His acquisition of Twitter could pave the way for a third revolution in the virtual world
Elon Musk probably did not need to buy Twitter so that the press, public opinion and the whole world would be preoccupied with the news of this eccentric billionaire. He is an active user of this most politically known and undisputed “elite” platform, to which Musk himself belongs, with more than 90 million followers. In June 2010, Musk posted his first post on Twitter, posting his comments, to promote his business, and sometimes to comment on contemporary political and cultural issues. But his decision to buy the platform raised some questions about the reasons that pushed the successful businessman and industrialist to return to cyberspace, from which he started first and within a short period, enabled him to enter the list of the rich of the world. to become today the list of the richest people on the planet, with a fortune estimated at about $ 300 billion, with a huge gap for the next richest person after him.
Elon Reeve Musk’s beginnings do not refer to a “modest” social and financial education. He was born on June 28, 1971, to a Canadian mother and a white South African father and grew up in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
Mother May Haldeman, a model and nutritionist, was born in Saskatchewan, central Canada, but grew up in South Africa. Father Errol Musk, an electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant and real estate developer, once owned half of an emerald mine in Zambia near Lake Tanganyika. He has a younger brother, Kimbal, and a younger sister, Tosca.
When Elon Musk was a child, he underwent adenoidectomy because doctors suspected he was deaf. But his mother later said he was living “in another world”.
In his youth, his family was so wealthy that his father once said, “We had so much money and sometimes we could not close the closet.” His father was elected to the Pretoria City Council as a representative of the Progressive Anti-Apartheid Party and his sons were said to share his hatred of apartheid. Two years after his parents divorced in 1980, Elon Musk chose to live with his father in Pretoria and elsewhere. A choice he later regretted, to separate from his father, describing him as “a terrible human being … He has done almost everything bad you can think of”. He has a half sister and half brother by his father.
In his youth, Elon attended Sunday Evangelical School. By the age of about ten, Musk had developed an interest in computers and video games and had learned to program computers using a manual. At the age of 12, he sold his video game “Blastar” in a computer magazine for about $ 500. From his family and friends it is reported that he was a shy and introverted child, who was bullied throughout his childhood and taken to hospital after a number of boys threw him off the stairs. He then attended Waterclough House Preparatory School and Bryanston High School before graduating from Boys’ High School in Pretoria.
Realizing that it would be easier to enter the United States from Canada, Musk applied for a Canadian passport through his mother. While waiting to receive his passport, he attended the University of Pretoria for five months, which allowed him to avoid compulsory service in the South African military. After arriving in Canada in June 1989, he lived with his second cousin in Saskatchewan for a year, working odd jobs on a farm and lumber mill.
In 1990, he joined Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Two years later, he transferred to the prestigious University of Pennsylvania in the United States, where he graduated in 1997 with a degree in Physics and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from his renowned economic institute, The Wharton School.
In 1994, Musk did two summer internships in Silicon Valley, California: at energy conservation startup Pinnacle Research Institute, which researched electrolytic energy conservation supercapacitors, and at Rocket Science Games. Appearing to develop rockets in the city of Palo Alto (south of San Francisco).
In 1995, he was admitted to the Ph.D. program in Philosophy of Materials Science at the famous Stanford University in California. Musk tried to find a job at Netscape but got no response, and two days later left Stanford University, deciding instead to join the then-growing internet “bubbles” and open up his company.
With the world of the internet
In 1995, Musk, his brother Kimball and Greg Cory founded a software company called Zip2 with investors. They set up the project in a small rental office in Palo Alto. The company developed and marketed an online city guide to the newspaper publishing industry, with maps, guides, and yellow guidebooks. Here, Musk says that before the company was successful, he could not afford an apartment, and instead rented an office, slept on the couch, took a shower at a YMCA center, and shared a computer with his brother. He also points out that when he and Kimball can not agree on business decisions, they resolve their disputes through wrestling. According to him, “The site operated during the day and I coded it at night, seven days a week, all the time.”
The Musk brothers secured contracts with the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune and persuaded the board of directors to abandon plans to join another company. Musk’s attempts to become CEO were later thwarted by the board of directors, and Zip2 was subsequently bought by Compaq for $ 307 million in cash in February 1999, and Musk received $ 22 million for 7 percent of his shares.
Some consider this company, and the money he has received from its sale, to be the station he started with his brother Kimball. In the same year, he co-founded Internet Bank “X.com”, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form Paypal, which was acquired by eBay in 2002 for 1.5 dollars. billion.
In 2001, Musk joined the nonprofit Mars Association. He plans to set up greenhouse incubators to grow plants on Mars, which he will fund himself. In October 2001, Musk traveled to Moscow with his partners Jim Cantrell and Mike Griffin to purchase refurbished ballistic missiles that could send greenhouse incubators into space, and met with Lavochkin and Cosmotras. However, Musk was seen as a novice and greeted with contempt by one of Russia’s leading stylists, with the group returning to the United States empty-handed.
But in February 2002, the group returned to Russia to search for three ballistic missiles. Cosmotras offered a rocket for $ 8 million. However, Musk turned down the offer, deciding instead to open a company to build rockets and space transport services at reasonable tariffs. In that year, he also founded SpaceX with a capital of $ 100 million from his early fortune, estimated at $ 100 billion by the end of 2021, where he holds the position of CEO and chief engineer to date.
SpaceX and Tesla
Perhaps the biggest project Musk began planning to implement, and that could shed light on the background of his recent decision to buy Twitter, was the construction and development of the Starlink constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites. In 2015, the company SpaceX began deploying these satellites to provide Internet service to all parts of the Earth from space, without the need for cables and ground stations. The total cost of the ten-year project is estimated at about $ 10 billion.
The project has been criticized by astronomers who said these satellites “obscure the view of the sky” and could lead to a collision. But Musk refuted these claims, saying they have no effect, that space is too big and satellites are too small.
With the start of the Russian occupation of Ukraine, Musk condemned the occupation and announced measures to support Ukraine’s defense, such as providing the country with free access to Starlink, for which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky personally thanked. Despite this, Musk refused to ban Russian state media from Starlink satellites in response to the invasion, describing the network as “absolute freedom of expression.”
In 2004 he joined electric car maker Tesla Motors (now called “Tesla Corporation”) as president and product engineer, becoming its CEO in 2008. He also founded the Boring Company, a tunnel builder, to propose a Hyperloop tunnel. »For high-speed transportation, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as between New York and Washington, DC, and another, more ambitious one, to connect the East Coast of the United States with its West Coast. While Tesla is the crown jewel in Elon Musk’s projects, especially as it is the main source of revenue and profits for his fortune and institutions, some see a link between all of his ambitious and bizarre projects, reminiscent of stories and movies. of Hollywood for the Rich. aspire to control the world.
In 2006, he helped found Solar City, a company that was later acquired by Tesla and renamed Tesla Energy. In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit research firm that advances artificial intelligence. Then, in 2016, he co-founded Neurolink, a neurotechnical company focused on developing brain-computer interfaces. Finally, last month, Elon Musk bought Twitter for $ 44 billion, in a deal that constituted a major business event and sparked much scientific, economic and political speculation. The irony here is that while waiting for a TV show in 2021, Musk discovered he had Asperger syndrome (a mild form of autism spectrum disorder), which affects the ability to communicate effectively.
His family and emotional life
Musk met his first wife, Canadian writer Justin Wilson, while studying at Queen’s University, and they were married in 2000. He contracted malaria that year while on vacation in South Africa and nearly died. In 2002, their first child, Nevada Alexander, died 10 weeks later from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The couple then decided to use IVF technology and they gave birth to twins Xavier and Griffin in 2004, followed by triplets Kay, Saxon and Damien in 2006. However, the couple split in 2008 and shared custody of five children. In 2008, Musk began dating English actress Talulah Riley and they were married in 2010 in Scotland. In 2012 he announced his divorce from Riley, to remarry her in 2013. In 2014, he filed for a second divorce from Riley, with the second divorce ending in 2016. In 2017, he was told that was friends with actress Amber Heard for several months after he had been harassing her since 2012. Actor Johnny Depp later accused him of having an affair with his wife Heard when she was still married, which Musk and Heard denied , in a trial that is still in force today. In 2018, Musk revealed his relationship with Canadian musician Grimes and had a child with him, whom they named “XA” as they had to change him for violating California regulations. They then had their first daughter, “Exa Dark Sideril”, nicknamed “Y” in December 2021, three months after Musk announced they were half separated and they maintained a good relationship.
Musk moved to Texas in late 2020, after twenty years in California, the headquarters of Tesla and SpaceX, politically criticizing the liberal state because, he said, he was “satisfied” with its economic success.