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If you use PayPal, ever heard of the space program SpaceX, and wish you could drive one of those sleek electric Tesla Motors cars your neighbor just bought, then likely you’ve heard of Elon Musk – the entrepreneur and tech genius behind these and other world improving inventions.
At just 10 years of age, Elon Musk, unlike other kids who are into video playing games, was into learning how to program them instead. He even sold his first piece of software that he created when he was only 12 years old.
When he was only 17, Musk decided to leave his home in South Africa to attend Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He studied both physics and business – which of course played a crucial role in his success.
Eager to hone his entrepreneurial chops, Musk dropped out of Stanford’s applied physics PhD program to start his company, Zip2 Corp. Musk’s company, which provided online city guides, was bought by Compaq for a whopping $307 million just two years after its launch!
After the sale of Zip2, Musk went on to create another company which provided online financial and payment services called X.com. Then in 2000, X.com merged with another company to become PayPal, the online payment service we all use and love today.
After changing the way we exchange money and pay for things online, Musk, not content with just being known as a solid innovator and entrepreneur, he wanted to reach further, to the stars and moon – literally. In 2002, Musk personally funded Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (known as SpaceX), so that he could create spacecraft for commercial travel.
In 2008, NASA contracted SpaceX to design and build a spacecraft specifically to carry cargo up to the International Space Station. By now, Musk has proven himself to the world that whatever he thinks up, will be both practical for use, and very lucrative to both him and whatever company works with him.
Musk’s next endeavor launched him from being a wildly successful entrepreneur, to world-class genius in the minds of others. Becoming increasingly aware, and concerned for the environmental impact fossil fuels have on our planet, Musk went on you create Tesla Motors – doing what GM and other car companies failed to do – providing an affordable and stylish electric car to the masses. His Tesla Model S was awarded “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend Magazine, back in 2013.
In 2012, SpaceX launched the first unmanned capsule into space in Musk’s Falcon 9 aircraft. It carried over 1,000 pounds of supplies into space for astronauts to use on the International Space Station – an event that made history, as this was the first time ever a private company had ever landed there.
In 2013 SpaceX made history again by using the Falcon 9 to deliver a satellite to the geosynchronous transfer orbit (A spot in space where you lock onto the Earth’s orbital path, synched with the Earth’s rotation). Then in 2015, the Falcon 9 once again carried the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite into to space to observe the sun’s effect on our planet’s power grids and communication systems.
If you’re finding the time to travel between New York and San Francisco just too long, then just wait for Hyperloop – Musk’s next big invention. Back in 2013, Musk started putting a ton of his money into a transport system called Hyperloop that, by using low-pressurized tubes, will transport humans between major cities at speeds in excess of 700mph.
Only the likes of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Da Vinci, Einstein have been able to think so far outside-the-box like Musk has. His vision of the future has been expressed at a number of conferences, hinting at what’s called “neural lace” – a way for humans and computers to have a more symbiotic relationship for the advancement of human intelligence.