Elon Musk: Primer of a 21st Century Triumph Story 

Elon Musk: Primer of a 21st Century Triumph Story 

Written by Mark Williams, In Celeb, Published On
December 24, 2023

Among the most successful entrepreneurs and trailblazing thinkers of the modern era is Elon Musk. Musk, whose enterprises include Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company, is leading innovations in renewable energy, space exploration, artificial intelligence, and more; he is often compared to fictional figures like Tony Stark. He has become a household name in the tech and business worlds thanks to his forward-thinking leadership and ability to create buzz.

Birth Name Elon Reeve Musk
Born June 28, 1971 (age 51), Pretoria, South Africa
Nationality South African, Canadian, American
Education Queen’s University, University of Pennsylvania
Alma Mater Wharton School, Penn Arts and Sciences
Occupation Entrepreneur, Engineer, Inventor
Known For Co-founder of Zip2, PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Neuralink, The Boring Company
Net Worth US$222 billion as of December 2023
Spouse Justine Wilson (m. 2000; div. 2008); Talulah Riley (m. 2010; div. 2012)

(m. 2013; div. 2016)

Children 11 (1 deceased)

Early Life Of Elon Musk

Elon Musk

The year 1971 was Musk’s birth year in Pretoria, South Africa. By the time he was twelve years old, he had taught himself computer programming, demonstrating an early affinity for technology. Musk, who suffered from school bullying, buried himself in literature, particularly The Lord of the Rings and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In 1989, after finishing Pretoria Boys High School, he emigrated to Canada in order to evade the South African military conscription. After spending two years at Ontario’s Queen’s University, he transferred to Penn and double-majored in economics and physics.

Entrepreneurial Endeavors:

  • Zip2 (1995) – Online city guide software co-founded with brother Kimbal and sold to Compaq for $307M in 1999
  • X.com (1999) – Online financial services company co-founded by Musk, which later became PayPal after merging with Confinity. Sold to eBay for $1.5B in 2002
  • SpaceX (2002) – Rocket and spacecraft manufacturing company focused on enabling human life on Mars, with Musk as CEO and CTO overseeing vehicle design/engineering
  • Tesla Motors (2004) – Co-founded and led Series A funding; became Chairman and then CEO in 2008. Grew the company into the market leader in electric vehicles and clean energy technology
  • SolarCity (2006) – Solar energy services company which Musk chaired and helped finance, acquired by Tesla in 2016
  • Neuralink (2016 ) – Brain-machine interface development company aiming to implant devices connecting human brains to computers; Musk is the CEO
  • The Boring Company (2016) – Infrastructure and tunnel construction company focused on underground transit networks invented by Musk
  • OpenAI (2015) – Co-founded nonprofit AI research company aiming for safe and widely distributed artificial general intelligence benefiting humanity

Other Ventures

Elon Musk

In addition to his primary business pursuits in space exploration, sustainable energy, and neurotechnology, Musk has proposed several ambitious high-speed transportation systems. In 2013, he unveiled the initial concept for Hyperloop, a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation involving pressurized pods traveling through depressurized tubes at speeds up to 760 mph. Startups have since formed to work on developing hyperloop systems. Musk has also expressed proposals for an electric vertical takeoff and landing supersonic jet aircraft.

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How Did Musk Make Money?

During the “dotcom boom” of the 1990s, Mr. Musk started two tech firms after dropping out of Stanford University’s doctorate degree in physics. The combination of online banking and web software resulted in PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. With his fortune, he founded rocket business SpaceX with the goal of creating a less expensive alternative to NASA, and he served as board chair and CEO of electric vehicle startup Tesla from 2008 to 2008. The two businesses turned their industries on their heads despite coming dangerously close to insolvency.

His most recent business venture was the acquisition of Twitter in October 2022. In the time after, he rebranded the company as X, introduced premium memberships to diversify its income from advertising, slashed the workforce significantly (including the contentious platform safety teams), and renamed the company. A multi-functional “everything app” is Musk’s vision for X. The company, which he acquired for $44 billion, is reportedly now only worth $19 billion, according to reports.

How Much Is Elon Musk’s Net Worth?

Elon Musk

He has amassed a fortune, and these contradictions appear to be an element of his charisma. Bloomberg and Forbes put their wealth at $198 billion (£162 billion) and $220 billion (£180 billion) as of November 2023. This is because he owns more than thirteen percent of Teslas. As production increased and profits started to show in 2020, some people felt the stock price surged unnaturally.

A few people thought the Twitter acquisition was to blame for the precipitous decline towards the year’s end, but things have turned around. Among Mr. Musk’s numerous smaller businesses are the tunnel-maker The Boring Company and the brain-computer startup Neuralink. He is also an advocate of digital currencies.  In his Twitter takeover, Mr. Musk—who calls himself a workaholic—made it clear that he is not in business to make money. Investor and friend of Elon Musk’s Ross Gerber states, “Elon only gets involved with things if he feels they’re critically important for some reason… for the sake of society or humanity.”

Is Elon Musk Into Politics?

Elon Musk

Mr. Musk, who became a US citizen in 2002, calls himself “half-Democrat, half-Republican”, “politically moderate,” and “independent”. He still participates in political discourse. He suggested that China construct a “special administrative zone” in Taiwan and proposed parameters to terminate the Ukraine war that many of the country’s senior officials rejected. Mr. Musk donated Starlink satellite internet to Ukraine, but he was criticized for denying Kyiv’s emergency request to activate Starlink in Sevastopol, a vital Russian navy port. In Texas, he traveled to protest California’s laws and high taxes, argued with union organizers, and called coronavirus lockdowns “fascist” in spring 2020.


With massive goals that could shape the future of humanity on Earth and beyond, Elon Musk draws natural comparisons to fictional billionaire inventor Tony Stark of the Iron Man comics and films. His brilliance and determination have rapidly advanced electric vehicles, reusable rockets, brain-computer interfaces, and infrastructure in just over two decades as an entrepreneur. Still, in his early 50s, Musk undoubtedly has ambitious plans yet to be revealed as he continues pushing technological boundaries that will influence the world for years to come.


  • Where is Elon Musk from?

Born in 1971, Musk is from Pretoria, South Africa. He became a U.S. citizen after moving to Canada at age 17.

  • How did Elon Musk make his money?

Zip2, an internet software company, and PayPal, an online payment company, were both founded by him. In 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion, which was his initial windfall. The money he made was then put back into his businesses, including SpaceX and Tesla. There is more than $200 billion in his net worth right now.

  • What companies does Elon Musk own?

In addition to being Tesla’s CEO and biggest shareholder, he also has full ownership of SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company. He helped develop OpenAI, Zip2, and PayPal, and before Tesla bought SolarCity, he was its chairman and biggest shareholder.

  • Is Elon Musk friends with Mark Zuckerberg?

The public disputes between Musk and Zuckerberg date back years and center on the topic of artificial intelligence safety regulation. Musk is no longer on good terms with Facebook, having resigned from the board of directors and made multiple public criticisms of the company’s policies.

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