TECH BOSS: Elon Musk

Elon Musk, the South African born billionaire and CEO of the car manufacturing company Tesla Motors has been recently making international headlines.

On June 12th of 2014, Musk announced in a press release that Tesla’s patents will be released to the public in an effort to grow the electric car industry, and steer away from the large-scale burning of hydrocarbons.  This took the public and other corporations by surprise.  You would think that a company would not want its competitors to get a hold of their patents, but clearly Tesla values innovation and joint progress over patent-secured profits.

Musk was born in Pretoria on June 28, 1971.  He attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Pretoria Boys’ High School.  After acquiring Canadian citizenship through his mother, he attended Queens University in Ontario, Canada and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, where he completed two BA degrees in Economics and Physics.

His name sounds similar to Emmet Brown, the crazy scientist from the Back to the Future Trilogy.  Like Doc, Elon is an inventor.  His talents were apparent at the age of 12 when he taught himself computer programming, and sold the code for game he developed for US$500.  He continued driving his passion for technology with his first start-up software company, Zip2 which was sold to Compaq in 1999. He then co-founded, which later became a part of Paypal.  He was paid US$165 million for his 11.7% share in the company when it was sold to Ebay in 2002.  Musk’s next project was Space-X, a space transport services company based in California.  The Space-X factory was featured as part of the set in Iron Man 2 and Musk appeared in a cameo role for the film.  He joined Tesla Motors in 2004 as an investor and became the chief architect in 2008.  Musk currently ranks 138th on Forbes’ Rich List with an estimated net worth of US$12 billion, and is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX and the CEO and Chief Product Architect at Tesla Motors.

Musk’s work in clean energy, space exploration and technology has fuelled innovation and his decisions have changed the world. His success proves that a strong vision of the future and perseverance in realising your vision can not only make you a lot of money but also change the course of history.