At the age of 42, Elon Musk is quickly becoming an internet, business and technological superstar, a name synonymous with ground breaking technology and founder of companies renowned for disrupting industries. Many have likened Musk to the fictional genius Tony Stark
The South-African born Entrepreneur has a phenomenal track record for extraordinary talent. By the age of 12, Musk had already sold a video game having tough himself programming for $500. At an age as young as twelve it would appear that Elon was indeed a promising young prodigy. At the age of twelve it would be hard to see, given that this was 30 years ago that Elon would eventually contribute massively to the world in terms of the development of technologies that would lead to reduction in potential climate-changing emissions whilst also taking a research subject previously only really toyed with in the academic community and government based institutions.
Musks initial success came after selling his company Zip2 that he created with his brother which sold for $307 million dollars with a further few million in stock options for Compaq. So by the age of 28 Musk had already secured himself a rather large proportion of money to be able to continue on his ventures. Musk was no lottery winner, he was not going to take the newly acquired fortune and retire, go on holiday a few times a year and buy a nice crib (he certainly did that later). No Musk would continue on in 1999 to develop PayPal which so many of us use even today, day in and day out to make online purchases. By 2002, Elon had decided to sell the company to eBay, who continue to run PayPal to date. The company sold for $1.5 billion and Musk was one of the largest shareholders at the time.
Following PayPal and having already secured his place as a respected member of the Silicon Valley elite and an increasing asset to California in general, Elon decided to work on Tesla, the electric car company and Space X, the private space company. Elon maintains CEO position and chairman position at both of these companies. Both of which have come desperately close to going bankrupt since launching however are currently doing well.
Elon Musk has consistently out done himself by announcing ground breaking technologies through various mediums, only last week did he announce a gesture based system to design rockets, much like in the Iron Man movies we all know and love. When Tesla initially announced that it was not going to use the hybrid or the gasoline style engines, many in industry laughed at Tesla and dismissed it completely however now, after launching three models of purely electronic cars, people are starting to take Tesla seriously. It’s profiting, it’s paid back a government loan years before it was due. Through another of Musk’s ventures, Solar City, there has been a network of super fast charging stations developed from the west coast to the east coast and now, it appears as if mass production of electric cars is on the map. As much as one could argue that the energy productions has simply been displaced from the petrol pumps to the power plant, Musk has attempted to bring the emissions of California down by offering a solar based solution to powering the network through his SolarCity company.
Musk is a firm believer in changing the world for the better. He is known to say over and over that he wants things in the world to get better in the future and will always want the future to be better for everyone. Each development of every product he has worked on gradually gets better and better and often for the benefit of everyone. Traditional car companies like Toyota are now licensing technology from Tesla that Elon Musk has worked on.
He is not just business man either, Musk is a scientist. From his background in coding to his degree in Physics, Musk has contributed to hundreds of academic papers and holds dozens of personal patents from his various projects. His hands on work with rockets and influence in designing a rocket that can launch and land vertically is expected to change how we look at space travel and the reduction in space waste.
It is with that we have come to Elon Musk’s most recent proposal. A mag-lev based frictionless transport system known as Hyperloop and the point in which many of the Internets various commenters and bloggers have come to disagreements with Musk. It is actually the first mass criticism of Musk as people are starting to suggest that he has created a brand around himself that leads to people investing in whatever he does because he has orchestrated it so people believe he can do anything. There have been suggestions that Elon is proposing an idea that’s just not possible. Some suggest the practicality of Hyperloop is ridiculous due to the fact that you can’t have stops, it would be one destination only. Others say that it can’t be powered the way he says it can, that there is too much heat produced and that would destroy whatever was around it.
There is a very ongoing debate on the online community as to whether Musk is actually like Tony Stark. An argument, I might say is pretty pointless but something I find profoundly negative has come from it, as often does with people who think big. A large amount of criticism to Musk himself. He is an active force for good. Yes he’s a billionaire but he’s spent much of that money, much of his time doing things for the greater good of many. The work on SpaceX is groundbreaking, something that could change the future of humanity, and that’s not me trying to be sensationalist. Every development in Space Science is critical to our future as a race, the planet, so long as it exists is volatile and in a sense, we can’t keep all our eggs in one basket or all our people one planet.
Solar City is bringing California towards a greener future, something the Californian government has been trying to do for decades and since the disastrous days of Smog in SoCal.
Musk has contributed to Google+ Hangouts to encourage entrepreneurship, he has proposed ideas with the possibility of them getting ridiculed but he’s put them out there. Hyperloop shows that if we think about things differently, there can always be a better way to go about things. Even if Hyperloop turns out to be dramatically overstated it may inspire some to go about changing things, it may improve current offerings dramatically in the transport area. Tesla has shown the mass market automotive producers that electric cars are a viable option and now others are making all electric cars such as GM, BMW, Toyota and Mercedes. I’m not suggesting this wouldn’t of happened if it weren’t for Musk but with the history of intermittence with the development of EV’s it was essential that a company came along with a lot of money and drove the idea and developed it and Tesla might of just happened at the right time.
The criticism of Elon Musk is harsh. Often people sit behind there desk, see a billionaire with a nice house and assume people are being irrational in their positive opinion of such a person and proceed to blast them and whilst I think it’s important to criticise and seek flaws in certain things, blasting Elon Musk and suggesting he shouldn’t be posting prototype ideas and isn’t that good is a disastrously negative view to have on things. Musk has made money yes, but he’s also bettering things whilst he’s at it. There a many other billionaires out there that are a lot less humble and have made money off things a lot less positive yet because their out of the limelight people fail to blast them.
I for one find him a fascinating person to follow, a credit to the technology community and will continue to follow the developments of his projects.