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Here I have compiled a whole detailed post of Elon Musk’s biography in a different way. You will really enjoy reading it on our blog Milyin. Here is the whole post.
Elon Musk: Biography | His Life and All incidents
Elon Musk, has been on earth since 28th June 1971. Born in Pretoria, South Africa. He holds citizenship of South Africa, Canada and USA. In his initial life his best companion was his brother Kimbal Musk. Both were innovative to equal extent.
Elon’s accounts from his initial school days, tell that he was bullied by students and he didn’t like to go school. He today is famous for his impunctuality and funnily enough he had that problem at that time too. Younger brother Kimbal Musk had to tell the time 10 minutes ahead of actual in order to get Elon ready on time to catch bus.
He gained interest in computer programming at age of 12. He made a game called blaster at 12 and sold it to a magazine for $500. His game blaster was an evident proof that he had interest in Space. His game was concept of a space ship killing intruders.
He was good in manipulation also, when he had to publish his code for blaster game wrote his name as E.R. Musk which stood for Elon Reeve Musk. E. R. Musk gave him a serious personality and compelled people to take him seriously as such names belong to authors and respectable people.
He had a lot of love for reading. Often times when mother Maye Musk was unable to find Elon, She knew she needed to find the nearest library to get him. He whenever found a good book would sit there and start reading then and there.
He was very serious about his thoughts. He used to ignore all sounds when he was in his thoughts. Parents thought him to be having hearing problem. Doctor did an operation to remove some tissue around years for better hearing. Though, his years were perfect, he was just to deep in his thoughts
Elon had a great interest in Space. For which he read a lot of books to learn more and more about the same. He had an interest in electric vehicles also, but he never took it to seriously.
He was very optimistic in nature, specially regarding timelines which later can be seen in prominence, with his missing deadlines. At age of 17, to avoid compulsory military service of South Africa he runs to Canada
Elon Musk fed up of bullying done by other kids, and not bring interested in compulsory military service in South Africa, ran to North America at age of 17. He arrived in Canada with $2,000 a backpack and suitcase full of books.
Elon had to decide which University to choose. He shortlisted 2 universities, one being University of Water Loo, and other Queen’s University. He believed Queen’s university had better girls than Waterloo, as a result he went into the same
He had easy way through citizenship, for his mother was born in Canada. He arrived unannounced to his distinct Canadian relatives. He did various jobs to earn. He once asked in unemployment office, what was the highest paying Job, and agreed to it without realizing it was working cleaning the boiler room of a lumber mill for eighteen dollars an hour, which was a huge mistake.
Musk met his first wife, Justine Wilson, at Queen’s University in Ontario, at first look he knew she would be a hard catch. In order to get her, he tried to talk once or twice after being unsuccessful, he asked her Best Friend, “which is her favorite Ice Cream”
That day he invited her spend time together, but she decided to stay in to study, he later showed up with her favorite “two chocolate-chip ice cream cones dripping down his hands.” Musk transferred to Wharton, but kept sending Justine roses. They went their separate ways, but reconnected as Musk started working on his first startup and Justine started working on her first novel after graduation.
Musk cold be highly competitive, once he in a psychology class got 97, Justine got 98. He argues with professor to get with way too a hundred. Though he was romantic too, he once sent Justine a dozen roses each with it’s own handwritten note
He got a scholarship to University of Pennsylvania. He attended all classes of interest, he once in business class was given task to write a business model. He wrote it about solar energy and it’s need. He titled it “sun will come out tomorrow” that represented his future ideas, thoughts and believes
Elon after Pennsylvania, moved on to Stanford university, where he dropped out just after 2 days to become part of internet boom. His first being Zip2. A Google Map of that time. Though it not being as advanced as Google Maps, it was great for that time.
Elon himself told, “At Zip2, I wrote entire V1 of software for drawing vector maps & calculating point to point directions anywhere in US (first ever company to do so), as well as white pages & business listings w reviews (an early Yelp). Also wrote V1 of classifieds, autotrading & real estate apps.”
He further said, “Zip2 also built a newspaper publishing platform that brought hundreds of regional & city papers online for the first time, and made major functionality advancements to the NY Times, Boston Globe & Knight-Ridder websites. NYT, KR & Hearst were all major investors in Zip2.”
There were many difficulties faced on management end also. Internet being new concept it was difficult for pursuing businesses to get listed. They had to keep site live during day and they coded at night. Initially when they shifted to a new office, they didn’t even have internet connection for few days, till one of their known cabled it to them without permission of the provider.
Despite their difficulties they were far ahead their competition. There hard work was tremendous, and Elon many a times used to re-write a code of his team, just because he though that was the better way. These features allowed to be sold to Compaq for $307 million. Elon and Kimbal netted $22 million and $15 million respectively.
The cash he netted was used by Elon to reward himself with McLaren F1. He bought it and unlike others who keep supercars for special occasions, he drove it in streets. He from a point where he had to take bath at public places, had transformed into a millionaire
He just few days after buying was on a highway when he lost car’s control and met with accident, and car was wrecked. This didn’t matter to newly made millionaire and he bought another McLaren F1
They used it to fund http://X.com, if you have not heard it today it runs in the name of PayPal, now you know it. Elon started http://X.com to allow people send their money over internet or email. The brand was renamed PayPal
They merged with a company called Confinity, and Musk became CEO. Though soon he was removed to make Peter Thiel co-founder of Confinity the CEO.
He was still the largest Shareholder of the brand, and when Ebay acquired PayPal, for $1.5B, he gained $165 Million from the deal.
His image of successful CEO was harmed. After earning this much people buy an island and live their rest of lives over there, but that was not the case with Elon, he was not amongst people who liked free time.
Elon after sitting on a pile of $165 Million, needed something to do with it. And his interest in Space waked him again. This time he had funds to pursue his interest. In October 2001, he along with few members in Russia to buy old ballistic missiles which could be used as rockets. With 20 million dollars for deal. He reached to Russian agencies.
Russians wanted $8 Million for a rocket. Musk asked 2 rockets at same cost. Obvious answer he got was “no” After Returning back, he decided he wanted to build his own rockets. To help him so he found out a man called Tom Mueller. He had the perfect plan to meet his budget.
Tom had keen interest in rockets since he was 12, and had really creative ideas, that were needed by Elon
Merlin And Kestrel
Musk believed that NASA made a Ferrari for each launch, when honda accord could do the trick. They bought a 45,000 square piece of land for Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX. He decided that Falcon 1, there 1st project would have 2 rockets. They were named Merlin and Kestrel.
There were a lot of hirings done to carry out operations. They tested Merlin and Kestrel till they ran out of resources or something failed. They were never short of tasks. Each day could be as long as 20 hours and there were high demands by Elon. And Musk demanded high perfection, and imperfection was would he didn’t like.
In SpaceX Mary Brown, was the other hand of Musk, helping him in day-to-day task, arranging business meets, and understanding his mood to ensure no employee had the bad day, due to wrong timing.
But when Brown asked for higher pays, he asked her to take 2 week leave, and after returning she was told she was no longer required. He handled his works on his own, though later, he was supported by Gwynne Shotwell. Gwynne was President at SpaceX and later became COO SpaceX. It was the time of first launch, which was from Kwajalein Atoll. Musk and everyone reached through various means. Musk even carried his employees at his own private jet, which accommodated 6… well 7 if bathroom was used. The launch day 24th March 2006, Rocket lifted up and going high up in the sky. But 25 seconds in action It was clear that something was wrong. Rocket came soaring down back on earth. Mission failed and everyone got back to work again. Problem was supposed to be a pipe tightened improperly.
A year later 21st March 2007, they tried again this time more confident, the rocket this time launched perfectly though everyone was bit nervous. 3 minutes in, Merlin separated, and Kestrel was on works. A slight wiggle at around 4 minutes soon turned into huge fire, and rocket was never seen again.
Tesla a company founded by Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning was on its mission for emission free future. They sourced some licenses, owned for concept car T-0 from AC propulsion and started working on it. There main tasks were designing and setting up batteries, overhauling structure and studying software.
Elon invested 8 Million USD and became the largest investor and gained a controlling stake in Tesla. They started working on a car named Roadster. Full of batteries the car had to focus on speed and range.
He announced the pre bookings and allowed a lot of customization, that lead to slower manufacturing. Elon made tall promises and set a timeline of delivery 2007. In 2006, July 4th while celebrating Independence Day, realized the potential harm a fire can cause, and how vulnerable can the batteries be too fires. They took 20 batteries and small spark and few minutes were enough to blow them apart. The Roadster would have 7,000 batteries, they got back to work prioritizing safety first.
Elon’s tall promises were impossible to achieve, Eberhard and Musk started to have many debates on each aspect. This created negative market response. Musk used to do many international interviews to address it. He used to google search news and address each i issue about Tesla but market response didn’t proved to be enough
Elon, after suffering 2 failed attempts was desperate to get the third one right. Burning through his cash, he knew that this attempt could be his last chance.
He asked all his employees to insure success this time. All were highly devoted to get it running this time. 2 failed attempts were spiced up by media and the Silicon Valley’s local blog Valleywag. His image of a good CEO was spoiled to some extent.
The 3rd Falcon 1 flight was about to be launched. This time at T-0 Falcon 1 lifted off again. 180 seconds on and everything was perfect to each inch. Merlin separated and second stage ignited, a sudden unexpected thrust in Merlin lead to bumping of Merlin in second stage. And another failure was witnessed.
Musk had now burned a 100 million dollars, and had next to nothing achievements in hand. Musk knew he couldn’t afford a 5th launch and it was their last chance. This time with even great devotion, 7 days a week, 20 hours a day, Elon was fearful and excited. This time the excitement in office was little faint, for the fact that 3 launches had demotivated them.
The 4th time, they decided to have a dummy 180 pound payload instead of actual satellite, because no one wanted to see another satellite burn or go in to water.
Things Get Difficult For SpaceX
They hired a private jet to carry the body to Kwaj this time. While lowering down the plane for landing, they realized that cabin pressure was acting on body. They could here screws, and crackling noise. Plane was taken up, and they had 30 minutes to act. They found a tool kit to take help of.
They removed some screws and cut down some body to insure air movement. Plane landed, and atleast body could be saved. Though the screws removed and body cut to accommodate air pressure needed to be repaired.
Unlike NASA where any repair work would have required bringing back the craft, In SpaceX, environment was different engineers and repair parts were sent to get it fixed. The rocket was fixed and stood upright, launch day the flight was aborted at T-0 seconds due to bad weather, and they tried again the same day. They tried the same day. Elon to relax had gone to disneyland with brother Kimbal and kids. He was able to reach just a few minutes before launch.
This time around Space craft took to air, stage 1 separated properly, and stage 2 was performing it’s six minute burn, and was body was red hot. 6 minutes later the stage 2 turned of as planned, and now they had achieved what no other company had ever achieved, they were the first company to reach space. Elon later motivated employees telling that only major countries have reached space, and it was never a company thing, but we have done the impossible. We have done what seemed to be impossible.
Elon now had somewhat stopped the negative reputation momentum, now he had to deal with Cash Crunch. He was though highly optimistic and many instances.
Elon sets optimistic goals for others. An engineer named Steve Davis was asked to build “an actuator that would trigger the gimbal action used to steer the upper stage of Falcon 1.” So Davis goes to contractors who tell him they can build one … for $100,000. Musk laughs. “That part is no more complicated than a garage door opener,” he tells Davis. “Your budget is $5,000. Go make it work.” And Davis does, for $3,900. That’s the beauty.
“I don’t ever set intentionally impossible goals,” Musk says. “But I’ve certainly always been optimistic on time frames.”
Elon was facing a tough time with Tesla. Tesla for their Research and development was burning cash really fast. They had taken 80 million USD as booking amount for Tesla Roadster and were left with 9 million USD.
Tesla Cash Crunch
They were getting Roadster delayed by a year. And the ambitious cost they were targeting 80,000 USD cost and the cost was going to level more than twice. Tesla employees were leaving Tesla, for the fact that it was not able to deliver
Meanwhile Elon faced problems in his personal life. He had stated he would spend his last dollar for success of these companies. He even sold his luxuries like McLaren F1, and decided to live in Justine’s parent’s garage if needed. But that option died soon, due to tension in their relationship.
Musk had been too busy with SpaceX and Tesla that he could not give enough time to Justine. He did not like to share his problem with Justine Musk, and as a result Justine felt He had hidden some things with her. She as a result felt herself to be betrayed
Later Elon filed for divorce. After being divorced Justine could get more open with her relationship. She in her blogs started writing and criticizing Elon even more.
Added to this was ValleyWag the local blogging site of Silicon Valley that criticized Elon, for impossible promises.
Tesla needed urgent cash and added was Elon’ ambition to provide high level of customizability to users. Which led to slower manufacturing. The software programing was also taking a lot of time, for the fact that nothing like this had been ever created
Also all the top command had to be extra cautious for safety. They needed to ensure batteries don’t catch fire while driving.
Burning through cash Tesla employees tried to attract more people to put 5000 USD to pre book a car
The car which was planned to be delivered in 2007 was now delayed to late 2008. And still the future was unclear.
With Bankruptcy on the verge, Elon did calculations just to realize, only one company of the Tesla and SpaceX had chance to survive. Elon was hunting for investors for Tesla, he pursued Larry Page to out up 50,000 USD, and Bill Lee had also put up 2 Million USD. Many Tesla employees also wrote checks to there companies to keep it running.
Elon loaned 20 Million Dollars from SpaceX to fund Tesla. He sold the shares he had in Solar City. He got $15 Million from sale of data center from a company of his cousins in which he had invested. They were just merely postponing the bankruptcy. He approached Vantage Capital Fund Partners.
Meanwhile Rumours came up, that NASA was planning in $1 Billion, plan to put up for resupplying the International Space Station. Elon attended many events and interviews to popularize SpaceX and insure they could get a bite of that Billion Dollar.
Though soon they realized that NASA themselves were considering SpaceX as the biggest contendor for it. Elon was wandering with his brother Kimbal discussing problems, just when the shock arrived, NASA was investing 1.2 Billion dollars in SpaceX. Elon bursted into tears, that was the time of Christmas, and he didn’t even thought till that time to buy a gift for Talulah. He went running in the street and from the only shop that was open, bought those don’t see evil, don’t hear evil monkeys.
Elon had now got to focus on 12 launches contract they had got from NASA. These launches would be done by the Falcon 9, that was there best at that time, though now it is Falcon Heavy. Falcon 9 has a rocket 9 rockets. A rocket in center and i others encircling it.
The team at SpaceX also kept growing and day-to-day tasks kept getting difficult. Gwynne Shotwell, the present COO, who was president that time took up those responsibilities. She was an employee no. 7 kind of person and helped Elon plan his day. She also started talking to employees and keep track of works at ground levels.
Now Gwynne is COO of SpaceX and has one of the most valuable jobs in company, she gives many interviews and even gave an interview at TED. The Falcon Heavy rocket which carried Elon’s own Tesla Roadster is the mark of their power. The Falcon Heavy launched February 6th, 2018, and is the most powerful rocket mankind has ever seen.
The wonderful designing that SpaceX does came into roll into Falcon Heavy also. 9 Merlin rockets that powered Falcon 1 were arranged in Falcon 9. And in the Falcon Heavy they are 27 such rockets. Instead of making newer rockets they arranged them. And not to forget the Falcon Rocket beats it’s next most powerful rocket Saturn V by the Factor of 2, which is awesome.
They plan to get to mars not even with Falcon Heavy. They are bringing up BFR or Big Falcon Rocket, which would be by far greater than the Falcon Heavy.
Elon also plans to change the way we communicate. With SpaceX starlink. A constellation of satellites that would provide network services to remote locations in world also. Recently 2 Satrlink satellites were launched and were tested by providing internet services for a short 2 hour period.
Even though the Falcon Heavy has been tested. The bread and butter rocket for SpaceX is still Falcon 9. They have ambitious goals, they target more than 1 launch a month.
Tesla Electrifying Industry
Tesla was just out of crisis and was working marginally good when, in middle of 2012, Tesla surprised everyone with their new Model S. A $50,000 premium sedan, that could go 0-60 miles in 4.2 seconds. It could seat 7 people if back trunk was compromised for 2 additional seats. Also it had 2 instead of 1 trunks. 1 was like traditional trunks and other was where the engines in other cars are placed.
Model S had a built-in communication system, so software diagnostics and updates all happened through it. This helped Tesla roll out new features even without having to touch cars. Model S had a unordinary front looks for the air vents being positioned really low, as batteries were present in base of car. The car had an enormous 300 mile range, and was highly efficient then any other car.
They also introduced Tesla Model X late that year which was a SUV with almost all the same features, though Tesla has never focused too much over it
They started its production though it was really slow, 10 cars a week, lead to huge lines of people in wait of the car. There were many customers who complained of inconsistent performance and many other things, like improper functioning of wipers.
That was where software diagnostics allowed Tesla to satisfy those customers within few days. Tesla didn’t require much servicing as there were little moving parts, and oil changing was never required for the fact that it didn’t have any. They started making their own charging stations at various places, and called them Super Chargers. They allowed free charging, the network of Super Chargers is growing on, to allow easy travel
Tesla repair centers were terrible at that time and were usually really distant. People’s complaints kept building up. Tesla had its own showrooms for selling the cars unlike other companies, people could customize their car via an app and also test drive it. They could pic up their friends and members at family.
Another feature of Model S was its huge screen at center of dashboard that allowed controlling whole car and also the car could be controlled by its own app.
Tesla had huge demand which it was unable to meet. Tesla price kept dipping. Elon knew survival was difficult, he decided to negotiate with Larry Page at Google. He negotiated for $6 Billion, and some control over production till it became mass market producer. Google lawyers kept dealing for lesser price
Meanwhile miraculously many workers who had been asked to get into sales, where able to generate enough cash to need for years. Tesla on 8th May 2013, registered first profit after getting public. Tesla stocked from $30 in may to $130 in June.
Tesla introduced an even great software called Enhanced Autopilot, which as the name suggests is an autonomous driving level 2 system. It can when engaged maintain speed lane, !maintain distance from vehicle in front and behind. It has features like summon, which allow you to bring car to you from parking and also help in parking the car also. This had been rolled out to the Model S and X that time and later to Model 3.
Model 3 is there mid lower end price point car starting at $35000. And with almost all same features as Model S. Model 3 has a high demand and Tesla struggles to meet the demand. They announced there Tesla Semi truck which would be all electric, have a center seated driver, and cockpit like design. Built in tools and software to accommodate. Also with that launched was the Roadster, not the old one… A new roadster capable of going 0-60 in 1.9 seconds and with astonishing speeds.
SpaceX has been working on having some flights with the Falcon Heavy. The starlink constellation is on testing and just 2 sattelites have been launched at this movement. SpaceX will use it as a part time project to gain cash to fund it’s Big Falcon rocket.
SpaceX has tested its Falcon 9 Block 5, which is the 5th iteration to the rocket and will allow it to be used over a hundred times with minor inspections and checks. This is a huge boost to reusability and will even help reduce costs by huge margins.
SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket which would succeed the Falcon Heavy is still in developments. This rocket would be what SpaceX will use to reach Mars. SpaceX also plans to use it for intercontinental travel at really high speeds. It woukd take people from one part to other by going through outer space. SpaceX has promised that it would allow reaching any part of the globe within 30 minutes which at present ranges till 14 hours from normal flights.
Tesla is working on ramping up its production to meet the demand for Model 3 and start timely production of Tesla Semi, which is scheduled for 2019. The Tesla Roadster is also scheduled for 2020.
Elon recently told that it would have an advanced version of Autopilot, and the specs for Tesla Roadster told at the event were for base model.
Tesla plans to open more factories and charging stations to accommodate increasing demand internationally. Tesla has not recorded profit in past few years, though Elon has promised it will be profitable by Q3 of 2018.
Elon is working on a pickup truck by Tesla also. He just took to Twitter to ask features people would like to see in the pick up truck. Though it would start production after 2020 only
Elon has also told that there would be a SpaceX edition. Which would be fitted with 10 rockets. Now that would definitely have some high price tag and great performance, of course better than the base model. Can it be 1.5 seconds, may or may not be but it would definitely be impressive.
Elon after these 2 companies is also working on other companies side-by-side. He is working on a company called Boring Company. Which used tunnel boring machines to dig tunnels for transportation.
But when its Elon, ordinary things don’t exist. In those tunnels or Loops as Boring Company calls them, there would be electric pods that would take cars through the tunnels. They plan to have it’s speed around 250MPH. The pods would be powered by solar energy. The tunnels would be underground providing more space on land for other purposes.
There is also another tunnel that would have partial vacuum in it allowing cars to travel at even higher speeds. This would be only for longer routes. No tunnel has officialy been opened, but Boring Company has just got the permission to build a tunnel from Chicago O’Hare Airport to Downtown Chicago.
Boring Company in order to fund its projects is selling its own merchandise like hats, and flamethrowers, believe it or not they are selling like hot pancakes
Open AI is a company that Elon established to tackle increasing AI in world. Elon wants to keep a check over AI. He wants AI to open to prevent any war against AI in future due to lack of control. OpenAI itself has built its own AI platform, that was powerful enough to beat the champion of a chinese game with dew hours of learning.
Elon had got over with his 8 year relationship with Justine, during the financial crisis in 2008. Justine had given birth to twins in 2004, and triplets in 2006. Both of them share the custody of there children. Elon tries to give time to his kids, even in his tight schedule.
After there split they haven’t talked about each other much. For over 1 year, when he got up from crisis, he kept away from personal life. In 2010, he started dating British actress Talulah Riley. Talulah and Musk announced end of there relationship in 2012. Though Elon said that he would keep loving her.
They remarried in 2013, and soon Elon filed for divorce, though soon it was withdrawn. It was clear that there relationship was in trouble, and what was happened was as expected, another divorce was filed, this time around it was filled by Talulah.
Musk began his next relation with Amber Heard in 2016, and ended it up in 2017. He started dating with Canadian Musician Grimes, though we have not got to hear much about the relationship till now.
He has been used to handling criticism, to a extent that multi-billionaires, fear him. Recently Warren Buffet, taunted about way he manages his business, Elon rebutted by jokingly stating, that he was super super serious about starting a candy company.
Warren Buffet, faced serious trolls after it, and probably keep his mouth shut. Elon who is younger than Buffet, and also has less net worth and experience, but still Warren Buffet would be fearful of Elon.
Just recently 2 Tesla’s met with a accident, and got covered on front page on newspapers, with click-baity statements. Thousands of accident throughout year don’t get covered and this got covered on first page, also it was suprising that a crash of car at 60mph crashes into truck, an