Elon Musk is known for his wild ideas and bold claims. South Africa-born Musk, who is behind electric car manufacturer Tesla and space exploration firm SpaceX, has some crazy ideas for the future. Some of his ideas include a futuristic transportation system known as the Hyperloop, a human colony on Mars helped by affordable space travel, linking our brains to computers and developing micro-satellites to deliver low-cost internet access to the masses among others. All of this makes Musk one of the most controversial and unique entrepreneurs of our time.
According to Forbes, Musk has a net worth of $22.3 billion, making him the 40th richest person in the world. Though very popular across the world, there are some aspects of the 47-year-old Silicon Valley billionaire’s life that might still surprise you. Read on:
Musk almost sold Tesla to Google
In 2013, Musk nearly sold Tesla to Google for $11 billion, according to Ashlee Vance, author of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. At the time, Tesla’s future was looking bleak, and Musk reached out to Google’s co-founder and CEO Larry Page for a takeover.
Musk proposed that Google buy Tesla for $6 billion and assure him he would spend another $5 billion in factory expansion. Musk also insisted that Page let him run Tesla for eight years. The deal stalled at the last hour because Model S sales started to pick up. In 2019, Tesla’s worth is estimated to be around $23 billion.
Musk dropped out of Stanford after just two days
At the age of 17, Elon Musk moved from South Africa to Canada, along with his mother, sister and brother. He spent two years studying at Kingston’s University in Ontario. He then earned two bachelors’ degrees (one each in physics and economics) from the University of Pennsylvania. Later, he moved to California to enroll for Ph.D. in applied physics at Stanford University. But after two days, he dropped out to start Zip2 Corporation, a company he co-founded with this brother Kimbal, that provided licensed online city guide for newspaper publishers. He sold the company in 1999 for $300 million to Compaq.
Musk made a cameo on ‘The Simpsons’, The Big Bang Theory
Musk made a guest appearance on the popular show The Simpsons in 2015. The charismatic CEO starred in the episode, titled “The Musk Who Fell to Earth” in which he (voiced by Elon Musk) comes to Springfield in a spacecraft and gets inspiration from Homer Simpson. That same year, Musk also starred in an episode of popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He played himself in the episode.
Musk created a video game at 12 and sold it for $500
At the age of 12, Musk wrote the computer programming code for a video game dubbed “Blastar”. It’s a simple science-fiction inspired game, similar to classic Space Invaders. Musk received $500 when the source code was published by a South African publication PC and Office Technology. It was the first product Musk ever sold. You can play “Blastar” by clicking here.
Musk bought James Bond’s submarine car for close to $1 million
In 2013, Musk bought James Bond’s classic submarine car at a London auction. The SpaceX CEO reportedly paid $968,000 for the submersible Lotus Esprit featured in the 007 classic “The Spy Who Loved Me”. Back then, it was reported that Musk wanted to transform the car into a submarine. It’s said that the Lotus was lost after its initial appearance in The Spy Who Loved Me, but in 1989 was rediscovered, wheel-less and wrapped in blankets, in a storage container in Long Islands in New York.
Musk ran a nightclub to pay rent
When he was still studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and his roommate Andeo Ressi, rented a large house and converted into a nightclub so that they could earn money to pay rent. It wasn’t a small setup – the club could hold as many as 1,000 people, according to Vogue. “There were some nights where I’d be like, ‘Where’s Elon?’ and I’d go up to his room and pound on the door and he’s in there alone playing a video game,” Ressi told Vogue.
Musk was Robert Downey Jr’s inspiration for Stark
Did you know that Robert Downey Jr used Musk as the inspiration for his character Tony Stark in 2008 film Iron Man? In a piece published in Time Magazine, Iron Man director Jon Favreau admitted that Robert Downey Jr turned to Musk to help him learn the mannerism of a tech-savvy billionaire. Musk also had a cameo in the movie Iron Man 2.
Musk started a school to teach his kids
Elon Musk is running a school at SpaceX headquarters called Ad Astra, which is Latin for “to the stars”. The school is attended by Musk’s own kids along with children of some SpaceX employees. According to tech website Ars Technica, the non-profit school has been operational since 2014.
Musk originally founded Ad Astra to provide his children with schooling that “exceeds traditional school metrics on all relevant subject matter through unique project-based learning experiences,” according to a document filed with the Internal Revenue Service and originally spotted by Ars Technica.
According to an Ars Technica report, the kids work together in teams and there is a heavy emphasis on math, science, engineering, and ethics. There is no grade system at the school. It’s being reported that as many as 400 families applied in 2017, though the school has only 50 students.
Musk inspired by rapper Kanye West
The billionaire CEO says he’s inspired by Kanye West, the famous rapper. In 2018, during a Q&A session at South by Southwest, Musk was asked, “Everyone in this room is inspired by you – who are you inspired by?” “Well, Kanye West, obviously,” he said. Musk has been publically praising Kanye West for years. In 2015, he wrote a short bio about Kanye inTime magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people.