One of the richest people on Earth: a life between adoration and hatred.
Elon Musk turns 50 on June 28. During this half a century, he has gone from a “nerd” boy who was bullied at school to a billionaire who became a hero of science and mass culture, throwing challenges and adoring scandals.
We decided to recall some stages of the life of a businessman and an engineer who turns fiction into reality.
Among the talents of Elon Musk, the profession of an architect does not appear. However, according to the rector of the German School of Design of the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design, Jan Belen, Musk is the greatest living architect in the world.
Belen claimed that this billionaire thinks on a more ambitious scale than anyone living today, and through his business is changing the world.
“Elon Musk is the greatest architect of our time,” Jan Belen told Dezeen. – He builds the largest infrastructures around us. And he doesn’t even ask anyone for permission to do this. He just does it. It expands the concept of architecture. He uses his imagination to develop projects that no one would have thought of.”
Speaking about Musk’s concept of Hyperloop high-speed travel, Yang Belen states: “This is even more than the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Now he is going to colonize Mars. And all this is in the hands of one person.”
“I think we need more visionaries,” Belen added. – We need visionary ideas for the world. The strength of Elon Musk is that he does not deal with the restrictions that are imposed on us or that we impose on ourselves. He is a real thinker with a rich imagination. We need these people with their imaginative thinking.”
But looking at the spread of topics of interest to Musk, one can’t help but wonder: “Is he a man?”
Especially if you remember that not so long ago, Elon Musk announced that his company Neuralink, which is engaged in the development of intelligent technologies, is preparing to introduce its first mind-reading implant to a human recipient with a chip “embedded” directly in the skull…
Elon Musk himself, speaking to a Russian audience not so long ago as part of the “New Knowledge” marathon, jokingly said: “I am often asked if I am an alien. Of course, an alien.”
In the light of the popularity of conspiracy theories about the ruling reptilians on Earth, there will certainly be those who will take this statement seriously. But for all its unusual nature, the Mask phenomenon has a completely earthly origin.
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Elon Musk was born half a century ago in South Africa, in Pretoria, in the family of engineer Errol Musk and model and finalist of the Miss South Africa contest, Canadian by origin, Maye Haldeman. The future technology guru was named after his great-grandfather John Elon Haldeman, who was born in 1872.
In his childhood, which passed in South Africa, Elon, who remained to live with his father after his parents ‘ divorce, devoted almost all his free time to reading – and smart people, as you know, do not like. It is not surprising that at school, Musk was bullied by classmates. Once the boys pushed him down the stairs – and Elon had to be hospitalized.
When the boy turned ten, he was given a computer, on which Musk quickly learned to program. And already at the age of 12, the future billionaire earned $ 500: he sold his first program — the video game Blastar.
Although his father insisted that Elon go to college in South Africa, the guy himself decided to move to the United States. “I remember thinking and seeing that America is a country where great things are possibly more than in any other country in the world,” Musk later recalled.
Since it was easier for him to get to the States from Canada, Elon moved to the Country of the Maple Leaf shortly before his 18th birthday and got a Canadian passport thanks to his mother.
Well, then, after studying at Queens University, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in physics. And in 1995, he entered Stanford University to get a doctorate in applied physics and materials science. But the music didn’t play for long – and after a couple of days, Elon left Stanford to launch his first startup, Zip2 Corporation. This company was so successful in developing software for the media that in 1999, Elon and his brother Kimbal managed to sell their startup for $307 million.
Musk became one of the founders of the electronic payment system, which also brought him tens of millions of dollars. And almost twenty years ago, Elon Musk founded his third company — SpaceX, where he invested $100 million received from the sale of his previous projects.
Back in the early 2000s, a little-known young Elon Musk came to Russia to buy converted intercontinental ballistic missiles in which he was going to launch mice to Mars. According to the author of the biography of the billionaire Ashlee Vance, Musk did not agree on the price with the Russian partners, who did not take him seriously and flew back without missiles. And there is an opinion that it was allegedly on the way from Russia that Musk decided to build missiles on his own…
Already at the end of 2008, NASA signed a $1.6 billion contract with Musk’s company for 12 launches of the Falcon 9 carrier and the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS, as an alternative to the “shuttles” after the termination of their launch program in 2011.
And in 2019, Musk introduced a reusable spacecraft capable of transporting people and cargo to the Moon or Mars. At one time, the ship will be able to transport up to 100 people and take on board a large amount of cargo, which will allow, according to the head of Space X, to colonize other planets.
And of course, let’s not forget about last year’s successful launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft from Cape Canaveral.
He has a lot of detractors, envious people.
Not so long ago, a picture with the image of Elon Musk and the call: “Protect billionaires was widely distributed on the Network. We are just like you.” Of course, a storm has risen in social networks around such “arrogance” on the part of one of the richest people on the planet. But as the fact-checking showed, the billboard with a call to protect billionaires turned out to be not real. It was created by a designer specializing in digital art on Instagram. However, the fact remains that the rich are not very well-liked.
Yes, and Musk himself readily provides reasons for him to be attacked by buckets of sharp criticism on various occasions.
Take at least his position related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Musk was accused of spreading misinformation about the virus, including claiming that mortality statistics are manipulated. The billionaire claimed that “children are practically invulnerable” to SARS-CoV-2 and called the “panic” about the coronavirus “stupid.”
Musk has repeatedly criticized and violated the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. In March last year, he predicted that by the end of April there would be “almost zero new cases of the disease” in the United States – and, as you can see, he hit the sky with his finger. The publication Politico called this statement one of the “most audacious, confident and completely wrong forecasts” for 2020.” So the “visionaries” also have mistaken.
In June, hackers from the Anonymous group accused Musk of excessively influencing cryptocurrencies through Twitter posts and neglecting the investments of ordinary people. Cybercriminals declared war on the billionaire: “While hardworking people have their hopes dashed because of your public tantrums, you continue to mock them with memes, while in one of your mansions. You may consider yourself the smartest person, but now you have met your equals. We are Anonymous. Our name is legion. We’re coming.”
Indeed, the publications of Elon Musk on Twitter had a strong impact on the quotes of cryptocurrencies. So, when he mentioned bitcoin in January in the signature on the page in the social network, its value sharply exceeded the level of 37 thousand dollars. Later, Musk began to mention another cryptocurrency, Dogecoin, more often, which caused its growth. And a few weeks ago, the billionaire again caused bitcoin fluctuations when he joked on the social network about his parting with this cryptocurrency, attaching an emoji in the form of a broken heart – which led to a serious drop in the bitcoin exchange rate.