Elon Musk: From Young Computer Enthusiast to Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO

Image by OnInnovation

Elon Musk has become one of the largest names in the world of technology and business. With a net worth exceeding 20 billion dollars (as of August, 2017), and as the CEO of several multibillion-dollar companies, it is no wonder why his name has become associated with success.

Early Life

Elon Musk was born in the South African city of Pretoria in 1971. He began learning computer programming at the early age of 12 and sold his first code for a simple computer game for $500.


Elon Musk moved to Canada and began his college education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada at 17. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Bachelor of Science in economics in 1997.


During his college education, Elon Musk founded Zip2, a company that provided online city guide services to newspapers. In 1999, Zip2 was sold to Compaq for total value of $341 million. Musk received $22 million from the sale.

Image by OnInnovation

Elon Musk would continue to found new companies, succeed, and become the technology tycoon he is today. He founded X.com in 1999 which later became PayPal, SpaceX in 2002 after failing to negotiate cheaper prices for rockets for space exploration and research, and cofounded and led Tesla Motors when he joined its original founders in 2004.

Quotes and Advice

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”
“One particular thing that I learned at Queen’s — both from faculty and students — was how to work collaboratively with smart people and make use of the Socratic method to achieve commonality of purpose.”
Image by Steve Jurvetson
“The thing that’s worth doing is trying to improve our understanding of the world and gain a better appreciation of the universe and not to worry too much about there being no meaning. And, you know, try and enjoy yourself. Because, actually, life’s pretty good. It really is.”
“Going from PayPal, I thought: ‘Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?’ Not from the perspective, ‘What’s the best way to make money?”

When deciding on a career or job, always pursue your passion. Choose jobs and careers that are aligned with what you love to do.

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