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As a child , Elon musk was bullied at school. Beaten, knocked unconscious and thrown down the stairs by students from his school, he was even hospitalized. This is what his biographer Ashlee Vance says, in Elon Musk : Tesla, SpaceX and the quest for a fantastic future.
The secrets of the boss of Tesla
Unbearable for some, visionary for others, Elon Musk does not leave anyone indifferent. At the head of Paypal, then SpaceX and Tesla, this new technology magnate has established himself in the very closed group of Silicon Valley giants. Born in South Africa, he went through heavy ordeals such as the death of his first child.
Despite his notoriety, we know little about Elon Musk… Did you know that he was married twice to the same woman? That he advised Donald Trump? And that he crashed a million dollar car? We reveal 15 secrets of Elon Musk, from his first computer program sold at 12 years old to his recent turbulence on the price of Bitcoin.
He develops his first software and sells it at 12
He learned the Basic language and developed his first video game: Blastar. It was bought for $500 by a magazine specializing in computer science, PC And Office Technology , and published in 1984. The principle was simple: a ship to be moved on a 2D plane to shoot down enemies, very similar to Space Invaders .
He started a doctorate which he abandoned after two days
After obtaining a degree in physics and economics, Elon Musk joined the prestigious Stanford University with a scholarship in 1995. He followed a doctorate in energy physics but left the course only two days after admission. The goal? Launch, with his brother Kimbal, in the creation of Zip2, a computer tool that helps the media to get started on the web.
He was kicked out of PayPal
The businessman who developed X.com, the online payment service that became PayPal in 2000, has been kicked out of his own business. He was absent for his honeymoon with his first wife and management officials campaigned with the board of directors and investors for the CEO to be sacked. He rushes back to headquarters, too late. Main shareholder, he sold the business to eBay for 1.5 billion dollars. Elon Musk recovers “only” 250 million in this transaction.
How Elon Musk became successful or a billionaire Elon Musk bullied by a student in South Africa - Everything about Elon Musk's childhood bullies How Elon Musk confronted his childhood bullies How did Elon Musk handled bullies and ignored criticism How severe bullying Elon Musk received in school psychologically contributed to his present entrepreneurial make-up Bloomberg News, YouTube
As a child Elon Musk was bullied so severely he once had to be hospitalized because of a beating from other students
- Elon musk
He crashed a million dollar car
Whim of the rich? Elon Musk buys a million dollar McLaren F1. The bolide was produced only in 62 copies in the world. Wanting to impress a friend, he presses the accelerator and hits an embankment at full speed. The car ends up destroyed, unusable. Detail which is important: the McLaren was not insured.
Her first child died at 10 weeks
Nevada Alexander Musk is the name of the first son of the eccentric billionaire and his first partner, Justine Wilson. At ten weeks, the baby dies of sudden infant death syndrome. The couple goes through this ordeal together and gives birth to twins three years later.
His company SpaceX launched the first private, manned spaceflight
Dragon is a cargo ship that was intended to replace the American space shuttle, abandoned in 2011. Since 2020, Crew Dragon has provided transport for the crews of the international space station.
He was married twice to actress Talulah Riley
The British actress met Elon Musk in 2008 and they married in 2010. Divorced in 2012. Rumors then lend Elon Musk a relationship with Cameron Diaz. But Talulah Riley, who we saw in Pride and Prejudice , said “yes” to Elon Musk again in July 2013. Redivorce in 2016. Not easy…
He is terrified of artificial intelligences that could control humanity
“We are fast moving towards a digital super-intelligence that will far surpass any human (and) if AI has a purpose and humanity stands in its way, then it will destroy humanity naturally without even thinking about it, without any hard feelings”, he explains in the documentary Do you trust this computer? . The Silicon Valley tycoon is therefore developing AI, which he wants to be benevolent.
He advised Donald Trump until he left the Paris agreement
Elon Musk is close to the Republican Party, but green. Close to the 45th American president, he was part of the unofficial council, responsible for guiding him in his decisions. While Donald Trump announced in 2017 to leave the agreement signed by his predecessor at COP21, the businessman slammed the door of the council. “Climate change is real. Leaving the Paris Accords is not good for America or the world,” he tweeted .
With his partner, the Canadian singer Grimes, they named their son X Æ A-12
Why such a strange name? “X for the unknown, Æ as the elvish inscription for AI (love, or Artificial Intelligence), A-12 for the precursor to the SR-71, our favorite aircraft (no defense, no weapons , just speed),” Grimes explained on Twitter. The authorities refused because of the numbers present in the first name. It will therefore be “X Æ A-XII”, with Roman numerals, to be pronounced “Ex Ash A Twelve”, according to the Daily Mail .
He is diagnosed with Asperger's autism.
With humor, he revealed on the program “Saturday Night Live” to be concerned by this form of autism. He explained some difficulties he has in his social interactions: "I know that I say or post strange things sometimes, but that's the way my brain works". He then added: "To everyone I offended, I just want to say: I reinvented the electric car and I'm sending humans to Mars in a rocket Do you really think I'm a calm, normal guy? ”.
His fortune is estimated at more than 170 billion dollars
Week after week, the figure is changing. But the year 2020 signed a very good performance for Tesla. The company's stock, benefiting from investor interest in electric vehicles, jumped more than 700%, according to Forbes .
Elon Musk loves to blow the hot and cold on the price of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is volatile. Tumble, flight, re-tumble… cryptocurrency agitates investors and apprentice traders. And to complicate their task, Elon Musk puts his grain of salt. Last April, a series of tweets from the businessman caused the cryptocurrency to drop 20%, with the price falling $12,000. And the fact that Tesla plans to accept bitcoin payments again – if it becomes less polluting – has pushed the currency above $41,000.
His company plans to advertise in space
SpaceX is partnering with Geometric Energy Corporation to develop an advertising satellite. The screen housed by the satellite will not be visible from Earth but Internet users will be able to view advertisements via Twich and YouTube, reports Le Figaro . Indeed, a kind of selfie stick will carry a camera pointed at the screen. Advertising spots, logos and even works of art can be displayed there.
He reportedly lives in a $50,000 manufactured home.
His tiny house, created by the company Boxabl is a "Casita". A bedroom, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom: the tech magnate would be satisfied with little. The price, according to Business Insider : $50,000.
He refuses to IPO SpaceX on the stock market
The businessman does not want to be tied hand and foot to Wall Street traders. "By staying private, he retains ultimate control of SpaceX, allowing him to be free, to take risks, to crash his rockets - we're down to eleven crashes. It's his dream, he wants move it forward", according to engineer James McLaury, quoted by Le Monde . According to him, Elon Musk will consider taking SpaceX public when round trips to Mars are implemented on a regular basis.
He has a technique for passing job interviews
In a press conference, Elon Musk said he had an "infallible" method to find out if a candidate is lying on his CV. Throughout the exchange, he repeatedly asks the following question: "What are the big problems you faced, and how did you overcome them?". And he asks his interlocutor for details on the anecdotes presented. According to him, this makes it easy to detect those who lie on their journey.
A Norman village is in conflict against him
Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron, a French town with 350 inhabitants, refuses the installation of a Starlink ground station on its territory wanted by Elon Musk. The relay must ensure the link with the thousands of satellites of the project. For the moment the conflict between the village and Elon Musk is awaiting a decision, in particular from the prefecture.
Is there something Elon Musk can't do?
As CEOs of SpaceX and Tesla, founder of The Boring Company and co-founder of OpenAI, Musk seems to be everywhere at once, developing all kinds of amazing new technology. He says he won't be satisfied until we flee Earth and colonize Mars .
Between space rockets, electric cars, solar batteries, great robot research, and billions made, Musk is basically the real Tony Stark - which is why he served as the inspiration for "Iron Man." "
But it hasn't all been easy for Musk.
Here's how Elon musk went from being a persecuted student in school to a small entrepreneur to becoming CEO of two major companies that seem straight out of science fiction - and how he nearly went bankrupt along the way.
Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa.
His father says he has "always been an introverted thinker".
“While a lot of people went to great parties and had a good time drinking and talking about all kinds of stuff like rugby or sports, Elon musk had found him the person's library and was flipping through his books,” said Musk's father, electronics engineer Errol Musk.
Musk's mother is a model and professional dietitian.
Canadian-born Maye Musk ,Elon musk's mom has appeared on Special K cereal boxes and the cover of Time Magazine.
After his parents divorced in 1979, nine-year-old Musk and his younger brother Kimbal decided to live with their father.
In 1983, at the age of 12, Musk sold a game called "Blastar" to a computer magazine for $ 500.
Musk describes it as "a boring game… but better than Flappy Bird."
Source: Business Insider
Still, Musk's school life was not easy - he was once hospitalized after being beaten by petty bullies.
The little bullies threw Elon musk off the top of the stairs and punched him until he lost consciousness, according to Ashlee Vance in her book "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future".
After high school, Musk moved to Canada and spent two years studying at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
Elon musk went to Canada with his mother, Maye, his sister Tosca and his brother Kimbal.
But he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with degrees in physics and economics.
While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Elon musk and a classmate rented a 10-bedroom student fraternity-type house and turned it into a nightclub.
This is one of the first entrepreneurial experiences Musk has had with Adeo Ressi.
After graduation, Musk went to Stanford University for his doctorate - but left the program soon after starting it.
He postponed his admission after only two days in California, deciding to try his luck in the middle of the internet bubble that had just started. He never returned to finish his studies at Stanford.
Together with his brother Kimbal, Musk started Zip2.
The father of the two brothers gave them $ 28,000 to start their website, which provided guide software and a directory for newspapers like the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
As Zip2 takes off, Musk was literally living in the office and showering at the local YMCA.
REUTERS / Noah Berger
The hard work paid off when Compaq bought Zip2 for $ 341 million in cash and stock, earning Musk $ 22 million.
Elon musk then launched X.com, an online banking service.
Elon musk started the business in 1999 using $ 10 million of the money he received from the sale of Zip2. About a year later, X.com merged with Confinity, a financial startup co-founded by Peter Thiel, to form PayPal.
Elon musk has been named CEO of the newly profitable PayPal. But it won't last long.
In October 2000, Elon musk sparked a huge battle among PayPal's co-founders by pushing them to move their servers from Microsoft's free Unix operating system to Windows. Then PayPal and CTO co-founder Max Levchin resisted.
While Elon musk was on his way to Australia for a well-deserved vacation, PayPal's board fired him and made Thiel their new CEO.
"That's the problem with taking a vacation," Musk told Fortune years later of that unfortunate trip in the late 2000s.
But things worked out for Musk - he took advantage of another windfall when eBay bought PayPal in late 2002.
As the largest shareholder of PayPal, he raised $ 165 million of the $ 1.5 billion eBay paid.
Even before the PayPal sale, Musk was already dreaming of his next project, including the crazy plan to send mice or plants to Mars.
A longtime science fiction fan, Musk even tried to buy out-of-service Soviet missiles. But the Russian vendors wanted $ 8 million for each of the missiles, and Musk believed they could build his for less.
In early 2002, Elon musk founded his company now known as Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX.
Musk's goal was to make spacecraft cheaper by dividing the cost by 10.
SpaceX's first vehicles were named after Star Wars' spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon.
The rockets are named Falcon 1 and 9.
One of the first contraptions was named after the song "Puff the Magic Dragon."
The name of the spacecraft, the Dragon, was a nod from Musk to skeptics who had told him SpaceX would never be able to send vehicles into space.
SpaceX's long-term goal is to make colonization on Mars affordable.
SpaceX won't go public until what Elon musk calls the “Mars Colonial Transporter” flies regularly, he said .
Musk has also been very busy on Earth, especially with Tesla Motors.
In 2004, Musk made the first of his $ 70 million investment in Tesla, an electric car company co-founded by veteran startup creation Martin Eberhard.
Musk took an active role within Tesla, helping to develop his first car, the Roadster.
The all-electric Roadster was launched in 2006, when Musk was the chairman of Tesla. He is now its CEO.
As if that wasn't enough, Musk came up with the idea for SolarCity, a solar energy company.
Musk offered his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive the working capital needed to launch SolarCity in 2006.
But in Tesla, all was not well.
With Eberhard as CEO, Tesla was spending a lot more than he was earning. In 2007, Musk engineered a stunt on the board, first firing Eberhard from his CEO role and then from the board.
In 2008, with the financial crisis severely limiting his options, Musk personally saved Tesla from bankruptcy.
Musk invested $ 40 million in Tesla and loaned the company an additional $ 40 million. Unsurprisingly, he was named CEO the same year.
But between SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity, Musk was almost broke.
He described 2008 as "the worst year of my life." Tesla continued to lose money, and SpaceX was having difficulty launching its Falcon 1 rocket.
In 2009, Musk lived on personal loans to survive.
Around the same time, Musk was going through a divorce.
Musk had six sons with Justine Musk, a Canadian author.
But around Christmas 2008, things started to improve.
Musk received two good news: SpaceX got a $ 1.5 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies to space, and Tesla finally found more investors.
In 2010, things got seriously better, with Tesla going public successfully.
Tesla raised $ 226 million when it went public, becoming the first auto company to go public since Ford in 1956.
To recover his funds, Musk sold shares worth around $ 15 million during the public offering.
Musk's extraordinary career began to be noticed in other circles, particularly in Hollywood.
Robert Downey Jr.'s interpretation of Tony Stark's character in the "Iron Man" movies is at least in part based on Musk. Musk even made a cameo appearance in "Iron Man 2."
Meanwhile, Musk's personal life was in constant flux.
In 2008, Musk started dating actress Talulah Riley. They married in 2010 and divorced in 2012. In July 2013, they remarried. In December 2014, Musk began divorce proceedings but withdrew them. In March 2016, Riley filed for divorce, which was finalized in October.
At work, everything is fine though, especially at SpaceX.
At the end of 2015, SpaceX carried out 24 launch missions in response to requests such as to resupply the International Space Station, setting many records in the process. In 2016, SpaceX's Falcon 9 made its first landing of a reusable orbital rocket.
Musk can't stop having new ideas. One of the last is Hyperloop.
A very high-speed train that travels in a pressure tube, the Hyperloop could in theory transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. Musk lets other companies build their own versions.
Musk also recently started another business - The Boring Company, which is more interesting than the name suggests.
Launched last year, the mission of the Boring Company is to dig a network of tunnels under and around cities for fast and traffic-free driving. Musk said he spoke with the White House about the idea of building a tunnel between New York and Washington DC that could be used for a hyperloop.
And in late 2015, Musk co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit research association dedicated to artificial intelligence to ensure it doesn't destroy humanity.
Musk has expressed concern that the race for better artificial intelligence could end up triggering World War III.
As he raises concerns about AI, Musk promotes Tesla's potential for autonomy.
Tesla's “autopilot” system is available on all three models, including the new Model 3, an entry-level car launched earlier this year that brings the company closer to its goal of making electric vehicles affordable to the public.
Last year, Tesla bought SolarCity for $ 2.6 billion.
The acquisition brought two great ideas in environmental technology together for Musk under one roof.
So far, 2017 has been a difficult year for Musk, at least politically.
Musk joined Trump's advice, an action that caused strong backlash from the public. He initially defended the action saying he could use his proximity to the White House to effect changes. But he gave up his post after Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement.
Original version: Matt Weinberger / Business Insider
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