Elon Musk

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Birthname Elon Reeve Musk
Date of Birth June 28, 1971
Birth Place Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
Nationality American, South African, Canadian
Occupation Entrepreneur, Engineer
Biography Best known for founding Tesla, SpaceX, Paypal and his eccentric personality.

Elon Musk (born June 28, 1971) is an entrepreneur and engineer who has either founded or co-founded the following companies: SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, Neuralink, OpenAI and PayPal. Musk ranks 25th on Forbes list of “The World's Most Powerful People” and is one of four members on the list under the age of 50[1]. According to Forbes, Musk has a net worth of $34.6 Billion dollars.

Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa. Musk’s parents divorced while he was the age of 10 [2]. Later that year, he developed an interest in computers and taught himself to program. By the age of 12, Musk had created and sold his first software, a game called Blastar

Musk moved from South Africa to Canada to attend Queen’s University at age 17 in 1989. After two years at Queen’s, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where he received degrees in both business and physics. After his graduation, he headed to Stanford to pursue a phD in energy physics, but dropped out after two days to start a company with his brother.


Early Career

After dropping out of Stanford, Musk and his brother, Kimbal, started a company called the Zip2 corporation. Zip2 was an online city guide which was acquired by a division of Compaq Computer Corporation for $307 million dollars in cash. They used this money to then start a company called X.com, an online financial services company. X.com turned into what is now known as PayPal and was acquired by Ebay for $1.5 Billion dollars.


After Paypal, Musk started SpaceX which was a company designed to build space products and spacecraft for commercial use. SpaceX has been a work in progress ever since Musk founded it in 2002 and continues to grow each year. Musk continuously presents updated plans and designs for new space products and even received approval to launch satellites into space for internet service in 2018. Musk’s goal is for SpaceX to reach Mars and they plan to send a private passenger to the moon in 2023 [3].

Tesla Motors

In 2003, Musk founded Tesla Motors. His goal for this company was to provide affordable, battery powered cars as well as solar roofs. Musk is the CEO and product architect of this company and oversees all product development and engineering of the company. Tesla has developed multiple cars including the Roadster, Model S, Model 3, and most recently a Tesla SUV [4]. All cars have been set at what the car industry considers affordable prices. Given the quantity of Tesla cars produced and the relatively low price of the car, Tesla reported a net income loss of $860 Million dollars in 2019.


Marijuana Incident

Musk was seen on The Joe Rogan Podcast smoking weed inside of tobacco according to show host Joe Rogan. The interview contained clips of Musk acknowledging extreme pressure and work hours, hence defending his actions of smoking marijuana. Tesla stock reportedly took a dip after videos surfaced on social media and on the news. Although weed is legal in California, Musk took some backlash online for his public actions.

Taking Tesla Private

In 2018, Musk sent out a tweet saying that he has secured funding in order to take Tesla private[5]. Tesla has been a publicly traded company since 2012, and the news to take Tesla private was a shock to many. However, a tweet like this that ended up nothing being true got Musk into trouble with the U.S Securities and Exchange commission. They are continually investigating this incident but Musk claims he had no false intentions with these tweets.

Ethical Implications

Factory Injuries

Tesla’s main production plant in Fremont, California is home 15,000 full-time contract employees making it the staffed auto plant in the United States. Musk and Tesla have openly faced criticism regarding safety violations and worker injuries [6]. The company has paid $236,730 in OSHA fines while the other main auto companies (BMW, Ford etc…) have paid a combined $89,589 dollars in fines. In response to scrutiny regarding fines and excessive injuries, Musk sent out a company email saying asking that every factory injury be sent directly to him and furthermore met with every worker who had been injured in the factory [7].

Journalism Credibility Website

After President Trump took office in 2016, he named Musk to his Strategy and Policy Forum and then joined Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs team shortly after. After Trump’s controversial comments regarding immigrants from Muslim-majority countries as well as his stance on climate change, Musk stepped down from all advisory roles for President Trump [8] . Facing criticism from journalists, Musk threatened to create a platform where the public can rate the truth of any given article. Journalists would have a “credibility score” over time based on the truthfulness of their articles in the eyes of the public. Musk hasn’t publicly gone through with this idea, but his idea stemmed from reporters writing articles regarding him and President Trump.


  1. Forbes. [1] Forbes. 2018.
  2. Biography.com Authors. [2] Biography.com. Dec 12th, 2019.
  3. Elon Musk. [3] "SpaceX". 2018
  4. Jeff Desjardins. [4]. "Buisness Insider". October 1st, 2017
  5. Tom Huddleston Jr.[5]. "CNBC". August 8th, 2018.
  6. Alan Oshman.[6]. "Forbes" March 1st, 2019
  7. Joesph Vesnesky[7]. "PSU Education". June 15th, 2018
  8. Nathan Bomey[8]. "USA Today". Sep 7th, 2018.