Behind the Name

Elon Musk

Elon Musk…who is he? He is quickly becoming one of the world’s leading tech giants. As one of the founders of PayPal, Elon has gone on to create great things. Ashlee Vance, in her book “Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” reported that Elon’s childhood in South Africa was not the easiest. His parents divorced at an early age and he grew up mostly with his father in South Africa.

As reported in Queen’s Alumni Report, his mother was quoted as saying: “He read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica when he was only eight or nine, and he remembered it.” However, not everyone appeared fond of his intelligence: he was once bullied so bad that it resulted in him being hospitalized. He lost consciousness while being pushed down a flight of stairs.

But even then there were glimpses of Elon’s future talents. When he was 12 years old, he wrote his own game that he sold for about $5oo in 1984 (The Verge, 2015). Here is a link to test it out yourself. Although the game is not as amazing as one would hope in 2017, keep in mind when he sold this. Elon was only 12 in 1984, which is still impressive today. He moved with his mother to Canada a few years later, where he became an official Candian citizen.

In 1995 Elon started Zip2, a newspaper delivery company for newspaper routes for him an his brother. He later sold his 7% share for $22 million in 1999 (Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: Telsa, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future). Using 10 million from Zip2, he invested in PayPal and became its CEO. He was part of the group that referred to themselves as the PayPal Mafia (Jeffery O’Brian, Fortune Magazine, The PayPal Mafia).

In 2000, he was no longer CEO, but still served on the Board.

Elon continued using these experiences to build the future that we know of today. Today, you may recognize him as the face of Tesla and SpaceX, two companies pushing humanity into the next century with technology as its focal point. Recently Elon went on to do a TED talk in which he discusses the possibility of improving LA traffic with underground tunnels. Although he personally might have suffered from bullying when young, we can only imagine how those schoolboys must feel now and we can only imagine what Elon will do next.


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