With an estimated fortune at $17.3 billion (2017), Elon Musk is ranked 21st on the list of the world’s most powerful people, according to Forbes. Born in South Africa, Elon is considered by many “to be the man who is revolutionizing sectors such as solar energy, electric cars and the space industry”.
Elon Musk is currently the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, a company specialized in aerospace technology, and CEO and Chief Architect of Tesla Motors, the most innovative manufacturer of electric cars. Elon also holds most of the shares in SolarCity, which is now the second largest supplier of solar energy systems in the United States. One of his plans for the future is to develop the medium-distance and high-speed transport of the future, which he calls Hyperloop.
Elon’s entrepreneurial career began in 1995 in the Internet sector, when, along with his brother, he created Zip2, a software company with only $2,000 loaned by his father. Zip2 was sold to Compaq in 1999 for $307 million. Musk received $22 million for the 7% stake it held at the time of the sale.
Using part of the money from the Zip2 sale, Elon founded X.com, an online payment company which would later be known as PayPal. In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for US $1.5 billion, of which Musk received 165 million, corresponding to 11.7% of its share of the company.
Elon, often says that his main motivation lies in the fact that he wants to do things that he loves and that can be useful to people. It was the motivation that led him to create SolarCity or Tesla, on a mission of fighting global warming.
“I like to do things that I love but that are also useful to other people”
According to Musk, companies are essentially groups of people organized to create products or services, and these will only succeed if people are effectively motivated to create or develop them. In addition to motivation, Musk also considers it’s important that companies bring together “tons” of people with high talent.
“Businesses are a way to amplify an excellent engineering concept developed by smart people. Important technological problems are solved in this way. “
Musk believes many companies fail or stagnate for a number of reasons, one of which has to do with the fact that they seek solutions to problems that have little or no viability of success. Usually, this is a consequence of the inability to attract essential talents to work the solutions to these problems, or the lack of money to do so.
“The goal is usually much further than you think”
According to Musk, success is not guaranteed. He also confesses that the fear of not being successful in his companies is one of the reasons that causes him more stress. He acknowledges that his fear is now greater than when he was repeatedly in physical danger at the time he was walking with his father in South Africa or in the forests of Zambia.
To learn more about Elon Musk’s ideas and projects, see this interview with TED Talks in April 2017: