Conquest of space: clever.
Disruption of the automobile industry: clever.
Take control of Twitter: done.
From eccentric businessman to richest man in the world, to South African Elon Musk he likes to dream big, and nowadays he is everywhere.
Two decades after amassing his first millions, He became the world’s richest person last year, snatching the title from Jeff Bezosfrom Amazon, following the meteoric rise of Tesla, its electric car company founded in 2003.
The last big stir billionaire was to stay with Twitter for a whopping 44,000 million dollars according to an announcement known this Monday, capping off 15 days of marching and countermarching that Musk has characteristically punctuated by gleefully firing off tweets on his favorite platform.
“Freedom of expression is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in the statement announcing the purchase of Twitter on Monday. .
Some weeks ago, this 50-year-old man was in the news when Tesla was cutting the ribbon on a “gigafactory” the size of 100 football fields in Texaswhere the company is now headquartered and Musk himself has relocated from California.
Tesla, meanwhile, is a huge industrial and financial success, with record profits of $5.5 billion in 2021 and a gigantic market capitalization.
Musk is also making news in less flattering ways: Tesla has faced a series of discrimination and harassment lawsuits against black workers, as well as sexual harassment.
At the same time, his space transportation company SpaceX broke another boundary as a partner in a three-way initiative to send the first fully private mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
Parallel to the flow of business news, the billionaire personality flirts with controversy through a riotous style on Twitter. His penchant for living by his own rules also in the private sphere keeps the celebrity press busy.
It recently emerged that Musk had had a second child with his partner, singer Grimes: a girl they named Exa Dark Sideræl Musk, although the parents — who have an on-and-off relationship — will usually call her Y.
On Twitter, he recently challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to a fight, and compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler.
In May 2021 revealed that he suffers from Asperger syndromea form of autism.
One way or another, Musk has become one of the most ubiquitous figures of this age. How did he get here?
To Mars… and beyond?
Born in Pretoria on June 28, 1971, the son of a South African engineer and a Canadian model, Musk left South Africa in his late teens to attend Queen’s University in Ontario.
After two years he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania and received degrees in physics and business.
After graduating from the prestigious Ivy League institution, he abandoned his plans to continue studying at Stanford University.
Instead, he founded Zip2, an online media publishing software company.
Before he was 30, he made his first millions when he sold Zip2 to American computer manufacturer Compaq for more than $300 million in 1999.
Musk’s next company, X.com, eventually merged with PayPal, the online payments company bought by eBay, the online auction giant, for $1.5 billion in 2002.
After leaving PayPal, Musk embarked on a series of increasingly ambitious endeavors.
He founded SpaceX in 2002, where he is now CEO and CTO, and became chairman of electric car maker Tesla in 2004.
After a few failures and near misses, SpaceX perfected the art of landing rockets on land or sea platforms, making them reusable. At the end of last year, it sent four tourists into space, in the first orbital mission without professional astronauts on board.
Musk’s company jokingly called The Boring Company is promoting a system of ultra-fast rail transport, Hyperloop, which would transport people at almost supersonic speeds.
And the businessman has said that he wants to turn humans into an “interplanetary species”, establishing a first colony on Mars.
To do this, SpaceX is developing a prototype rocket, Starship, which plans to take crew and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The billionaire says he is “confident” that an orbital test will occur this year.
“I think I know more about industrial production than anyone in the world,” Musk recently boasted.
Musk has American, Canadian and South African nationality, and He has been married and divorced three times, once with Canadian writer Justine Wilson and twice with actress Talulah Riley. He has seven children – an eighth child died in infancy.
The fortune of the South African is estimated at about 269,000 million dollars. (I)