The robot future is coming— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 12, 2021
If anything, learning about Musk's background tells us that achieving success and making a historical wealth isn't necessarily connected to beginnings or his family support and that no matter how challenging things get, the enthusiast and determined can make it eventually. Which of Musk's facts have you already known before?
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