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One of the most interesting people on this planet is Elon Reeve Musk. Some of the few hats he wears are engineer, inventor, investor, and visionary. He went from co creating a software company, to designing forward thinking electric vehicles, to envisioning colonizing Mars with his SpaceX. This planet can literally not hold him down.
Musk was born June 28, 1971, to Maye Haldeman and Errol Musk in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. Musk started very young by teaching himself computer programming at the early age of 10. Within two years he was already selling code for a BASIC based video game he created. BASIC is an acronym for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, it was a very early form of high level programming language made popular by its ease of use and explosion of personal computers in the mid 80’s.
He moved to Canada right before his 18th birthday and secured citizenship through his Canadian born mother. By twenty four he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in physics at Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences, and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While studying for his PHD at Stanford University he left two days into the program to follow his dreams of space travel and entrepreneurship.
Musk’s first business venture was starting a web software company called Zip2 with his younger brother Kimbal with an initial investment of 28,000 dollars from his father Errol. Zip2 helped develop, host, and maintain consumer Web sites specifically for media companies. Zip2 would eventually power nearly 200 sites, including its premier arrangement with The New York Times local directory site New York Today. The company started off with “negative money” Musk says because of his huge student debts. Early on Musk couldn’t afford a place to stay and an office for the company so he rented an office instead and slept on a futon and showered at a local YMCA. Compaq acquired Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options in 1999. Musk received 7% or $22 million from the acquisition. All that money would have been enough for most people but Elon felt something was missing. He was happy with the success and new found wealth but it was enough. Elon wasn’t content with just slightly altering the newspaper industry, he wanted to leave his mark on the world.
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