Elon Musk, the SpaceX founder CEO and Tesla CEO, became the richest billionaire on the planet. Truly, it’s unbelievable as the South African’s fortunes multiplied by leaps and bounds in such a short period. And there are just so many storylines to the rise of this 49-year-old tech leader. So much, many people can’t believe when they heard the news that it’s really happening. ‘Twas not so long ago, he was just worth $27 billion in 2020.
That certainly puts him on top of his long-time rival and fellow multi-billionaire tycoon Jeff Bezos in terms of wealth (though stocks are truly volatile). But what really amazes us is his rise.
Who would think that the world’s richest man was so poor once he can’t afford an apartment? Yes, you heard that right. And who would think that a scrawny kid who was bullied as a grader was to become a super catalyst for global change? Mr. Musk must be laughing his way to the bank now. His victory (which could be temporary) means he can hold a candle against his arch-rival in space travel, Amazon’s CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos. Here’s the story of the man dubbed as a real-life Iron Man.
From bully victim to a real-life tech billionaire
For the record, Robert Downey Jr., the Iron Man actor, turned to Musk to set himself in character for the superhero flick. Indeed, it’s the Tesla top man’s passionate pursuit of technology and surreal engineering skills that have made him the closest embodiment of a real-life Iron Man.
And for the record, Elon Musk is worth $185 billion, eclipsing Jeff Bezos, who has amassed $184 billion in value. It’s such a monumental rise as the Tesla CEO was just worth about $27 billion in 2020, a value just enough to make his part of the top 50 billionaire’s club.
Who would think the scrawny kid business born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971 would become a world-renowned business magnate selling electric cars?
But even in his early days, Elon showed genius. Maye, his mother, confided that his eldest at 5 years old once told another child that darkness is just the absence of visible photons in the wavelength of 400-700nm. Indeed, his mom would call him the “Encyclopedia,” for he devoured all the encyclopedias in the room, reading them and spitting knowledge for everyone’s delight.
However, it never was easy for Elon. Being the smartest, smallest kid in the class, Elon was the object of bullying at 15. One time, they throw him down a flight of stairs beating him unconscious. He landed in the hospital.
But the little genius persisted. He fought off his demons.
Road to the top
For one, he trained in martial arts, and as he had his growth spurt, he grows bigger. As he overcame his bullies, he set his sight to greater goals: America and the Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, his father objected, belittling his plans and calling him an idiot.
But Elon cannot be denied. He was set.
In a way, this also shows why leadership is important in business. Even with apparent challenges, leaders must forge on. Moreover, this reveals why skills training in team leadership is paramount. By developing strong leaders, timely training help develop strong organizations.
Elon found his opportunity to jump to Canada via his mom. A law allowed mother Maye to pass her Canadian citizenship to his sons. Without delay, the young Musk at 17 found himself in Canada. As planned, ultimately in the United States away from his abusive father.
Yet, success didn’t come to Elon early on when he left South Africa. He had to scrape to move forward. When he lived with his mom (who followed him along with his siblings), Elon and his sister and brother had to take turns sleeping on the couch, the carpet, and the bed while renting a small apartment. So poor that during Thanksgiving, they could not afford a turkey, her mother recalled.
When he enrolled in college, Elon was still struggling. He was $100,000 in total debt.
Of course, the real-life Iron Man pushed forward. After graduating in 1997, Elon founded a city-guide software business called Zip2. His fortunes are about to change as Musk was able to sell Zip2 for about $300 million to Compaq. The money he got there, he invested in X.com, which became PayPal. He sold his shares in PayPal and got to grow some more financially.
Musk and the stories of SpaceX and Tesla
In 2002, he started SpaceX, the company that dreams of being the first colonizer of Mars. A year after, he started Tesla Motors.
It’s the stock in Tesla Motors of which he is the 20% majority owner that made possible his rise to the top, passing the greats before him: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos. To date, Elon’s ascent is the fastest rise of fortune in history.
Discussion about this post