As Elon Musk Surpasses Jeff Bezos to Become World's Richest Man, Here's All You Need to Know About Him
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Thursday surpassed Amazon's Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world, with a net worth of over $185 billion. The 4.8% rise in Tesla's share price pushed Musk to the top spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 wealthiest people.
However, unassertive to the ranking, Musk's reaction to a tweet from 'Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley' on him becoming the richest person, was "How strange" and followed it up by saying, "Well, back to work ...".
Here's all you need to know about the world's wealthiest man:
- Musk was born on June 28, 1971, to Maye Musk, a model and dietitian, and Errol Musk, an electromechanical engineer. He taught himself to code and, at the age of 12, built a video game called Blastar and sold its source code to the magazine PC and Office Technology, for about $500. In 1995, Musk and his brother started their first company named Zip2, an online-media services company which provided and licensed city guide software to newspapers.
- Musk, currently the chief executive of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity, came into millions at the age of 27 after he sold his company Zip2, to Compaq for $307 million in 1999 and Musk earned $22 million for the deal. Later, he started an online banking company named X.com and launched the company in 1999 at $10 million.
- About a year later, X.com merged with Confinity to form PayPal and Musk was named the CEO of the newly-minted PayPal. However, following a scuffle with the cofounders, Musk was fired from his position as the CEO. When eBay bought PayPal in late 2002, Musk, being the single biggest shareholder, netted $165 million from the deal.
- In 2002, Musk founded the company that would be known as Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, with $100 million of the money received from the PayPal sale. His long-term goal was to make colonising Mars affordable. Musk had said that SpaceX won't file for an initial public offering until the "Mars Colonial Transporter" was flying regularly.
- In 2004, Musk made an investment of $70 million in the electric carmaker Tesla, a company cofounded by Martin Eberhard. Musk took an active product role at Tesla and helped in developing its first all-electric car, the Roadster which debuted in 2006, when Musk was serving as the chairman of the company.
- In 2008, when Tesla was undergoing a financial crisis, Musk personally saved the company from bankruptcy and invested $40 million in it. He was named the company's CEO the same year. However, between SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, Musk nearly went broke. He describes 2008 as "the worst year of my life."
- However, in late 2008, SpaceX landed a $1.5 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies into space, and Tesla found more outside investors. By June 2010, Tesla held a successful initial public offering and the company raised $226 million, becoming the first car company to go public since Ford in 1956.
- By the end of 2015, SpaceX had also made 24 launches on assignments like resupplying the International Space Station (ISS). In 2016, the SpaceX Falcon 9 made the first successful ocean landing of a reusable orbital rocket.
- In 2006, Musk became a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
- In 2016, Business Insider named him as one of the "Top 10 Business Visionaries Creating Value for the World" along with Mark Zuckerberg.
- In 2018, he was ranked 25th on Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People. Musk was also listed joint first on the Forbes list of the "Most Innovative Leaders of 2019".
- In November 2020, Musk was ranked at the second spot on Forbes' Billionaires List and on January 7, 2021, Musk was ranked as the wealthiest person in the world according to Bloomberg.
- Musk was reportedly an inspiration behind Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of Tony Stark for the 2008 film "Iron Man" and also had a cameo in the 2010 film "Iron Man 2."
- "When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor."
- "Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up."
- "If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it's not."
- "It's OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket."
- "I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary."
- "I could either watch it happen or be a part of it."
- Musk has been the subject of criticism quite a few times due to his highly-publicised controversies. After Musk's prototype submarine from Tesla was rejected from being used in the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue, he called a diver, who had disparaged the prototype, a "pedo guy". In response to Musk's statement, the diver sued him for defamation. However, a California jury ruled in favour of Musk.
- In 2018, Musk had falsely tweeted that he had secured funding for a private takeover of Tesla at $420 per share. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued him for the comment and he temporarily stepped down from chairman and settled with the SEC. The settlement included limitations on Musk's Twitter usage.
- Musk also received criticism over his views on and actions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. In early 2020, Musk likened some aspects of the novel coronavirus disease to the common cold and stated that "the coronavirus panic is dumb" and "danger of panic still far exceeds danger of corona imo. If we over-allocate medical resources to corona, it will come at expense of treating other illnesses".