The incredible story of Elon Musk, from getting bullied in school to the most interesting man in tech

Elon Musk Story 1
Elon Musk Story 1

As the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and co-founder of OpenAI, Musk is pushing all kinds of technologies at the same time, in a statement, he said he won’t be happy until we’ve escaped Earth and colonized Mars.

Musk is handling epayments Space Rockets, Electric Cars, Solar Batteries, Artificial Intelligence, Robots and billions of dollars he had made, Musk is also called real life Tony Stark.

But it wasn’t always easy for Elon Musk.

Here is the complete story of Elon Musk’s Journey from School to CEO of 3 Tech Giants.

Elon Musk was born on June 28th, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Pretoria
Flickr

His father Errol Musk, an electronics engineer, once said, “Elon has always been an introvert thinker. So where a lot of people would go to a great party and have a great time and drink and talk about all sorts of things like rugby or sport, you would find Elon had found the person’s library and was going through their books.”

Elon Musk in Childhood
Bloomberg News, YouTube

Elon’s mother Maye Musk, a Canadian national, is a professional dietitian and model who has appeared on boxes of Special K cereal and the cover of Time magazine

Maye Musk
Maya Musk

In 1979, Errol and Maye Musk divorced. The nine-year-old Musk and his younger brother Kimbal decided to live with his father.

Elon Musk and His Brother
Elon Musk and His Brother

In 1983, at the age of 12, Musk sold a simple game called Blastar to a computer magazine for $500. Musk once said it was “a trivial game…but better than Flappy Bird.”

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider
Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Still, Musk’s school days weren’t easy. As related in the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” he was once hospitalized when a group of bullies threw him down the stairs and beat him until he blacked out.

Bad School of Elon Musk
ShutterStock

After graduating high school, Musk moved to Canada, along with his mother Maye, his sister Tosca, and his brother Kimbal. He spent two years studying at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario

After graduating high school, Musk moved to Canada, along with his mother Maye, his sister Tosca, and his brother Kimbal. He spent two years studying at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario...
Wikimedia Commons

…but he finished his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, taking home one degree each in physics and economics.

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes (This photo is actually from a commencement speech Musk gave at Caltech in 2012.)

While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and his fellow student Adeo Ressi rented out a 10-bedroom frat house and turned it into an official nightclub. It was an early entrepreneurial experiment.

While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and his fellow student Adeo Ressi rented out a 10-bedroom frat house and turned it into an official nightclub. It was an early entrepreneurial experiment.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar Source: Vogue

After graduation, Musk traveled to Stanford University to study for his PhD. But he ended up deferring his admission after only two days in California, deciding to test his luck in the just-beginning dot-com boom. He never returned to finish his studies at Stanford.

After graduation, Musk traveled to Stanford University to study for his PhD. But he ended up deferring his admission after only two days in California, deciding to test his luck in the just-beginning dot-com boom. He never returned to finish his studies at Stanford.
Facebook/Stanford University

Musk and his brother Kimbal (pictured) took $28,000 of their father’s money started Zip2, a web startup that provided city travel guides to newspapers like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

Musk and his brother Kimbal (pictured) took $28,000 of their father's money started Zip2, a web startup that provided city travel guides to newspapers like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.
Wikimedia Commons

While Zip2 got off the ground, Musk once said that he literally lived in the office and showered at a local YMCA. It all paid off when Compaq bought Zip2 in a deal worth $341 million in cash and stock, making Musk $22 million.

While Zip2 got off the ground, Musk once said that he literally lived in the office and showered at a local YMCA. It all paid off when Compaq bought Zip2 in a deal worth $341 million in cash and stock, making Musk $22 million.
REUTERS/Noah Berger Source: Stanford

Using $10 million of the money he got from the sale of Zip2, Musk started X.com, an online banking company, in 1999. About a year later, X.com merged with Confinity, a money startup co-founded by Peter Thiel, to form a new company called PayPal.

Using $10 million of the money he got from the sale of Zip2, Musk started X.com, an online banking company, in 1999. About a year later, X.com merged with Confinity, a money startup co-founded by Peter Thiel, to form a new company called PayPal.
PAUL SAKUMA/AP

Musk was named the CEO of the newly minted PayPal. But it wouldn’t last long: In October, he started a huge fight among the PayPal cofounders by pushing for them to move their servers from the free Unix operating system to Microsoft Windows. PayPal co-founder and then-CTO Max Levchin pushed back, hard.

Musk was named the CEO of the newly minted PayPal. But it wouldn't last long: In October, he started a huge fight among the PayPal cofounders by pushing for them to move their servers from the free Unix operating system to Microsoft Windows. PayPal cofounder and then-CTO Max Levchin pushed back, hard.
Getty / Drew Angerer

In late 2000, Musk took his first vacation in a long time. While Musk’s flight was still in the air en route to Australia, PayPal’s board fired him and made Thiel the new CEO. “That’s the problem with vacations,” Musk told Fortune years later.

In late 2000, Musk took his first vacation in a long time. While Musk's flight was still in the air en route to Australia, PayPal's board fired him and made Thiel the new CEO. "That's the problem with vacations," Musk told Fortune years later.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill Source: Fortune

Things worked out for Musk — he stayed the single biggest shareholder in PayPal, netting him $165 million of the $1.5 billion that eBay paid for PayPal in late 2002.

Things worked out for Musk — he stayed the single biggest shareholder in PayPal, netting him $165 million of the $1.5 billion that eBay paid for PayPal in late 2002.
AP

Even before the PayPal sale, though, Musk stayed on his hustle: A lifelong fan of science fiction, Musk conceived of a crazy plan to send mice or plants to Mars. He even tried to buy decommissioned Soviet missiles for that purpose. But the Russian sellers wanted $8 million or more for each, and Musk thought he could build his own cheaper…

Even before the PayPal sale, though, Musk stayed on his hustle: A lifelong fan of science fiction, Musk conceived of a crazy plan to send mice or plants to Mars. He even tried to buy decommissioned Soviet missiles for that purpose. But the Russian sellers wanted $8 million or more for each, and Musk thought he could build his own cheaper...
Wikimedia Commons Source: Bloomberg

So in early 2002, Musk founded the company that would be known as Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX. Musk’s goal is to build processes that would make spaceflight cheaper by a factor of ten.

So in early 2002, Musk founded the company that would be known as Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. Musk's goal is to build processes that would make spaceflight cheaper by a factor of ten.

SpaceX’s first vehicles were the Falcon 1 and 9 rockets, named after the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame…

SpaceX's first vehicles were the Falcon 1 and 9 rockets, named after the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame...
Flickr/spacexphotos

…and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, named after the song “Puff the Magic Dragon.” That name was Musk’s jab at haters who told him that SpaceX would never be able to put vehicles into space.

...and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, named after the song "Puff the Magic Dragon." That name was Musk's jab at haters who told him that SpaceX would never be able to put vehicles into space.
Flickr/SpaceX

In the long term, SpaceX’s goal is to make it affordable to colonize Mars. He’s said that SpaceX won’t IPO until what he calls the “Mars Colonial Transporter” is flying regularly.

In the long term, SpaceX's goal is to make it affordable to colonize Mars. He's said that SpaceX won't IPO until what he calls the "Mars Colonial Transporter" is flying regularly.
Tech Insider/Recode/NASA Source: Forbes

In the meanwhile, Musk was keeping plenty busy here on Earth. In 2004, he made the first of what would be $70 million of total investments in Tesla Motors, an electric car company cofounded by veteran startup exec Martin Eberhard.

In the meanwhile, Musk was keeping plenty busy here on Earth. In 2004, he made the first of what would be $70 million of total investments in Tesla Motors, an electric car company cofounded by veteran startup exec Martin Eberhard.
Wikimedia Commons

Musk took an active product role at the company and served as Chairman of the Board. He helped develop the all-electric Tesla Roadster, the company’s first car, which launched in 2006.

Musk took an active product role at the company, and served as Chairman of the Board. He helped develop the all-electric Tesla Roadster, the company's first car, which launched in 2006.
Tesla RoadsterScott Olson/Getty Images

As if that wasn’t enough, also in 2006, Musk came up with the idea for SolarCity, a solar energy company designed to combat global warming. He gave his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive the working capital to get it off the ground.

As if that wasn't enough, also in 2006, Musk came up with the idea for SolarCity, a solar energy company designed to combat global warming. He gave his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive the working capital to get it off the ground.
Mark Von Holden/AP

But back to Tesla, all was not well. Under Eberhard, Tesla was burning way more cash than it was taking in. In 2007, Musk staged a boardroom coup and ousted Eberhard.

But back at Tesla, all was not well. Under Eberhard, Tesla was burning way more cash than it was taking in. In 2007, Musk staged an boardroom coup and ousted Eberhard.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In 2008, with the financial crisis seriously limiting his options, Musk invested $40 million into Tesla and loaned them $40 million more to save the company from bankruptcy. Not coincidentally, he was named CEO of Tesla that same year.

In 2008, with the financial crisis seriously limiting his options, Musk invested $40 million into Tesla and loaned them $40 million more to save the company from bankruptcy. Not coincidentally, he was named CEO of Tesla that same year.
Reuters

But between SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, Musk actually ended up going broke. He describes 2008 as “the worst year of my life,” as Tesla kept losing money and SpaceX was having trouble launching its Falcon 1 rocket. By 2009, Musk was living off personal loans just to survive.

But between SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, Musk actually ended up going broke. He describes 2008 as "the worst year of my life," as Tesla kept losing money and SpaceX was having trouble launching its Falcon 1 rocket. By 2009, Musk was living off personal loans just to survive.
REUTERS/Bobby Yip Source: VentureBeat

Around the same time, Musk was going through a divorce with Justine Musk, a Canadian author, with whom he had six sons.

Around the same time, Musk was going through a divorce with Justine Musk, a Canadian author, with whom he had six sons.
AP

But right around Christmas 2008, Musk got two pieces of good news: SpaceX landed a $1.5 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies into space, and Tesla finally found more outside investors. Things were suddenly looking up again.

But right around Christmas 2008, Musk got two pieces of good news: SpaceX landed a $1.5 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies into space, and Tesla finally found more outside investors. Things were suddenly looking up again.
AP

By 2010, things had seriously turned around. That June, Tesla held a $226 million IPO — the first car company to go public since Ford in 1956. In that offering, Musk sold shares worth about $15 million to get his finances back on track.

By 2010, things had seriously turned around. That June, Tesla held a $226 million IPO — the first car company to go public since Ford in 1956. In that offering, Musk sold shares worth about $15 million to get his finances back on track.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Musk’s extraordinary career was starting to get noticed in other circles, too. Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” movies is at least partially based on Elon Musk, and the entrepreneur even has a cameo in “Iron Man 2.”

Musk's extraordinary career was starting to get noticed in other circles, too. Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark in the "Iron Man" movies is at least partially based on Elon Musk, and the entrepreneur even has a cameo in "Iron Man 2."
Kim Stockton/YouTube

All the while, Musk’s personal life has been in some kind of flux. In 2008, Musk started dating actress Talulah Riley. They got married in 2010 and divorced in 2012. In July 2013, they got remarried; in December 2014, Musk filed for a divorce but withdrew the paperwork; in March 2016, Riley filed for divorce.

All the while, Musk's personal life has been in some kind of flux. In 2008, Musk started dating actress Talulah Riley. They got married in 2010 and divorced in 2012. In July 2013, they got remarried; in December 2014, Musk filed for a divorce but withdrew the paperwork; in March 2016, Riley filed for divorce.
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Work is going well, though. By the end of 2015, SpaceX had made 24 launches on assignments like resupplying the International Space Station, setting lots of records along the way. Most recently, the SpaceX Falcon 9 made the first successful water landing of a reusable orbital rocket.

Work is going well, though. By the end of 2015, SpaceX had made 24 launches on assignments like resupplying the International Space Station, setting lots of records along the way. Most recently, the SpaceX Falcon 9 made the first successful water landing of a reusable orbital rocket.
SpaceX/Flickr (public domain)

Musk can’t stop coming up with new ideas, either. Even as he pushes for solar power, electric vehicles, and the colonization of Mars, Musk also designed what he calls the Hyperloop, a transport system that can get you between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes. But he didn’t start a company to push that particular technology (yet).

Musk can't stop coming up with new ideas, either. Even as he pushes for solar power, electric vehicles, and the colonization of Mars, Musk also designed what he calls the Hyperloop, a transport system that can get you between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes. But he didn't start a company to push that particular technology (yet).
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

And in late 2015, Musk unveiled OpenAI, a nonprofit he cofounded to do research into making sure that artificial intelligence doesn’t destroy humanity. That’s a serious concern of his.

And in late 2015, Musk unveiled OpenAI, a nonprofit he cofounded to do research into making sure that artificial intelligence doesn't destroy humanity. That's a serious concern of his.
jurvetson / Flickr

That’s even as Musk pushes Tesla’s “autopilot” self-driving car capabilities, available on a few select models today.

That's even as Musk pushes Tesla's "autopilot" self-driving car capabilities, available on a few select models today.
Tesla

In June 2016, Musk unveiled a plan for Tesla to buy SolarCity, pushing his two big innovative ideas in power management under one roof. And the rest, as they say, is history.

In June 2016, Musk unveiled a plan for Tesla to buy SolarCity, pushing his two big innovative ideas in power management under one roof. And the rest, as they say, is history.
AP