50 Images That Show The Life of Elon Musk
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of Elon Musk. He has been all over the news for various things, whether that be talking Tesla, Space X, Dodge Coin, Twitter, or just hopping on a podcast with Joe Rogan, this man has been everywhere. He is one of our society's most outspoken billionaires, and there's usually no in-between with him, people either really love him or really hate him. Regardless of how you feel about him, Elon is a very intelligent individual who has a lot of fascinating thoughts about the world we live in. If you are curious to see how he became the man he is today, scroll through this gallery to find out more about the life of Elon Musk.
He created and sold a video game
Even the young Elon Musk was a budding businessman; when he was only 12 years old, Elon Musk designed a video game that he would eventually sell to a magazine. The game was a space fighting one called Blastar; Musk sold it for $500 to PC and Office Technology magazine.
Musk also worked for a gaming start-up called Rocket Science briefly, and when he was 15, he started an arcade business with his brother and cousin; the idea was nearly completely executed when their parents stopped them. This may explain why Musk is still an advent video game player to this day.
He dropped out of Stanford
When Elon Musk was 17 years old, he, his mother, and his siblings migrated to Canada from South Africa; once there, he studied at Kingston University for two years. He also got an Economics bachelor’s degree and a Physics bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Musk soon moved to California to earn a Ph.D. from Stanford University but he dropped out some days later to start his first company, Zip2 Corporation with his brother Kimbal; their company provided city guides for publishers. I think it's safe to say Musk learned more from starting his own company than he would have from Stanford.
Musk appeared on The Simpsons
Elon Musk has never been one to shy away from the cameras, so you can catch a glimpse of him in a couple of movies he’s appeared in. He appeared as a guest on The Simpsons; he was featured in "The Musk Who Fell to Earth" episode.
In that episode, he arrived in Springfield in a spacecraft and found inspiration from Homer Simpson; in the same year, Musk also appeared as himself on another popular sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. He has made many more cameos on movies and shows since then.
He purchased the James Bond submarine car
Elon Musk dropped nearly $1 million on James Bond’s classic submarine car at a London auction in 2013. The car is a submersible Lotus Espirit that was used in The Spy Who Loved Me, a James Bond film that starred Roger Moore as the iconic James Bond.
Musk paid $968,000 for the car which had been lost for a while after it was featured in The Spy Who Loved Me. Fortunately, the car was found again in Long Island, New York, and was restored and then sold off to Musk at auction; wonder if it inspired some of his Tesla inventions.
Musk is passionate about Space Exploration
Elon Musk is a serial entrepreneur with multiple interests and creations but he has always been passionate about space exploration technology. As a result of this passion, he established Space Exploration Technologies or as it is better known, SpaceX, in 2002.
Musk’s belief is that the survival of humanity depends on its ability to occupy multiple planets, but because the available technology can’t support that efficiently, he has since been working on creating new ones. He has since launched the Falcon 1, the Falcon 9, and the Falcon Heavy.
He explored the nightclub space as well
More on Elon Musk’s business savvy; Elon Musk and his one-time roommate, Andeo Ressi once rented a big house, and transformed it into a nightclub for the University of Pennsylvania students. The club reportedly had the capacity to hold about a thousand people at once so it wasn’t a small location by any means.
Musk, however, proved he wasn’t really one for the club as he’d sometimes be up in his room playing video games all by himself while clubbing was going on downstairs. You can really see how Musk valued his time even early on in his life.
He inspired Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark
One of the most popular movie characters in recent memory, Iron Man, was actually based on Elon Musk. The actor that portrayed Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., actually based his character on Musk, who was the closest thing he could mimic to play the comic book character correctly.
According to the director of Iron Man, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr. approached Elon Musk so he could learn how to talk, think, and walk like a tech billionaire. Safe to say he picked up a couple of things from Musk as the character was played to perfection by Robert Downey Jr. Musk also had a cameo in the sequel as you can see from the image above.
He runs a school too
A lot of people don’t know that Elon Musk runs a school called Ad Astra at SpaceX headquarters. The CEO started the school in order to teach his kids, and the school is also attended by the kids of some SpaceX employees. Even though it's not well known, Ad Astra has been running since 2014.
Musk created it to provide education that exceeds the traditional school metrics on relevant subjects. There is an emphasis on creating unique learning experiences at Ad Astra so the kids work in groups and focus on math, science, ethics, and engineering; no general education is taught.
Musk draws inspiration from Kanye West
It turns out Elon Musk is a huge fan of rapper Kanye West and even draws inspiration from the rapper. This was revealed during a Q&A session in 2018 when Elon was asked who inspired him and he responded by saying, obviously Kanye West.
That wasn’t the first time Musk would praise Kanye West publicly, and it certainly wasn’t the last time either; in 2015, Musk also had a brief bio of Kanye West done for the 100 Most Influential People list of Time Magazine. Although many have seen Kanye act crazy at times, getting a vote of confidence from Elon Musk must mean there is a method behind the madness.
He has made ground-breaking discoveries in space research
In recognition of his contributions to the field of space research and for designing the first privately developed rocket to reach orbit, Elon Musk was awarded the FAI Gold Space Medal by the Federation Aronautique Internationale. He also unveiled the concept of the Hyperloop in 2013.
His creation is basically a super fast and efficient mode of transportation that uses a huge vacuum-sealed tube or connected vacuum-sealed tubes that have very little air resistance and air pressure. Musk has basically been working tirelessly to make novel concepts a reality.
He has a rocky relationship with his father
Elon Musk and his father, Errol Musk, don’t share the most loving father-son relationship. The Billionaire entrepreneur even described his father as evil at one point and you might think that was a harsh description from the younger Musk, but his father isn’t a saint either.
Errol was once tried for manslaughter, and he also shot three men that tried to invade his home in Johannesburg. And not so long ago, Musk’s father had a child with Jana Bezuidenhout, his stepdaughter, who is about four decades younger than he is.
Musk was extremely quiet as a child
As a child, Elon Musk was extremely quiet; he was so quiet that his parents once wrongly assumed he was deaf. He had a lot going on in his head as a child, and by the time he was nine years old, he had read the full Encyclopedia Britannica.
Three years later, Musk had taught himself to write code for computers. Shortly after he learned to write code, Musk designed a video game called Blastar; the game fetched him $500 from a magazine, and it was the first of many creations from the legendary entrepreneur.
He could have called his auto company Faraday
Elon Musk is a pioneer and market leader in the electric car field, and he deserves a lot of credit for making electric cars mainstream and more popular. His auto company, Tesla, makes some of the quickest and most stunning electric vehicles in the world but the company was nearly called another name.
The rights to Nikola Tesla’s name had to be secured first before he could use it, but Elon Musk had penciled Faraday down as the other name for his company, which certainly would have had a different ring to it. Surely this was a nod to Michael Faraday who was a scientist that contributed to the study of electrochemistry and electromagnetism, which would have also fit the theme of electric cars.
Elon Musk is a serial entrepreneur
A serial entrepreneur is defined as an individual with a portfolio of successful investments in different sectors of an economy. Elon Musk suits this perfectly as he’s always been one to try his hand at several ventures. That drive has seen him contribute to computer software, online payments, space technology, and automobile industries over the years.
Elon Musk has founded eight companies to this point; he founded Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, OpenAI, The Boring Company, Hyperloop, Tesla, and Neuralink. Some of these creations have been more successful than others but you can’t deny he has an impressive portfolio.
He evaded mandatory service in the military
Elon Musk was born in South Africa, and he was there for most of his younger years until he moved to Canada. What many people don’t know about his move is he relocated partly so he could avoid compulsory service in the South African military.
All of that was over the moment he enrolled at Queen’s University, Ontario. Unfortunately, just like Stanford, Musk didn’t complete that program either as he left for another degree at the University of Pennsylvania; he would eventually get two degrees in 1996.
The Musk-Trump Dynamic
If you think the dynamic/friendship between Elon Musk and former US President, Donald Trump, is a new thing then you didn’t tune in to the news often enough in 2017. Donald Trump offered Elon Musk the opportunity to serve on two business councils and the CEO agreed to do so then.
One was the Strategy and Policy Forum while the other was the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative; Musk would eventually resign from both in protest of Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. However, you can tell Musk learned a few things from Trump since he is a big supporter of free speech regardless of what the narrative is.
The boys squad
If you want a little information about Elon's family life, here it is. Elon Musk got married to sci-fi writer, Justine Wilson in 2000 but only two years later, their 10-year-old son, Nevada died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He has had six children since Nevada died, all of them being boys.
Wilson had a set of twins for Musk in 2004; Griffin and Xavier, and a set of triplets followed in 2006; Damian, Saxon, and Kai. Musk had five children with Wilson via In vitro Fertilization and they have joint custody over them.
He sent a Tesla Roadster into space
Elon Musk has done some incredible things on the surface of the Earth, and in space courtesy of his countless inventions and creations. However, in 2018 there was an intersection between his space work and his auto-manufacturing when he sent a Tesla Roadster into space.
Musk sent the vehicle into space as the payload for his Falcon Heavy rocket’s launch. The best part is the car can be tracked conveniently on a website while it orbits around the sun. If you want to take a look for yourself the website is whereisroadster.com.
Musk founded a company to solve traffic
There’s no doubt that entrepreneurs think differently from everyone else; where some see problems, they usually see solutions. In Elon Musk’s case, he tried to turn his inconvenience into something positive in 2018; he got sick of LA traffic so, in a bid to not have to deal with it anymore, Musk founded The Boring Company.
The company kicked off after some conversations with regulatory bodies; on the website, it states that in order to reduce traffic, cars must have an option to also go beneath or above the traffic, and apparently, they have opted to go beneath.
His SpaceX company has many firsts
Remember how we talked about Elon Musk’s passion for space research and technology? Well, it turns out his passion for the field has resulted in him breaking down barriers in the field and pioneering things that hadn’t been seen or done before.
Elon Musk has made history with SpaceX; when he launched The Crew Dragon, it was the first time that astronauts would be conveyed to space in a spacecraft designed and operated by a company not affiliated with the government. He also has another spacecraft called Cargo Dragon, which is also not affiliated with the government and delivers cargo for NASA.
Most of his wealth comes from his Tesla stock
Elon Musk became the richest person in the world in November 2021 but most of his wealth comes from his Tesla stock. His net worth exceeded $200 million mostly as a result of the increased value of Tesla stock, and the increased market cap of the company.
He was able to blow competitors like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos away with his over $279 billion net worth. Musk’s Space X assets are also worth about $40.3 billion, and the most ridiculous bit is that Musk earns an estimated $383 million a day.
On the verge of bankruptcy
Elon Musk created SpaceX so he could fulfill his lifelong dream of human occupation of Mars but despite his passion for that dream, the company wasn’t very successful at first as the first three SpaceX launches didn’t go as planned.
All three initial rocket launches crashed and went up in flames; the company’s SpaceX rocket model at the time, Falcon 1, suffered those mishaps from 2006 to 2008. As a result, Musk and his companies were on the verge of bankruptcy at the time but world-changers always find a way to bounce back and that's what Elon did.
The $30 million Tesla journey
One common misconception about Elon Musk is that he owns Tesla or he founded the leading electric car company. This isn’t the case really as Tesla Motors was founded by two entrepreneurs: Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003.
Musk reportedly donated $30 million to the company in order to join the co-founding team. Therefore the company was already being led by its original owner and CEO Eberhard with Tarpenning acting as the CFO at the time. Today, you don’t hear much about the others as Musk is the face of the company.
He was bullied as a kid
Elon Musk might be the richest person in the world, and one of the most influential people on the planet but his story was quite different during his formative years. During those years of his adolescence, Elon Musk was a victim of bullying.
The fact that he was born into privilege and was extremely smart didn’t help matters. Musk was constantly bullied in school, and he was even hospitalized after he was flung down some stairs.
Musk nearly had a video arcade at 16
Elon Musk’s penchant for building things has always been evident, and he was nearly a teen arcade owner because of it. When he was 16, Musk and his brother, Kimbal, and a couple of cousins became inspired to open an arcade close to their high school.
They got beyond planning it, and actually obtained a lease for the arcade that spelled out the contracts with the planning department. Unfortunately, their plans failed because they were told they were too young to get a real estate permit.
Musk is a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons
According to those that knew the younger Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO loved playing Dungeons & Dragons along with his younger cousins, and his brother, Kimbal. The kids were invested in the fantasy role-playing game, and even once went to play a tournament in Johannesburg.
They were quite the nerds at the time, and it was fortunate to have the younger version of perhaps the world’s richest nerd on their team to help them win the tournament. Musk’s incredible imagination kept people on their toes, just as he does now as an adult.
He began building rockets early on
When Elon Musk was younger, his parents were away most of the time so he usually had a housekeeper around to watch over him. However, the housekeeper didn’t do much other than ensure he didn’t break things in the house or get into any other kind of mischief.
This meant he had a lot of free time to devote to his passions, with rockets and explosives being top of the list at one point. Musk, therefore, got to make explosives and read books about designing rockets as well. He was really into stuff kids his age only saw in cartoons.
Growing up in Pretoria, Elon Musk’s family was never quite super-rich so he once went door-to-door selling candy to wealthy families. Musk and his brother Kimbal, and some cousins would often travel around the capital to visit the rich neighborhoods so they could sell the chocolate Easter eggs they made.
Musk had an adventurous group for sure, and they knew a thing or two about business as they sold the candy for as much as 20 times what it cost to make them. Don't be surprised if a Goonies-like movie is made about Elon and his friends.
He has Asperger’s Syndrome
Bet you didn’t know that the world’s richest person suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. Elon Musk revealed this while hosting the US comedy show, Saturday Night Live, that he suffers from the condition which is a kind of autism spectrum disorder.
Those that suffer from the condition typically have awkward or minimal social interactions, and also find it difficult to comprehend emotions quickly but the symptoms are generally less severe than classic autism. The syndrome must have contributed to the bullying he suffered as a young kid all those years ago.
He became an American citizen in 2002
Although he was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon Musk revolutionized many industries and sectors of the American economy for years, even when he was in Africa. He eventually moved to Canada at 17 but he didn’t become a US Citizen until 2002.
Musk was a Canadian citizen courtesy of his mother, and he got an EB-5 investor green card with the help of investors in his Zip2 company. He applied to become a US citizen by naturalization in 2002, and it was granted.
His ventures weren’t always successful
So many people fail to remember that there’s always some failure in every success story; the world’s biggest entrepreneurs often have to take a couple of losses too. Likewise, Elon Musk tried his hand at a couple of investments that made him less rich but we bet he didn’t mind one bit as he’s said multiple times over the years that he is driven by passion and not profits.
His Tesla company wasn’t profitable for years after it began selling electric cars to people, and SpaceX had a hard time attracting investors at first. A famous quote he once said was, "It's ok to trip while moving forward, but never ok to trip going backward."
Musk was exposed to diverse cultures
Elon Musk was born in South Africa, he migrated to Canada as a teenager and found his way to the US not long after. As a result, Musk was exposed to different cultures in his younger years, with the impact being that he learned how important diversity is.
His father for one, wanted him to stay back in Pretoria and attend a university there but he wanted something else for himself. Musk had Canadian and South African citizenship when he moved to Canada, and he also became an American citizen in the 2000s.
He believes there is a higher power
Considering his exposure and background, you’d assume that Elon Musk wouldn’t believe in spirituality and God, but it turns out that isn’t exactly the case. Despite his solid foundation in science and facts, the tech billionaire still believes that there exists a superior power that coordinates the universe’s complexities and physics.
He also believes that power has become master of everything that makes the world run as we know it. Not much is known about Musk’s religion or if he practices one, but it goes to show you can believe in both without needing to put one over the other.
He isn’t looking for UFOs in space
According to several reports from conspiracy theorists, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launches rockets and space crafts in a bid to discover UFOs and alien life in space but this isn’t true. Musk himself denied these claims, saying SpaceX was created to enable the greatest communication network and to discover a sustainable life source beyond the Earth.
He did add that finding something more than his company was created for would be a breakthrough; meaning he didn’t shut the door on the possibility. If anyone is capable of proving there is life beyond Earth, it is definitely Elon Musk.
He has a humanitarian side too
Beyond his revolutionary Tesla Model Xs and SpaceX crafts, Elon Musk also has a budding humanitarian side that frankly isn’t covered as well as his tweets for instance. Elon Musk is the type to try to help out those in need, and fortunately, he has the resources to make that happen.
Musk donated a solar power system to an Alabama community affected by a mass power shortage following a hurricane. He also flew over to Thailand when some local Thai football players got trapped in a cave.
His sister makes movies
Apparently, the Musks are talented in varying ways; Elon is a tech billionaire and inventor; his mother is a model and influencer, while his sister, Tosca Musk, is a producer and filmmaker, showing that the Musks cover all areas of entertainment.
Tosca is also the founder and CEO of PassionFlix, and an executive producer and director of TV programs, web content, and feature films. Tiki Bar TV is Tosca Musk’s web series, and some of her other works include Rachel van Dyken’s Matchmaker’s Playbook, and K. Bromberg’s Driven.
His business acumen helped Zip2
Zip2 was founded by Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal in 1995. Musk dropped out of Stanford to launch the web software company in the midst of the internet boom around him. The Musk brothers founded the company with money raised from a group of angel investors.
Their company developed and marketed an Internet city guide for the newspaper industry. Musk got contracts with the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times and persuaded the board of directors to not merge with CitySearch. He also wanted to be CEO of Zip2 but the board wouldn’t allow it.
SpaceX robots and X-Men characters
You already know how Elon Musk inspired the Tony Stark tech billionaire movie character but we bet you didn’t know that Musk himself drew inspiration from the X-Men. A couple of robots in SpaceX were named after some X-Men since legally he was able to do so, without needing Disney's permission.
Characters like Wolverine, Iceman, Colossus, Professor Xavier, and Storm were all names Musk chose. According to those close to Elon, he is a fan of X-Men so naming his robots and machines after the characters was only right for him. Wonder what inspired Starlink, and the model Xs and model Ss.
He is active on social media
Elon Musk isn’t the kind of billionaire to shy away from social media; he is quite active on Twitter where he actively tweets his feelings. He did delete his Instagram account in 2018, following an allegation that he confiscated rapper Azealia Banks’ phone after a visit to his property.
Musk tweets about anything; Jeff Bezos, Starlink, SpaceX, Cryptocurrency, and more. He also frequently shares updates about Tesla on his Twitter account and is known to wield enormous power with his tweets. This may be the reason he is currently in talks to purchase Twitter.
Musk’s cannabis-cigar podcast
Elon Musk is certainly every lady’s dream billionaire; attractive, intelligent, fit, and social. He doesn’t exactly act like a super-rich CEO, which might be a good or bad thing depending on who’s looking.
Musk became engrossed in a significant scandal following his appearance on a Joe Rogan podcast in which he was offered a marijuana cigar and he smoked it live. In the aftermath of his decision to smoke pot live, Tesla stock plunged for a while, and a host of Tesla executives also resigned.
He purchased a company founded by his cousins
Elon Musk and Tesla Motors acquired SolarCity Corp, a company founded by his cousins in 2006. They paid $2.6 billion to acquire the company in 2016, taking control away from his two cousins who used to run the company.
At the time, Musk already owned a significant portion of the company and the purchase made Tesla the first vertically-integrated sustainable energy company in the world as SolarCity was the leading solar power system provider in the US. A year after Musk and Tesla’s acquisition of the company, Solar Roof was unveiled.
Musk doesn’t take a salary from Tesla
Much has been made about Elon Musk’s humongous wealth and how most of that came from Tesla but the truth is Elon Musk doesn’t even earn a significant salary from Tesla Motors; he only takes home the minimum salary allowed in California.
Musk opted to not take a cash salary or bonus but earns his compensation from Tesla stock. Because of this arrangement, the only time Musk gets to pay taxes is when he sells some of his stock; he also gets richer every time Tesla stock becomes more valuable.
More on Elon Musk’s Twitter activity here; the tech billionaire is known to affect whole markets with simple tweets reflecting his state of mind on markets and his future actions. However, one particular tweet turned out to be an expensive mistake for him; Musk tweeted that he would take Tesla private.
The tweet was singled out by the SEC, and Musk was slammed with a $20 million fine for violating regulations with his tweet. Musk also had to step down as Chairman of Tesla because of it, something we bet was more painful than the $20 million he had to pay.
The social billionaire
When he’s not off building rockets and spacecraft to convey humans to the moon or building self-driving electric vehicles, Elon Musk is actually a social individual. His humongous wealth means he gets to enjoy certain privileges like owning expansive properties where he occasionally throws lavish parties.
Musk has been known to host a couple of lavish parties; one time, he rented a castle in the UK where guests got to play hide and seek. This was for his 30th birthday and he invited 20 people to play, imagine being on that guest list.
SpaceX show on the horizon
Apparently, a SpaceX show might very well be on the horizon as a streaming giant, HBO, found the company intriguing enough to create a miniseries on the private space company. The six-episode miniseries covers the early days of SpaceX when investors saw Musk’s company and vision as a pipe dream and refused to get on board with it.
The show might end up being one of the few times Elon Musk has been portrayed in a biographical feature, though several biographies have been written on him. So far no word has been given as to when it will release, but when it does we are willing to bet it will be a big hit for the streaming giant.
He used to be dependent on caffeine
When you’re trying to save the world and revolutionize as many industries as Elon Musk has, you don’t get to sleep much. In the early days of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk had a hectic schedule and tight deadlines to complete seemingly impossible projects so he had to stay awake for stretches.
In order to stay awake, Musk became dependent on caffeine so much that he would consume several cups of coffee and up to eight cans of Coke every day. You have caffeine to thank for those beautiful Tesla vehicles.
He’s one of the wealthiest people in the world
In early 2021, it was announced that Elon Musk had surpassed his rival and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, to become the richest person in the world. According to Forbes, Elon Musk’s net worth is $282 billion, which makes him over $100 billion richer than Bezos as of April 2022.
Elon Musk’s increased riches coincided with an explosion in the market cap of Tesla stock, proving how Musk made a shrewd decision by opting for an options package in which he gets paid based on Tesla share price, market cap, and revenue.
Musk interviews all new hires at SpaceX
Elon Musk’s policy for hiring new employees at SpaceX is quite simple as he simply doesn’t want people that are difficult to work with. As a result, Musk personally interviews every new hire at his space company.
Musk typically examines how easy it is to work with an individual as his belief is that this is crucial to building strong teams that perform. When you think about the things he expects his teams to deliver, and the impossible timelines they get, then you understand why he needs people that are easy to work with.
He’s friends with Larry Page
Like minds connect, and that is the case with Elon Musk and Larry Page. In case you don’t know who Page is, he is the co-founder of Google, and Elon Musk’s long-time friend. The tech billionaires have been friends for ages, and Page reportedly invested in Tesla as well.
They’re so cool that Musk reportedly sleeps over at Page’s Palo Alto home occasionally. Likewise, Page stated publicly that he’d rather give his money to Elon Musk than donate it to charity; the friends would occasionally hang out and brainstorm ideas.