Elon Musk on creating the future


Elon Musk is one of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs around today; he is working steadily to make ideas that at one point seemed insane or impossible a reality that people will be able to experience.

Musk was born in South Africa in 1971 and moved to Canada in the 1980s. In 1990 he was an undergraduate student at the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and he went onto the Wharton Business School to complete a Bachelor of Science in physics in 1992. Musk also completed a PhD in applied physics at Stanford University in 1995.

In 1995 Elon started his first company called Zip2 with his brother Kimbal with some of their fathers money to get started. The company provided an information service to newspapers in the Palo Alto, California area. Elon made contacts with influential publications such as the New York Times, and the company was eventually sold to Compaq Computer for $309 million in 1999.

Elon then went on to create another company X.com with his share of the proceeds from the Zip2 sale. Musk’s X.com Company merged with a company called Confinity that was founded by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and Luke Nosek. This company would later be known as PayPal and would sell for to eBay for $1.5 billion, and Musk would receive $165 million from that sale in 2002.

Musk would then go on to create a number of companies that would be able to fulfil his vision of the future that he had as a young boy growing up.

His biggest financial success so far is the company Tesla, which was named after the often-overlooked engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla. The company was launched in 2003, and is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange; this floatation made Musk a billionaire and his annual salary is $1 a year.

Elon Musk speaks to TED’s Head Curator Chris Anderson and discusses his ideas on the future and a number of initiatives that his companies are working on, and explains the reason why he is focusing on the areas that he is right now.


The future we’re building — and boring | Elon Musk

Entrepreneur: Elon Musk

Interviewer: Chris Anderson

Event: TED

Platform: TED

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