If you weren’t interested in Elon Musk before, the recent launch of the Crew Dragon might have sparked your intrigue. From space travel to public transport, virtually every field has felt Musk’s influence.
Undoubtedly, he has achieved a lot in his nearly 49 years of existence (his birthday is on June 28th). Here are 30 facts about the tech billionaire to feed your curiosity.
1. He was born in Pretoria, South Africa. His father, Errol, is an engineer and pilot from South Africa and his mother, Maye, is a dietician and model from Canada.
2. Kimbal is his younger brother, the owner of a restaurant in America called the Kitchen Restaurant Group. Tosca, his younger sister, is a director and filmmaker.
3. The three of them were given the same middle name, Reeve. Weirdly enough, a petition was created on change.org requesting Elon Musk to change his middle name to ‘Gated.’ It did gain 5 supporters.
4. He was really quiet as a kid, so much so that his parents thought he was deaf.
5. One of the first of Elon Musk’s ventures was going door-to-door in a wealthy neighborhood selling Easter eggs made of homemade chocolate with Kimbal and their cousins.
6. When he was nine, he finished reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. He was also a big Dungeons and Dragons fan. Although ‘Nerd Do Well’ would be an apt title for his autobiography, he can’t use it as author Simon Pegg already has the copyright.
7. One of Musk’s worst experiences in life was being bullied in primary school. It was so appalling that he was hospitalized once, after he was pushed down a flight of stairs by a gang of boys. On another occasion, he was almost beaten to death. He learned wrestling, karate, and judo to combat this and soon after, the bullying stopped.
8. His father was convicted for manslaughter after he fatally shot 3 men who tried to break into his mansion in Johannesburg. He was later acquitted.
9. His father had a son with his stepdaughter Jana Bezuidenhout (who is 40 years younger than him) some time after divorcing Heide, her mother. Musk and he haven’t been in contact for a long time.
10. Musk is a self-taught coder from age 12. That was around the time when he created Blastar, a video game that he sold to PC and Office Technology magazine for $500.
11. He went to Queen’s University, which is where he met his first wife, Justine Wilson, a sci-fi writer. They married in 2000 and had a child, Nevada, two years later. The child passed away because of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at 10 weeks. In 2004, they conceived their sons Griffin and Xavier, who are twins, through IVF. Also through IVF, they conceived triplets Damian, Kai, and Saxon in 2006.
12. He named his son Xavier based on Professor Xavier from X-Men.
13. Tallulah Riley is his second wife. He had met her in 2008 at the Mayfair’s Whisky nightclub, proposing to her in that year. In 2010, they married and got divorced two years later. In 2013, they remarried and got divorced again three years later.
14. The unique name of his newborn, X Æ A-12, made the rounds on the internet early in May. However, Grimes (his partner) and he simply call him ‘Little X.’
15. His height is 6’2.
16. He has an estimated IQ of 155.
17. He had a fortunate educational journey. Having earned degrees in economics and physics from UPenn, he went on to complete his PhD in physics from Stanford. However, he dropped out two days later though, as the tech startup industry at the time was much more lucrative.
18. His net worth is at $37.2 billion which is nearly a fourth of the net worth of Jeff Bezos.
19. He makes a salary of $1 from Tesla, about the amount of money he lived off of when he came to the US from South Africa for college (a lot of it went to hot dogs and oranges).
20. Crew Dragon astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are the 567th and 568th people to arrive in space, defining spaceflight as being higher than 100 km from the ground (this is the definition of the French organization Fédération Aéronautique Internationale; the US definition includes lower heights).
21. Just as Musk tweeted on May 1 of this year that Tesla’s stock price was ‘too high,’ it plummeted and lost $15 billion of its valuation.
22. Tesla is named after Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla. If he was denied rights to the name, he would have called it Faraday (after Michael Faraday).
23. The Falcon rockets of SpaceX are named after the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars.
24. He founded his first-ever software company, Zip2, with his brother Kimball. In 1999, he sold the company for around $300 million and co-founded X.com, an online banking service (this was later changed to the now-familiar e-wallet company PayPal).
PayPal was also sold off, but this time at a much higher value: to eBay for 1.5 billion. As we are well aware, his enterprises don’t end there: in 2002, he founded SpaceX and in 2004 he joined Tesla as its chairman, having invested in the company. The Boring Company and Neuralink are two of his other companies, aiming to revolutionize the fields of AI and public transport.
25. “My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku [ritually disembowel himself] than fail.” Those were his exact words to an investor.
26. When Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement, Musk resigned from both the business councils that he had agreed to serve in.
27. Stan Lee said that he based Tony Stark on Howard Hughes, but Robert Downey Jr based his portrayal of the character on Musk.
28. Musk played cameo roles in Iron Man 2, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, and South Park.
29. He said that the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me was an inspiration for Tesla car models. He even bought the Lotus Esprit from the film called “Wet Nellie.”
30. Musk is planning on revealing the Cybertruck in November 2019 as it is the year that the sci-fi film Blade Runner is set.