Elon Musk is the genius of the present. You might have heard of his innovative driverless Tesla supercar or his space exploration venture SpaceX. These are just two of the many amazing inventions and radical ideas that he has brought to fore, making him one of the most influential people in the world. But, unknown to many, Musk is not all about work. This super genius billionaire does know how to strike a work-life balance. Here are five things that most people do not know about him.
Tony Stark was Based on Him
“Genius, billionaire, playboy and philantrophist” You might have heard these words uttered by Robert Downey Jr. when he played Tony Stark in the “Avengers” movies. While the superhero had already been there before Ironman took the helm or even before Elon Musk became popular, Musk is actually the real life inspiration for Tony Stark.
Director John Favreau says that Downey’s interpretation was largely based on the comic book and not on Musk. However, just before shooting commenced, Downey suggested that there is someone that they should sit down and talk with. When the actor visited the SpaceX headquarters, he admitted that he was in total awe of the man.
Musk even appeared in a cameo in “Ironman 2,” where Stark and he bantered about working on an electric jet. Musk is a well-loved figure in the Marvel family. He even keeps a life-sized Ironman costume in his headquarters.
PayPal is his Brainchild
Musk is often known for his massive contributions to technology. In fact, his tech dreams as a student were so beyond this world that he found himself leaving Stanford just after two days to take advantage of the Internet boom. He then started working on his first company, Zip2, which featured online newspapers, maps and directories. Compaq, later on, bought Zip2 for a massive $22 million. After that, he founded X.com, an online banking company that eventually evolved into the PayPal we all know now.
Musk was fascinated with the idea of doing banking transactions online. However, this did not come easy. Although X.com provided services for a very lucrative niche, Musk initiated the acquisition of Confinity, the company that owned the payment system named PayPal to give his company a strong foothold. (eBay bought PayPal after a few years for $1.5 billion.)
He Built and Launched Rockets as a Child
Musk’s love for space exploration started as a child growing in South Africa. He designed his first video game when he was just 12 years old, titled Blastar. This would later sell for $500. He recalls that making rockets and explosives was his favorite pastime. Obviously, this is what evolved into the SpaceX he has now.
SpaceX is Musk’s third successful venture and, unlike Tesla and PayPal, this project is not profit oriented. Musk thinks that rocket technology will have a huge influence earth life in the future. So far, SpaceX has made history as one of the most successful and efficient companies, even rivaling major rocket and aeronautical firms like Lockheed. In fact, he found a way to reduce the cost of reaching the International Space Station by 90 percent. From $1 billion per mission, he made it possible with just $60 million.
He Owns the First Electric Luxury Car Company
Musk’s passion for physics and engineering was put to good news when he founded Tesla Motors. The Silicon Valley-based car manufacturer specializes in electrical components and is also the first to offer driverless transportation. Musk’s philosophy behind Tesla is the same with his other companies — independence and liberty for humans.
He Founded SolarCity
In response to rising energy demands and environmental protection, Musk’s futuristic genius mind founded SolarCity with his cousin Lyndon Rive. This company has been in business for 7 years already. It has played a key role in commercializing the demand for solar-paneled roofs and systems that run on them. In 2012, Musk announced that SolarCity and Tesla are collaborating to use electric vehicle batteries to smoothen the impact of rooftop solar on the power grid.
While Elon Musk is largely known as a tech visionary, he, too, is a regular person who likes regular things every now and then. He is a self-confessed computer game fan and he had even won some championships in his youth. He also named one of his sons Xavier, after Professor X from the X-Men. He also tweets a lot and is active on social media. He doesn’t seem to be very lucky with relationships, though. Musk is twice divorced. He has five kids from his first wife, Justine Musk: a set of twin and then triplets. He married Talulah Riley second, but that fell apart as well.