Elon Musk is certainly one of the most interesting men in the world. He is an engineer, inventor, investor, explorer, visionary and entrepreneur. Among his famed accomplishments, Elon is making the world a better place by securing our online funds as the co-creator of PayPal, creating SolarCity to make renewable energy a feasible reality, developing Tesla Motors to advance the electric cars, and inventing the Hyperloop to make mass transit more effective and efficient. Oh, by the way, his is also creating SpaceX to advance the technology of rockets to conduct space explorations and he has 5 children!! His focus is not on one field, it spans many. People follow his every move to see how the world will change with his visions that he turns into usable products.
“If anyone in our generation has the chance of being remembered 200 years from now for his or her work, it’s probably Elon Musk,” states Fast Company Magazine.
Elon was born in Pretoria, South Africa but dreamed of moving to the United States. As a child his mother said that Elon often “drifted off into a trance” and “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.” In fact, his parents and doctors thought he was deaf because he would not respond when in this trance. The doctors had his adenoid glands removed thinking that would improve his hearing, but it did not. Elon was dreaming and creating the future in his mind. He was and still is an avid reader and gained knowledge on many topics. He read a book on programing computers and knew this was the future. When he was 12 years old, he created a video game called Blaster that he sold to a computer magazine for $500.00. At this early stage in his life, Elon was demonstrating that he had the intellectual skills needed, not only to design and create the game, but the practical skills to make it a marketable product. This early success would give him the self- confidence to invent his life instead of just living it.
Elon stated, “I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” Elon is in a constant state of learning. “If something is important enough- you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure.” Elon remarked. He is a continuous student of learning as much as he can then testing the boundaries for limits and using the results, good or bad, to gain knowledge to improve processes, theories and products. Elon began his college studies at Queens College in Canada but within two years became a transfer student to the University of Pennsylvania. He would receive a Bachelor of Science degree in physics at Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Elon saw Silicon Valley as the place for innovation and wanted to be in that revolution. At age 24, Elon moved to California and started a software company with his brother. The Zip2 was an internet based city guide that they started and then Elon started the X.com which is now PayPal – a money transfer service. He sold both businesses to move on to other adventures.
As a leader, Elon is focused and leads with a conceptual vision. “The guy is pure ambition. He’s three or four steps ahead … Most of us can’t conceive these things working; he can’t conceive it failing. Period.” – Jim Cantrell, SpaceX’s first engineer. Elon is a true scientist that has the technical skills that make employees trust his leadership. Elon also has people skills that motivate individually to do things they would not normally do. “We all worked 20 hours a day, and he worked 23 hours.” — Julie Ankenbrandt on working with Musk at the start-up X.com, After an inspiring speech by Elon when a rocket failed, “I think most of us would have followed him into the gates of hell carrying suntan oil after that.” said Dolly Singh, former head of talent acquisition for SpaceX, tells Business Insider. Elon can be extreme to some people with the motivation he wants from individuals and to others, being on a project with him is an honor.
“You need an open mind to invent, and a strong will to execute. We don’t have to be insufferable to make that happen (it is possible to be opinionated, adaptable, and tactful), but innovation does require both elements.” – Elon Musk