Elon Musk is Unlikely Voyage: Arrived In Canada With $2,000 At 17 years old, Dropped out of Graduate School To 110 000 $Of Debt, Now A Meme Lord

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Published the June 22, 2020 |
by Matt Pressman

June 22, 2020 by Matt Pressman


Originally published on EV Schedule blog.

How did Elon Musk grow in the company maverick he is today? It is not easy. Even if the 48-year-old tech titan Elon Musk is currently worth more than $40 billion, CNBC reports that “the Tesla and SpaceX boss has not always been rich.”

Musk acknowledged (via Twitter), “I arrived in North America in 17 years, with$ 2,000, a backpack, and a suitcase full of books. Paid my own way through college. Dropped out of Stanford Engineering/Physics grad school with 110 000 $in college debt.”

We will go back. Looking back, where does this immigration journey begin? Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa. In his home country, he moved to Johannesburg and Durban, but always wanted to go to America. In a revealing 2012 interview with Kevin Rose, Musk explained, “It has always seemed to me like when there was cool technology or things happening, it was a little bit in the united States. So, my goal, as a kid, was to go to America, in fact.”

A fascinating interview with the CEO of Tesla Elon Musk back in 2012 where he discusses some of his first challenges (from Youtube: Kevin Rose)

After South Africa, Musk has found its way to Canada, where his mother recalls having very little money, “in a rent-controlled apartment in Toronto with Elon on the couch.” He eventually received a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania in the united states. Musk did not know what to do after graduating. He admits, “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do growing up. I think at the time I thought to invent stuff or creating things would be a good thing to do. But I wasn’t really sure if that meant starting a business, or if this means working for a company that makes cool stuff.”

It turns out that he had to make a go of it in the Silicon Valley. He held out his hand to a hot dot-com companies of the time, Netscape. After the effort, he recalls, “I did not get a response from Netscape and in fact, I tried to hang out in the lobby of the hotel, but I was too shy to talk to anyone. So, I’m just like standing in the lobby of the hotel. It was quite embarrassing. I just sort of standing there trying to see if there was someone I could talk to, and then I couldn’t, I couldn’t … I was too scared to talk to anyone. So I’m gone.”

Instead, Musk has decided to fly of its own wings. He left the graduate school at the University of Stanford to team with his brother, Kimbal, and start Zip2 in 1996. Musk explains that “the initial idea was to create a software that could help media companies online. So we have assisted, in a small way, to make companies like the New York Times, Hearst, Knight-Ridder, and on and on … online. They were not really always online — people don’t realize it.”

Everything went well. Zip2 was acquired by Compaq for $ 340 million in 1999. That has laid the foundation of Paypal … which, finally, the stage of SpaceX and Tesla. Now, Musk is in question (although in a smaller capacity) with other forward-looking companies such as Neuralink and the monotony of The Business.

In retrospect, those things turned out differently. After all, he could have made a connection of Netscape entrance hall, gets a job, and been coding in a box to the failure of an internet business.


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Tags: Compaq, Elon Musk, PayPal, SolarCity, SpaceX, SpaceX Starlink, Tesla, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, united states, US, Zip2

About the Author

Matt Pressman is all about Tesla. It is a TSLA investor, pre-ordered the Model 3, and like driving the family’s Model S and the Model X, the company cars. As co-founder of EVANNEX, a family business specializing in aftermarket Tesla accessories, it has served as a contributor/editor of Electric Vehicle of the University (EVU) and the Owner of the Model S and prepare for the 3 Model books. He writes daily on Tesla, and you can follow his work on the EVANNEX blog.



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