How Elon Musk Became the Richest Man in the World

The Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk has become the world's richest person, as his net worth crossed $194.8bn. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is no longer the richest man in the world and occupied for more than three years, he has held the top spot since October 2017 according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people. Tesla's shares were recently trading up to more than 7.9% in trading on Thursday. Tesla's market capitalization rising from about $80 billion in January 2020 to just over $760 billion today.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Musk's huge personal fortune comes mostly from owning 20% of Tesla and 54%of space transportation company SpaceX. Musk's net worth has grown over $150 billion - possibly one of the fastest instances of wealth creation in history. Amazon's share price has remained more subdued due to the potential for increased regulation from Washington.

About Elon Musk

Early Life and Family

Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa. His mother is Maye Musk, a model and dietitian born in Saskatchewan, Canada, but raised in South Africa. His father is Errol Musk, a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant, and property developer. He has a younger brother who was an early business partner of his, Kimbal (born 1972), and a younger sister, Tosca (born 1974), the CEO of the video streaming site Passionflix. During his childhood, Musk was an avid reader.

At the age of 10, he developed an interest in computing while using the Commodore VIC-20. He learned computer programming using a manual and, by the age of 12, sold the code of a BASIC-based video game he created called Blastar to PC and Office Technology magazine for approximately $500.

Education

Musk attended the University of Pretoria for five months. Once in Canada, Musk entered Queen's University in 1989, avoiding mandatory service in the South African military. He left in 1992 to study economics and physics at the University of Pennsylvania; he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences.

In 1994, Musk held two internships in Silicon Valley during the summer: at an energy storage start-up called Pinnacle Research Institute and at the Palo Alto-based start-up Rocket Science Games. In 1995, Musk was accepted to a Ph.D. program in energy physics/materials science at Stanford University in California. He ended up dropping out of Stanford after two days, deciding instead to join the Internet boom and launch an internet startup instead.

Elon Musk has been reading a lot of books from his childhood. He grew up reading a couple of books in a day. He still reads a lot. Elon provide quite a lot of wisdom in his interviews or through his quotes. This is where he supposedly learned so much about entrepreneurship, science and life in general.

How Elon Musk Became the Richest

The title of world’s richest person an extraordinary run for Musk and Tesla, even during a pandemic. At 10:54 ET, Tesla Inc's shares were up 5.65% or 42.75 points at $798.73. A 7.9% rally in the electric carmaker’s share price on Thursday boosted Musk past Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos. Musk has said he has little interest in material things and has few assets outside his stakes in Tesla and SpaceX. Musk only just passed Bill Gates in November to become the second-richest person in the world. Increased rally in Tesla’s share price, which surged 743% last year with consistent profits, inclusion in the S&P 500 Index, and enthusiasm from Wall Street and retail investors alike.

World Richest Person
World Richest Person

Tesla produced just over half-a-million cars last year, a fraction of the output of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. Musk will have to show within the next five years that Tesla can make more profits than just about the whole of the rest of the motor industry combined to justify the valuation.

“I want to be able to contribute as much as possible to the city on Mars,” Musk said. “That means just a lot of capital.”
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Past Work of Elon Musk

The Tesla CEO saw his wealth grow in 2020 by more than $150 billion, in large part because Musk owns a lot of Tesla stock — about 20% of the company. Musk pulled the company out of the so-called “production hell” and dramatically increased sales of its electric vehicles.

The billionaire CEO’s stock stash continues to grow, especially after he signed a major 10-year compensation package with the company in 2018 that further tied his earnings to Tesla’s stock price and revenue goals.

Musk was criticized for repeated attempts to keep Tesla’s plant open and then for bringing workers back onto the line as covid-19 raged, and cases were even reported inside Tesla’s facilities. Tesla’s stock appeared to have bottomed as well as concerns about Musk’s leadership. By 2019 Tesla faced concerns over demand, mounting losses, and a shortage of cash — and its stock dropped to a near-term low around June 2019. Analysts warned the stock could be valued too highly as Tesla took the title of the world’s most valuable automotive company.

Musk‘s success hasn’t been limited to earth. In May he oversaw the successful launch of a pair of NASA astronauts into space with his other company, the aerospace outfit SpaceX. It was a landmark achievement for the company that aimed to show rockets could be deployed and reused, demonstrating the viability of a new era of space travel with the ultimate goal of flying humans to Mars.

Musk made his fortune early on with PayPal, which he co-founded and whose sale to eBay led him to pocket $165 million. He invested in Tesla in 2004, a year after its founding, and maintains around a 20% stake in the company.

Musk founded SpaceX two decades ago, setting his sights on Mars and aiming to disrupt an industry deeply entrenched in the government with a private venture focused on human spaceflight. Musk’s wealth stood at $37 billion in 2020. That means Musk added at least $148 billion more to his fortune over a year. The growth in Musk’s portfolio over a year is more than the entire net worth of the world’s third-richest person, Bill Gates, according to Bloomberg’s figures: $132 billion.

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Companies Founded by Elon Musk

Zip2

In 1995, Musk and his brother Kimbal along with Greg Kouri started Zip2, a web software company, with money raised from a small group of angel investors. Zip2 allowed for two-way communication between users and advertisers. Users could message advertisers and have that message forwarded to their fax machine. One Zip2 product was called "Auto Guide". AutoGuide connected online newspaper users with the local dealership or private party car sellers.

X.com and PayPal

In March 1999, Musk co-founded X.com, online financial services, and e-mail payment company, with US$10 million from the sale of Zip2. One year later, the company merged with Confinity, which had a money-transfer service called PayPal. The merged company focused on the PayPal service and was renamed PayPal in 2001.

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SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has developed several launch vehicles, as well as the Dragon cargo spacecraft and the Starlink satellite constellation (providing internet access), and has flown humans to the International Space Station on the SpaceX Dragon 2.

Tesla

Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors, Inc.) is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company. According to Musk, the purpose of Tesla is to help expedite the move to sustainable transport and energy, obtained through electric vehicles and solar power. Tesla ranked as the world's best-selling plug-in and battery electric passenger car manufacturer in 2019, with a market share of 17% of the plug-in segment and 23% of the battery-electric segment. Tesla's global vehicle sales were 499,550 units in 2020, a 35.8% increase over the previous year. In 2020, the company surpassed the 1 million mark of electric cars produced.

SolarCity

SolarCity Corporation is a subsidiary of Tesla, Inc. that develops and sells solar panels and solar roof tiles. By 2013, SolarCity was the second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States. In 2012, Musk announced that SolarCity and Tesla would collaborate to use electric vehicle batteries to smooth the impact of rooftop solar on the power grid.

Hyperloop

On August 12, 2013, Musk unveiled a concept for a high-speed transportation system incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors. Hyperloop One, a company unaffiliated with Musk, announced in July 2017 that it had its first successful test run on its DevLoop track in Nevada, which had lasted 5.3 seconds and reached a top speed of 70 mph.

The Boring Company

In December 2016, Musk founded The Boring Company after growing frustrated with traffic in Los Angeles and the limitations of 2-D transportation networks. The startup aims to create subterranean tunnels that allow pedestrians, freight, utilities, or autonomous electric vehicles to circumvent traffic on surface roads to more directly get from A to B. The Boring Company has also made news by selling 20,000 flamethrowers to consumers, which made the company $10 million in revenue.

In 2016, Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology start-up company to integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence. The company is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow more direct interfacing with computing devices. The company wants the devices to give people the ability to communicate via text or speech synthesis, surf the web, or to express their creativity through photography, art, or writing apps.

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OpenAI

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research laboratory co-founded by Musk in December 2015. OpenAI is seeking to build a machine with human intelligence while prioritizing transparency and safety. The tool, dubbed “the API,” allows businesses to directly access OpenAI’s powerful general-purpose text generation AI, which has been trained on trillions of words from the internet.

Future Plan of Elon Musk

  • Musk tweeted in January that the goal of his Starship transportation system to Mars will be to launch each of SpaceX’s reusable Starship rockets about three times per day, on average, while carrying a 100-ton payload on each flight.
  • Musk might narrowly complete a Tesla Gigafactory in China around 2020, which would begin EV production by 2021. The plans to build a manufacturing plant in China goes hand-in-hand with the country’s efforts to have more EVs on the roads by 2030. Together with a Gigafactory, Tesla also plans to put up 1,000 superchargers in China.
  • Musk plans to send a SpaceX rocket to Mars, with cargo only, by 2022, according to the SpaceX website.
  • A second mission, which would take more cargo and crew, is targeted for 2024. Musk has also said he’ll send a million people to Mars by 2050.
  • Musk talks about his evolutionary plans for a 3D Network of underground tunnels to alleviate traffic congestion. “Traffic affects people all over the world and it takes away so much of your life,” he explains.
Underground Tunnel
  • All transportation, except for rockets, will be powered by electricity.
  • The Boring Company, Musk's tunneling venture, aims to reduce the costs of tunnel construction.
  • In February 2018, Musk said SpaceX no longer had plans to certify that rocket for human spaceflight and it would use its Big Falcon Rocket for tourism instead. The trip is now scheduled to come as soon as 2023.
  • Humans will have brain-computer interfaces as soon as 2025.
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