Leadership

7 things you may not know about self-made billionaire Elon Musk

Self-made billionaire Elon Musk can seemingly do it all. At 46, the entrepreneur has launched a number of successful companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal and the Boring Company. In the past couple of weeks, he's become $5 billion richer and strengthened his stance against killer robots and artificial intelligence. Yesterday, he watched the solar eclipse while driving his Tesla car on autopilot.

Even through his 80-to-90 -hour work weeks, whether he's launching satellites, working on the Tesla production line with his employees or chatting with customers on Twitter, Musk is constantly proving he's a man of unexpected capabilities.

Here are seven things you may not know about Musk.

His official salary is $45,936, but he's worth over $21 billion

Less than two weeks ago, Musk became $5 billion richer, Bloomberg first reported, raising his worth up to $21.3 billion. He is now the 37th most wealthy person in the world, according to Bloomberg's index of the world's 500 richest people.

According to Tesla's 2017 annual proxy statement, Musk's total cash compensation consists of an annual base salary of $45,760, but he doesn't actually accept it.

While he doesn't accept an annual salary, Musk is one of the best-compensated executives. In fact, Bloomberg reports he earned a total of $99,744,920 including stock options and a spot in the top five highest paid executives in 2016.

He comes from a family of entrepreneurs

His mom, Maye Musk, is a model, nutritionist and sparked the entrepreneurial spirit in his family.

While Elon works on launching rockets and digging urban tunnel systems, Kimbal is pioneering a sustainable food movement and Tosca is making moves in the film industry with her upcoming launch of PassionFlix, the Netflix for romance movies.

He survived on $1 a day at age 17

Musk moved from his native South Africa to begin his college studies in North America. He first emigrated to "see what it takes to live," he tells Neil DeGrasse Tyson on his StarTalk radio show in 2015. Musk found that "in America, it's pretty easy to keep yourself alive."

On my cousin's farm in Canada at age 17, wearing a hat on a hat. Check out my sweet hammer...

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

"My threshold for existing is pretty low, I figured could be in some dingy apartment with my computer and be okay," Musk tells DeGrasse Tyson.

So he tried to live on one dollar per day. He did so by buying food in bulk at the supermarket.

"I went more for the hotdogs and oranges, you do get really tired of hotdogs and oranges after a while," Musk says, mixing things up every now and then with some "pasta and green pepper and a big thing of sauce" which he said could "go pretty far too."

He's a Ph.D. dropout

"When I was in college I was thinking, well, what is going to most affect the future of humanity? You know, electric cars, solar power, essentially sustainable consumption," Musk tells DeGrasse Tyson on StarTalk.

He started studying physics at Queen's University in Canada, transferred after two years to the University of Pennsylvania and got a second bachelor's degree in economics at the Wharton School.

He continued on to Stanford to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics but dropped out to start a company with his brother.

He ran a speakeasy in college

While at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk found a fellow transfer student, Adeo Ressi, to rent an off-campus house, Business Insider reports according to the school's alumni magazine. The two started hosting parties as a way to not only meet people, but also make some money.

The alumni magazine reports Ressi and Musk hired bouncers, cleaning crews and still charged enough to pocket a little extra money.

"They do that sort of thing all the time now, but back when we did it (in the 1990s), everyone thought it was clever and businesslike," Ressi tells the magazine.

He has a series of traditions with his six kids...

A week ahead of his anticipated Thanksgiving Day SpaceX launch in 2013, he tweeted about a pre-launch tradition he has with his kids. Together, they visit Disney World, just an hour drive from SpaceX's launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

Piggyback rides around the Opera House

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

Other traditions Musk has with his kids include annual camping trips, egg hunts on Easter, taking them to the theater and playing video games like Overwatch, and Mass Effect: Andromeda.


...and he created a school for them

Musk doesn't think the U.S. education system is serving its children as well as it could be.

"There are definitely some good schools out there," Musk says, keynoting this year's annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference. However, he says, "teachers do not explain why kids are being taught a subject."

"You just sort of get dumped into math and like, why are you learning math? What's the point of this?" Musk says.

So he created his own primary school in Southern California for his children called Ad Astra, Latin for "to the stars."

"I hated going to school when I was a kid," the entrepreneur says of his experience in an interview for Chinese television. "It was torture."

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