LeoGlossary: Elon Musk

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Elon Musk is one the wealthiest person in the world. The billionaire has a net worth of well over $200 billion.

He is most recognized as the CEO of Tesla. This is a company that he has led for more than 15 years. It went from a start up to the largest producer of electric vehicles globally.

Musk is also known for starting SpaceX, the Boring Company, and Neuralink. Each endeavor is meant to take on a major challenge that Musk believes humanity is facing.

Musk was born and grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. He attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada at age 17, acquiring citizenship through his Canadian-born mother. Two years later, he matriculated at Queen's University and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received bachelor's degrees in Economics and physics.

His business career started with the founding of the web software company Zip2 with his brother. This was eventually sold to Compaq for $307 million in 1999. After that, he co-founded X.com, which was an online bank. This eventually evolved into PayPal which was sold to Ebay for $1.5 billion.

In October 2022, he led an investment group in the purchase of Twitter. The price was $44 billion.


Musk is known for his controversial style. Prior to buying Twitter, he was known for tweeting off the cuff things that drew the ire of different individuals and entities. One of them was the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which ultimately fined him $20 million for tweeting that he secured funding to purchase Tesla and take it private.

Over the years as CEO of Tesla, Musk presented timelines that were repeatedly missed. This caused many to coin the phrase "Elon Time" which means add a couple years to any target date.

Another highly controversial move, one that ended up as a lawsuit was Tesla's purchase of Solar City. The deal was completed in 2016. This was to be integrated into Tesla Energy. Musk originally providing financing to the company in 2006, at the start. One of the co-founders was Elon's brother. The acquisition pushed Tesla's stock down 10% since Solar City was having liquidity issues.

In 2020, Musk was sued over the deal, with the court eventually ruling in his favor.

His personality attracts a lot of attention, both positive and negative. Musk has his share of both fans along with detractors. Many invested with him, a move that resulted in a lot of money being made. He even got on the radar of the past two United States Presidents with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden taking positions on Musk.

Near Bankruptcy

Elon is known for the hundred of billions he has. He was able to walk away from the sale of Paypal with hundreds of millions of dollars. It is safe to say he got a nice return on his money.

The problem is he almost found bankruptcy.

In the early days of the Falcon 1 program at SpaceX, the first three launches failed. This put the company in dire financial jeopardy. At the same time, Tesla was having issues finding outside funding, also facing the possibility of going under.

Musk was running out of money. He put his last $30 million into both companies, reportedly dividing it evenly. He did this in September 2008.

Fortunately the 4th attempt of Falcon 1 was a success and U.S. Department of Defense awarded SpaceX a contract in December 2008, saving the company. This led to more outside financing which gave Musk the breathing room he needed.

Multi-Planetary Species

One of Musk's views is that humans must become a multi-planet species. Due to threats to our existence, whether it is an asteroid or climate change, Musk feels that we should settle Mars. His goal is to have 1 million people living on the planet by 2050.

For this reason, he is pushing SpaceX to develop rockets that can bring supplies along with people to populate the planet. This is a wild endeavor, one matched by Jeff Bezos' intention to get us to inhabit the Moon.

Both are putting billions of dollars into these endeavors. One advantage that Musk might have is that SpaceX already launched a satellite Internet service called Starlink.

Space X

SpaceX is a private aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company founded in 2002 by Musk. It is headquartered in Hawthorne, California, and is dedicated to reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars.

It has developed several advanced rockets and spacecraft, including the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, and the Dragon spacecraft. These vehicles have been used to launch satellites, cargo, and crew into low Earth orbit, and have also been used for missions to the International Space Station and beyond.

SpaceX has also been working on the development of reusable rockets, which can significantly reduce the cost of access to space. The company has successfully demonstrated the reusability of its rockets, with the first stage of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets capable of returning to Earth and landing vertically after a launch.

In addition to its launch vehicle and spacecraft development, SpaceX is also working on the development of other technologies, such as its Starlink satellite constellation, which aims to provide global internet connectivity, and its Raptor engine, which is being designed to power its next-generation launch vehicle.

SpaceX has also been at the forefront of private space exploration, with plans to send both crewed and uncrewed missions to Mars in the coming years. The company has also proposed the development of a lunar base, which could serve as a stepping stone for further human exploration of the solar system.

The Everything Application

Closer to home, Musk also has big plans for Twitter.

One of the reasons for the acquisition dates back to his early days at Paypal. In 2000, he wrote a paper outlining a plan to make that business the largest financial institution in the world. At the time, his partners shot Elon's ideas down, instead opting to focus solely on payments.

Upon purchasing Twitter, the basis for the everything application was renewed. The company already filed for licensing to become a payment processor. This is likely only the first of many steps.

Elon sees the future where social media and finance are merged. Essentially the goal is simply to build a digital platform offering a wide range of financial products and services. While there are going to be licensing issues, we could potentially see stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, and other derivatives available on the network.

Those who are advocates of digital assets are curious to see if Twitter will incorporate that into the payment system. In the past, Musk has dabbled in both Bitcoin and DOGE. The former was purchased by Tesla, although most of it was sold. At the same time, Musk is a big fan of DOGE, offering his support through his Tweets.

Master Plans

Musk is known for his master plans.

So far he wrote two for Tesla, focusing upon humanity's shift to sustainable energy. He is presently working on a third which will concentrate upon scaling.

As mentioned, he has a vision for helping humans become multi-planetary.

There is a vision for the Boring Company to solve congestion and traffic problems by drilling tunnels in a cost effective manner.

And finally, Neuralink is Elon's answer to artificial intelligence getting away from us.


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