Elon Musk has been named the new Steve Jobs – a visionary who will change the world and enhance our lives through applying himself to technological innovation.
But although we are all aware of his South African blood, there are quite a few things we don’t know about him. Cashkows takes a look at one of South Africa’s finest entrepreneurs…
10 things you didn’t know about Elon Musk
He founded PayPal
Although he is most famous for Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Musk made his fortune by co-founding the online payment platform, PayPal. Although PayPal is now part of eBay, it is actually worth more than its parent company, having accounted for approximately $40 billion of eBay’s total market capitalisation of $70 billion according to Investopedia.
He has South African, Canadian, British and Pensylvania Dutch ancestry
The South African-Canadian is the son of a South African electromechanical engineer and Canadian model and dietician, but he also has other blood coursing through his veins. Musk’s paternal grandmother was a Briton and he also has Pennsylvana Dutch ancestry.
He sold his first code at the age of 12
Musk taught himself computer programming at age 10, and at the age of 12, he sold his first code for a BASIC-based video game called Bastar to PC and Office Technology magazine, earning him $500.
The Hollywood character, Tony Stark (Iron Man), is inspired by Musk
Although Iron Man is based on a comic book, the inspiration behind Tony Stark’s character in the films is largely inspired by Musk. Parts of Iron Man 2 were filmed on site at SpaceX and they even gave Musk a cameo in the film.
He left university after just two days
Musk enrolled in Stanford University to study physics, but after a mere two days he reconsidered and dropped out in order to apply himself to the Internet boom. He founded his first company, Zip2, which was an online newspaper, mapping ad business directory and sold it for $307 million in 1999.
His Tesla Model S got the highest safety rating in history
His Model S electric car was awarded a 5.4 out of 5 safety rating by the National Highway Safety Administration in the USA – the highest rating ever given to any automobile.
He reduced the cost of reaching the International Space Station by 90%
As part of his dream to eventually bring ordinary people to space, Musk’s SpaceX project has reduced the cost of reaching the International Space Station from $1 billion to $60 million – a 90% cut!
He used to run a night club out of his home
After moving to Canada, Musk briefly attended Queen’s University before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania to study economics and Physics. Along with his dorm mate, Adeo Ressi, Musk rented a large house of campus to escape the cramped dorm space. In order to foot the bill, they turned the house into a club on weekends.
His hyperloop concept could change commuting forever
Tesla’s Hyperloop, which seems like a futuristic form of travel, would cut the time required for travelling between cities to minutes instead of hours. The project will ferry passengers at supersonic speeds between destinations in pressurised capsules riding on air cushions. The first project between Los Angeles and San Francisco would see passengers travel between destinations in 30 minutes at 1 223 kilometres per hour.
He takes home a $1 dollar salary per year from Tesla
Along with other high-profile executives, Tesla joined the Giving Pledge – a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The Pledge was created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in 2010, and ever since Musk has received a mere $1 salary from Tesla in addition to donating 50% of his net worth to philanthropic causes.