The world-changing visionary and innovator – that’s how the world knows the 45 year old billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. To me, he’s just a guy with batshit crazy ideas and nuclear drive to back those ideas.
Yes, he’s not the best when it comes to taking criticism, as he very well demonstrated by suing Top Gear and The New York times for supposedly inaccurate Tesla reviews (he lost the Top Gear case, by the way).
But how can one be so passionate about what he does and not get hot-headed when injustice is being done upon his life’s work?
And yes, his gorgeous wife probably divorced Elon because of how business-crazed he was. Seriously, spending your last $35 million to keep Tesla’s production going when your wife is busy with five school-aged kids doesn’t seem like the wisest decision.
However, nothing comes without a price, and the sacrifices Elon made to keep his ideas alive are by no means unique or the biggest in the history of entrepreneurship.
That’s why I don’t just accept his personality – I admire it. I’m fascinated by how he came out of a tough childhood burning with entrepreneurial determination, and by how he put everything he had into a sinking business – and won. Elon Musk, ladies and gentlemen – the guy with enough thrust to reach Mars.
“He was a really lonely kid”
Back in high school, Elon had to endure harsh bullying. In South Africa, where many consider themselves as ‘passers by’, the vocal and non-conformist Musks were almost considered a different race – and they grew up well aware of that.
One time Elon’s classmates beat him up so badly that he had to have a surgery later in his life to fix the damage.
How did he deal with the situation? He locked himself in his inner world, delving into coding and reading books, determined to one day achieve what nobody said he could.
Soon, business and development became the essence of his life, and the Internet company he founded merged with PayPal in 2001. He made $170 million off of PayPal’s IPO.
“Personal bankruptcy was a daily conversation”
Back in 2008, Tesla had severe financial issues. In fact, it almost collapsed, and Musk simply couldn’t let that happen – even if that meant spending his last $35 million that he made from the PayPal deal to keep the production going.
And that’s exactly what he did. As a result, he got the funding that let him sell parts of the company in small portions. Which led to the birth of Model S.
The flipside of that coin is that somewhere in 2009, he went broke.
In addition to all that, he was suing his wife in a divorce case. Imagine yourself in his shoes.
At that point, Elon had two choices: launch a premature Tesla IPO or borrow money from friends. As you can guess, he sacrificed for the good of the company once again, getting himself into debt.
The rest of Musk’s story is well known. What I wanted to put emphasis on is what he had to go through and the decisions he made during highly complex times.
Whenever I think I’m having a bad streak in business, I just remember Elon’s story, and my day gets brighter.