Who’s Elon Musk?

Elon Musk in 2020

Elon Musk in 2020

Elon Musk has accomplished his takeover of Twitter, the small however mighty social media platform utilized by politicians, journalists and neighbourhood trolls alike to unfold information, scorching takes, and generally misinformation.

As he prepares to place his stamp on the corporate, let’s evaluate what we all know concerning the billionaire.

The place was Elon Musk born?

Since bursting onto the Silicon Valley scene greater than 20 years in the past, the 50-year-old serial entrepreneur has stored the general public captivated along with his enterprise antics.

Born in South Africa, Mr Musk confirmed his abilities for entrepreneurship early, going door-to-door along with his brother promoting home made chocolate Easter eggs and creating his first laptop sport on the age of 12.

He has described his childhood as troublesome, colored by his dad and mom’ divorce, bullying in school and his personal issue selecting up on social cues due to Asperger’s Syndrome. On the earliest alternative, he left house for school, transferring to Canada after which the US, the place he studied economics and physics on the College of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school.

In a 2010 essay for Marie Claire, his first spouse, Justine Musk, a author who met Mr Musk in school and married him in 2000, wrote that, even earlier than his thousands and thousands, Mr Musk was “not a person who takes no for a solution”.

“The need to compete and dominate, that made him so profitable in enterprise, didn’t magically shut off when he got here house,” she recalled, including that he informed her whereas dancing at their wedding ceremony, “I’m the alpha on this relationship.”

How did Elon Musk make his cash?

After being accepted to a physics graduate diploma programme at Stanford College, Mr Musk rapidly dropped out and based two expertise start-up corporations through the “dot com increase” of the Nineties. These included an online software program agency and a web-based banking firm that finally grew to become PayPal, which was offered to eBay in 2002 for $1.5bn.

He ploughed his fortune into a brand new rocket firm, SpaceX – which he aimed to make an economical different to Nasa – and a brand new electrical automotive firm, Tesla, the place he chaired the board till turning into chief govt in 2008.

Elon Musk in 2004

Elon Musk in 2004, quickly after beginning SpaceX

The 2 corporations are credited with upending their industries, at the same time as they often veered near monetary collapse.

“I am by no means massively satisfied that he is aware of what he needs to do tomorrow,” says journalist Chris Stokel-Walker. “He very a lot leads by intuition.”

In a 2015 biography, writer Ashlee Vance described Mr Musk as “a confrontational know-it-all” with an “ample ego”. However he additionally referred to as him an ungainly dancer and diffident public speaker.

Divorced 3 times – twice to the identical girl – Mr Musk is frank about his vices, recurrently discussing his fondness for marijuana.

Within the press, he is been dubbed each a mad genius and Twitter’s largest troll – referred to as a lot for his lofty ambitions as his petty fights, to not point out the extra severe lawsuits he and his corporations have confronted from regulators, buyers and others over points reminiscent of racial discrimination and the trustworthiness of his claims.

“In case you record my sins, I sound just like the worst particular person on Earth,” Mr Musk stated in a current TED interview. “However should you put these in opposition to the issues I’ve executed proper, it makes way more sense.”

What’s Elon Musk’s internet value?

All these contradictions seems to be a part of his enchantment – and it actually hasn’t stopped him from amassing a fortune.

Forbes and Bloomberg now rank him because the world’s richest particular person, with a internet value of about $250bn – tens of billions greater than rivals reminiscent of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

That is based mostly largely on the worth of his shares in Tesla, of which he owns about 17%. The corporate’s inventory has exploded in worth – some say unreasonably – for the reason that begin of 2020, rising by an element of 10 because the agency’s output elevated and it began to ship common income.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 13: Elon Musk and son X Æ A-12 on stage TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME)

Elon Musk and his son X Æ A-12 in 2021. Mr Musk, a father of 9, has referred to as “inhabitants collapse” a much bigger threat than international warming

Mr Musk additionally champions digital currencies and has a hand in a number of different smaller corporations, together with tunnel-maker the Boring Firm and experimental brain-computer start-up Neuralink.

Mr Musk, who wears the mantle of a workaholic proudly, has typically stated he isn’t in enterprise merely to make cash – claims he repeated just lately with regard to his Twitter takeover.

“Elon solely will get concerned with issues if he feels that they are critically essential for some motive… for the sake of society or humanity,” says pal and Tesla investor Ross Gerber.

Is Elon Musk Democrat or Republican?

Mr Musk, who grew to become a US citizen in 2002, has resisted efforts to label his politics – calling himself “half-Democrat, half-Republican”, “politically average” and “unbiased”.

That does not imply he is shied away from political debate.

He has injected himself into a number of the world’s hottest geopolitical fights – suggesting that China ought to set up a “particular administrative zone” in Taiwan, and proposing phrases to resolve the conflict in Ukraine that had been adamantly rejected by most of the nation’s high leaders.

Within the US, he moved to Texas, complaining of California’s rules and excessive taxes; has clashed with union organisers; and, within the spring of 2020, decried coronavirus lockdowns as “fascist”.

Tesla boss Elon Musk at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing opening party in Austin, Texas.

Elon Musk on the opening get together for the Tesla gigafactory in Austin, Texas

He was one of many first enterprise executives to half methods with former President Donald Trump, quitting a White Home enterprise council after Mr Trump withdrew the US from a worldwide local weather settlement.

However he is additionally made it clear he isn’t a fan of President Joe Biden, whom he sees as snubbing Tesla whereas selling electrical automobiles.

Direct political donations are comparatively small for a person of his wealth – having donated simply $100,000 since 2004, in response to Politico – pretty evenly cut up between the events, at the very least within the early years: he gave to former President Barack Obama in 2011 and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2015, although extra just lately has centered on Republicans.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a US non-profit organisation recognized for its championship of values reminiscent of free speech, has recognised him as a high supporter. Nevertheless, stories counsel most of Mr Musk’s donations have gone to his personal charitable foundations, which can, finally, disburse the funds.

He stated just lately that he sees his companies as a type of philanthropy, as a result of they’re centered on fixing main human points, reminiscent of local weather change within the case of Tesla.

Final fall, when the top of the United Nations World Meals Programme referred to as on billionaires to make one-time donations to unravel the world’s meals disaster, Mr Musk responded with scepticism to the problem.

What that may all imply for Twitter – a platform already going through criticism from each the left and proper over its content material moderation insurance policies – is anybody’s guess.

“The simplest half for Musk was shopping for Twitter,” says Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives. “The laborious half goes to be fixing it.”