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Elon Musk is a South-African serial entrepreneur and is the founder of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and PayPal. All three of which are valued at well over a billion dollars making Elon’s net worth an astonishing $20. 8 billion (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). Musk has shown interest in computer programming from an early age. In fact, his vast knowledge of programming ultimately sparked his decision to drop out of Stanford University and start his first business during the peak of the internet boom (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). In addition, Musk has always had a passion for physics and in 1992 earned himself a bachelor’s degree in physics. Both of Musk’s interests have directly translated into his business ventures and is likely the reason for his massive success. His primary motivation while creating SpaceX was to gain further knowledge of space and initiate deeper exploration of life on Mars.
On the contrary, his motivation to start Tesla was to create environmentally friendly automobiles that would lead to a more sustainable future. One of his biggest accomplishments was successfully launching a Tesla Roadster into space via the Falcon Heavy rocket (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). This marked the first time a car has been transported to space in history. Elon Musk is an extremely well-known entrepreneur who introduced the world to multiple innovations which will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the future of humanity.
One of Elon Musk’s first entrepreneurial ventures was the purchase of PayPal in the year 2000. Essentially, PayPal is an online platform that allows users to store their financial information securely on a personal account. This makes it simple and safe to complete online transactions without revealing any financial details directly to the payee. The company was a huge success from the start and can be classified as a gazelle as it grew nearly 10% daily while obtaining 4 million new clients in the span of one year (“The History of PayPal (Infographic Included”, 2017).
Furthermore, PayPal held a huge competitive advantage as at the time, transferring money online was a difficult process. Yet, Elon Musk had discovered a method of transferring money with little risk using only a recipient’s email address (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). PayPal fulfilled an unmet need in the technology world as sending funds from person to person was nearly impossible before its creation (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). Moreover, PayPal took advantage of the 10x solution as their method of moving funds was 10x faster than traditional bank wiring and 10x more secure than providing one’s financial information to send money. Later in 2001, PayPal had witnessed a gigantic spike in growth as it was adopted by eBay the online auction website (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). Basically, eBay allowed its users to complete their online purchases with PayPal eliminating much of the payment fraud that was an issue in the past. During that same year, eBay purchased PayPal as a whole for $1. 5 billion (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). Elon was the company’s largest shareholder with an 11. 5% stake making his share of the deal worth $165 million (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). PayPal proved to be an immense victory for Elon and the funds he acquired from its sale allowed him to continue to undertake new ventures.
Following the sale of PayPal, Elon Musk had quickly invested his newfound capital into the creation of SpaceX. SpaceX was founded in June 2002 with the intent of further exploring the possibilities of life on Mars and transporting large objects into space (“Elon Musk Biography. ”, 2005). Similar to PayPal, Elon had the vision to accomplish a feat that was previously not possible. He put much of his time and resources to ensure that SpaceX would accomplish great feats. The primary purpose of the company was to help NASA deliver supplies to astronauts stationed in space and the company received a large contract from NASA to do so (“Elon Musk. ”, 2018). On May 22, SpaceX had launched a rocket into space which contained over 1,000 pounds of supplies that are critical to the astronaut’s space mission (“Elon Musk. ”, 2018).
This marked the first time an independent company had sent a rocket into space, it was a huge personal accomplishment for Elon. Disastrously, a major setback occurred when a rocket equipped with a new engine exploded during a test flight (“Elon Musk. ”, 2018). This forced Elon to contribute much of his own money to keep the company financially viable and nearly pushed him to bankruptcy. Yet, Elon’s adversity response proved to be high as shortly after SpaceX was able to launch a Tesla Roadster into space and once again made history. This was the first car to ever enter space. In all, Elon managed to accomplish a multitude of incredible accomplishments through SpaceX.
While still operating SpaceX, Elon had shifted his focus onto the automobile industry. In 2004, he became the main investor of Tesla Motors with a contribution of $70 million (“Elon Musk Biography: Success Story of The 21st Century Innovator. ”, 2017). Elon helped design a fully electric car called the Tesla Roadster which operated solely on battery power (“Elon Musk Biography: Success Story of The 21st Century Innovator. ”, 2017). Elon took advantage of good industry timing as gas prices were steadily rising which made an electric car much more attractive than it previously was. Also, his concept was generally feasible as it allowed consumers to power their automobiles with common power outlets already found in every home and garage. The first Tesla featured state of the art technology and mechanics which caught the attention of local newspapers (“Elon Musk Biography: Success Story of The 21st Century Innovator. ”, 2017). Later in 2006, Elon received a Global Green award for his outstanding product design (“Elon Musk Biography: Success Story of The 21st Century Innovator. ”, 2017).
Unfortunately, Tesla’s capital ran dry but Elon put his last $20 million into the company to keep it afloat. This emphasizes his devotion for the company making it is evident that he loves what he does. After greatly cutting costs by firing much of the staff and closing several offices, Tesla Motors began running smoothly. However, the company’s main success came with the launch of the Model S which was rated the safest vehicle on the road. It also featured an increased battery range and a more practical design (“Elon Musk Biography: Success Story of The 21st Century Innovator. ”, 2017). It is clear that Tesla Motors follows an S-curve as the start of the business was shallow with little profits; however, with the introduction of the Model S it has experienced rapid growth and continues to operate at a premium level. Elon continued to produce electric vehicles with more features and different functionalities which saw great sales numbers. Nonetheless, Tesla Motors reached new heights when Elon was able to further understand his target market. He discovered that many car buyers are budget conscious (Lambert, 2018). As a result, Elon offered a new car in the Tesla lineup labeled the Model 3 which boasts the same basic features and design of the previous models for more than half the base price (Lambert, 2018). The consumer response was overwhelming and pre-orders exceed all expectations. Elon’s design and credibility in the electric car market made it difficult for even established manufacturers to compete. His biggest competitors including Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Ford fail to offer the same stature or streamline design as a Tesla (Lambert, 2018). With Tesla, Elon has created a company that is relevant now and will only grow in relevance as time progresses.
In conclusion, Elon Musk is a remarkable entrepreneur who continuously innovates and attempts to provide people with practical solutions to worldwide issues. It is fair to conclude that Elon Musk is a determined individual who constantly strives for greatness and is willing to take risks to do so. In addition, he is certainly a forward thinker as his business ventures typically implement future solutions that aid in the development of humanity. This is especially true as he is leading a movement of electric cars that will greatly eradicate greenhouse gasses and help prevent global warming. I strongly believe that the strategies implemented by Elon were effective. Such is the case as many of these strategies provided him with a clear-cut advantage over the competition allowing his ventures to overtake the others. For example, his competitive advantage with PayPal made it difficult for any other online financial service to compete as PayPal was simply easier to use. In addition, his deep understanding of his target market allowed him to deliver exactly what his consumers wanted without frills. Overall, Elon Musk is an entrepreneur who has overcome adversity, taken countless risks and constantly looks to challenge the impossible, making him truly special.
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