Elon Musk – Iron man
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Elon Musk – The real life iron man
Elon Musk. The visionaire behind Tesla, Space X and Solar City. Who is this genius man. I had seen some interviews regarding him and always thought that he is very interesting, but a lunatic guy. He gained my interest and I wanted to learn more about him. I read his biography, listened to his podcasts and watched a documentary regarding his life. I gained more understanding towards him and started to be inspired by him. He is a visionaire. He is an inverter. He has a dream and he does everything in his power in order to achieve the dream. He does not give up. I think he has a very inspiring story and I am looking forward to see what Elon will come up next. There are many people who evaluate him publicly and do not respect him. I believe the reason for that is, that they have not spend the time to investigate what are the reasons he is acting the way he is. Of course in the end we are all human beings and we all make mistakes.
Elon was born in 1971 in South Africa, in a city called Pretoria, just a one hour drive from the famous Johannesburg. He was growing in the environment that was very tense. At the time, there was a strict discrimination law called apartheid which separated the white and ethnical people. The whole South Africa was living an intense and violate phase. Different races were fighting and a lot of innocent people lost their life’s. Majority of people living through this period in South Africa, did not have a chance to travel and see the world. Elon was privileged to travel and see South Africa differently. It was very common back then to praise how masculine man should be and the bigger the better man are if they have athletic bodies. Musk was completely opposite from the wanted and desired paragons. He was a bookworm and a bit introvert back in those days. Already at young age, Elon knew that things could be better somewhere else. He knew already back then that he wanted to move out, where there might be more opportunities for him. It is common for people to move out of South Africa to follow their dreams. (Vance 2015, 27.)
Only at the age of 12 Elon stepped to the publicity the first time. He had invented a game. A very simple game containing 167 lines of coding. It was called Blastar. It was not the greatest or the best, but it was a start of his career. Surprise surprise, the games strategy was to shoot aliens, who had weapens. It already showed Elons interest for space and moving vehicles such as cars. Elon’s grandparents and their parents travelled a lot and there is great stories of the Haldemans flying around in their airplane as at the time it was not so common. Elon has one sister and one brother. Every mother thinks that their child is something special and so did Maye , Elon’s mother. “ He seemed to understand things quicker than other childs” she said. Even though it seemed Elon was very clever , he had some weird symptoms. He seemed to fell into some kind of state, where he could not be reached. It was even wondered if he could be having some hearing problems. It seems that Elon is still going into this “trance” when he is inventing new projects. He is isolating himself from the world so to say. (Vance 2015, 26.)
“He goes into his brain, and then you just see he is in another world. He still does that. Now I just leave him be because I know he is designing a new rocket or something.” — Elon Musk’s mother
Elon loved to read books, no matter where you saw him, he was holding a book. He could read the whole day. When Elons parents were working , he was reading in the near by shop. He read all the books that the nearby library and the school had. After few years when Elons parents broke up , he decided to move in his fathers house , as he thought that he’s father felt lonely. There has been a lot of speculation about the whole father-son relationship, but nothing guaranteed. Elon has just stated how horrible his childhood has been because of his father. Elon has not introduced his father to his children, I guess that tells enough. (Vance 2015, 33-37.)
“Education is what is left after you have forgotten all you have learned.” — Albert Einstein
Elon and his brother , Kimbal were both interested in video games and role plays. They traveled around South Africa. They were both bullied and even beaten in school. They were not popular, at all. Even the people who spend time with the brothers got beaten up. Elon had the mentality to do things that mattered, so example learning Afrikaans was not something he thought he would need in life, he did not put effort in it. . (Vance 2015, 38.)
At his twenties Musk finally followed his dream and moved to Canada. He had some relatives who he searched and found and could live with them. He worked around doing gardening and shoveling. At collage he met a girl named Justine, who ended up being the mother for his children. Elon was found of beautiful women and it seemed like he would have done everything in his power to charm the women he was interested in. (Vance 2015, 33-37.)
“I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to 10 — how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.” — Elon Musk
First and second startups
Year was 1995 when Elon and his brother took the first entrepreneurial step.
Elon had been working in two jobs and practicing his skills with coding. He asked his brother Kimbal to move in with him to Silicon Valley and start a business with him. Back then in 1995 internet was starting to exist. People were very sceptical about it and thought that it will never work or make any sense.
The brothers thought differently , they wanted to create a page where people could find companies easily. Sort of a phonebook in digital form. They created a a page that would show a map to the closest company, example for pizzeria. It was revolutionary. The name of the company was Zip2. Errols father helped out the boys with 28 000 dollars. People started to be more interested in internet, as there was advertisements showing to go to a website. Some people believed in the brothers and came to work for them. They were trying to convince companies to buy their service. In 1998 Zip2 was trying to merge with a competitor called CitySearch. The deal never happened but Elon was removed from being the CEO of his own company. Their main focus was now to sell the company as the competition was increasing fast. Compaq Computer offered them 308 million euros for the company. Everyone made money and they got rid of the sinking ship. Later on he has been analyzing how he could have been a better leader, but he did not have any experience. “ You have to put yourself into the workers position and think, how something sounds, when you have the knowledge you have “ Elon has said. (Vance 2015, 53-62.)
“I think it’s possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary”. Elon Musk
With the money Elon earned from selling Zip2 he founded a company called X.com which turned into a company everyone knows. Paypal. The main idea of the company was that people could send money to each other easily, example over an email. Later on Ebay bought Paypal with 1,5 milliard euros. The fusion between Elons company X.com and Peter Thiel’s company Confinity did not go so well. Confinity had a service called Paypal, which was becoming popular so they merged in together to avoid competition. First time in years when Elon left for holiday, the board of Paypal fired him of being the CEO and designated Peter Thiel to be the new CEO. Elon still stayed the biggest stakeholder for Paypal. When company was sold to Ebay , Elon profited 165 million euros. Paypal was just a middle point for Elon to earn some money for the real ideas he had. He calls money “ Ben Franklins” and he is referring his investing to playing poker. The stakes in his poker game are bidding up whilst he is moving into bigger tables. (Travis Hubbard, 2021.)
“It’s all like a series of poker games, and now I’ve gone to a higher-stake poker game and carry those chips with me. I’ve spent almost all of those chips back in the new game.” Elon Musk
TESLA, SPACE X AND SOLAR CITY
Elon gained 165 millions from listing Paypal. 30 million of this he invested in a company called Tesla. Finally he had the chance to renovate cars to run with solar power, as he had always dreamed about. The founders were looking for money and Elon was looking for the next big poker table to jump in. Elon is one of the founders of Tesla and he is also leading the design process. Tesla is the most sold electric car at the moment. There has been some trouble getting the cars into service on time, as the manufacturing has gone up so quickly. 2008 Tesla was facing huge liquidity issues as they only had 9 million euros in the bank account and over 1200 orders , which had paid already but these cars had not been prepared or even started yet. Elon needed to make a choice between Tesla and Space X. Money was out. He was already using other peoples investments, which is a felony and could lead to prison. Somehow he managed to prevent bankruptcy by gathering all of his personal money and finding investors who believed in Tesla. Space X got a deal from NASA which saved their liquidity problems. Elon was so short on money that he could not even buy a Christmas present for his girlfriend.( Hubbard, 2021 & Vance 2015, 161-163.)
Space X is one of Elons baby. He has been always interested about space and how to conquer a different planet. The main focus for Space X was to come up with cheaper rockets than the already existing ones. The team travelled to Russia and negotiated about rockets, without success. On the way back from Russia, Elon calculated that it might be possible to make their own rockets with cheaper price. (Vance 2015, 87.)
Elon invested over 100 million dollars into Space X. Once the first prototype Falcon 1 rocket was ready to launch, Elon wanted the engineers to create a model rocket that he could show for the public and create some hype around Space X. Elons trusted worker Hollman was working around the clock and broke his glasses at work. Elon heard about it and booked him an appointment for eye laser surgery and paid for it .Elon wanted that his workers could work without any obstacles. When the first launched rocket failed, workers were devasted. Elon immediately gave a speech and inspired workers to move on. Somehow workers pulled up and continued to work. People were working with Space X rockets on a small island in the middle of nothing. Some of them had not seen their families for years. (Vance 2015, 103-104 & 157.)
2008 they broke the record when Falcon 1 was the first privately designed rocket which reached the orbit. Nowdays they have already sent manned spaceships to space. They created Starlink- service, which can bring internet to places it was not possible to use before. They used these products recently in Ukraine because of the war situation. Their vision is to create a habitable environment in Mars. ( Tesla, 2022 )
Solar City company was owned by Elons cousins. The idea of the company was to buy the solar panels from elsewhere and install them to houses. They calculated the electricity usage of the household, how much household could benefit from solar energy. Clients could buy the systems with credit and pay with part payment or by renting the panels.Tesla bought the company and it was turned into Tesla Energy. It was only clever to combine these two companies, but it created a lot of pressure for Elon as he was seated in both of the companies’ boards. Stakeholders of Tesla were not so confident of this purchase. Tesla started to use solar roofs in the cars few years ago. They have also started to sell the solar roofs to households in the US. ( Hamilton, 2022. Vance 2015, 247.)
All of Elon’s projects are combined together. There is a reason he has invested in electric cars, space and solar energy. It seems like solar power is going to become our main source of power in the future. Teslas strategy is to manufacture batteries, that are sold by Solar City. Solarcity is creating stations where Tesla can provide free energy for Tesla owners. From Space X he is getting useful information that he can use in developing the other two companies. (Vance 2015, 249-250.)
A shy and introvert guy who has Asperger’s syndrome, it’s quite unique to think that this man is running two huge companies and partying in Hollywood with celebrities like Leonardo Di Caprio. Elon has shown that anyone can change and be what ever they dream to be. With hard work anything is possible. Elon’s dedication for his companies has paid off. It was worth it to work 22 hours a day and sleep in the office floor.
Whilst Elon was working closely with solving problems with his companies, he was not present in the children’s lives as much as he would have wished. Many people have opinions regarding this, as for many people these are the main values in life, family and kids. Justine, Elons wife got tired of being a trophy wife and they filed for divorce. Soon after that, he was seen publicly with a young lady called Talulah Riley. Elon is known for loving beautiful women. (Vance 2015, 148-149.)
“I do think of him as the Terminator. He locks his gaze on to something and says, ‘It shall be mine.’ Bit by bit, he won me over.” — Justine Musk, Elon’s ex-wife
Elon came to States empty handed, without anything. He was scrolling around the streets with his skateboard , knocking on doors and sold consulting for companies for internet, which they had not even heard about. He lost a child. He was humiliated by the press and almost lost both of the companies that he calls his baby’s. But he never gave up. And look where it took him. He is now one of the wealthiest man on earth and his companies are helping out millions of people every day in their everyday functions. (Vance 2015, 165 & 245.)
Tweets and buying Twitter. Elon is known for his tweets. He is a very active user.
Elon made a bid of 44 milliard dollars to buy Twitter. His main purpose for this was to be able to add an “ edit “ button to the application. He wanted it to be transparent service for all the users. He wanted to encourage freedom of speech.
Elon has been publicly concerned regarding artificial intelligence taking over the world. Elon has been studying and developing robots for his entire life. These technologies are used for good at the moment, but what would happen if it ends up in wrong hands? AI has been already able to recognize, smell and taste. It has started to be very close to human capacity. People have started to scare if AI is developing too much and could it start to have concence? ( Youtube, 2022.)
“As AI gets probably much smarter than humans, the relative intelligence ratio is probably similar to that between a person and a cat, maybe bigger,” Elon Musk
Its clear that Elon will not quit. He will keep on inventing new life changing innovations. He’s purpose for life is to change the whole universe and mankind.
People are being sceptical about Elons motives and purposes. According to himself and his former wife money is not motivating Elon.
“One night he told me, ‘If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal.’ ” — Nicholson
I think the actions we have seen that he has taken has shown that his motives are deeper than just money, but as a businessman he wants success for his companies.
“We all worked 20 hours a day, and he worked 23 hours.” — Julie Ankenbrandt
Antti Tolonen – 2018. Read on 4.10.2022. Link:https://www.blinkhelsinki.fi/blogi/3-asiaa-jotka-voimme-oppia-elon-muskilta
Isobel Asher Hamilton, 2022. Read on 5.10.2022. Link: https://www.businessinsider.com/solarcity-tesla-energy-beleaguered-history-elon-musk-2021-7?r=US&IR=T#since-solarcity-became-tesla-energy-its-brought-out-two-big-flagship-products-the-powerwall-and-the-solar-roof-7
Jesper Eklund , 2022. Read on 4.10.2022. Link: https://coinmotion.com/fi/elon-musk-kryptomaailman-avainhenkilot-4/
Article picture, tweet. Link: https://www.sijoittaja.fi/343586/musk-ostaa-twitterin/
Spotify: Elon Musk talks Twitter, Tesla and how his brain works – Ted talks daily
Travis Hubbard, 2021. Read on 4.10.2022. Link: https://entrepreneurshandbook.co/21-years-ago-elon-musk-was-fired-from-paypal-heres-how-he-bounced-back-e89119aa6df
Vance, A. 2015. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Hämeenlinna: Karisto Oy.
Youtube, Stunning AI shows how it would kill 90%. w Elon Musk. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Mdq3n6kgk