How Did Elon Musk Become a Billionaire? An Inside Look at the Tesla CEO’s Career and Resume

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Net Worth:$43,100,000,000
Born:June 28, 1971
Birthplace:Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
Source of Wealth:Serial Entrepreneur, Investing
Last Updated:2020

Before we get started, let me mention one thing – the Elon Musk resume is long and accomplished by anyone’s measure.

Chances are, hearing the name Elon Musk conjures up a few different images in your mind: Entrepreneur. Innovator. Billionaire.

Though Musk has more recently become a household name due to his accomplishments at Tesla and SpaceX, he’s been in the entrepreneurial game since way back in 1995.

With a current net worth of over $43B, it’s safe to say Musk knows what it takes to create and run a successful organization.

Elon Musk Resume - Elon Musk Net Worth as of 2/4/20
At the time of writing, Elon Musk was worth $43.1B according to Forbes

Here, we’ll dig into Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial resume, discussing his biggest achievements—and the motivators behind his relentless pursuit of innovation.

Let’s start with a quick biography and breakdown of Elon Musk’s history as a founder.

Elon Musk’s Resume

CompanyPositionDuration
Zip2Co-Founder1995-1999
X.comCo-Founder1999-2000 (Acquired by Confinity, renamed PayPal)
PayPalChairperson2000-2002
SpaceXFounder2002-Current
TeslaChairman, Now CEO2003-Current
SolarCityChairperson2006-2016 (Acquired by Tesla)
OpenAICo-Founder2015-2018
NeuralinkCo-Founder, Majority Owner2016-Current
The Boring CompanyFounder2016-Current

Elon Musk Resume: Five Key Achievements

Elon Musk is an insanely accomplished inventor, innovator, entrepreneur, and investor—achieving much more than we have room to discuss here.

That said, we’ve narrowed down the list of Musk’s accomplishments into five key points that showcase how well he has done for himself—and how much good he has done for humanity.

Let’s take a closer look at all this, shall we?

Multi-Millionaire Before 30, Billionaire by 40

In 1999 Musk sold his first company, Zip2, to Compaq for a combined $340m including stock options. With a 7% share of the company, the sale earned Musk $22m by the age of 27.

From that point on, there was no looking back.

By age 40, Musk found himself on Forbes’ annual list of billionaires, showing a net worth of over $2 billion. Today he’s worth an astounding $43.1B.

Revolutionizing Electronic Payments

Musk’s contributions to the world of digital payment processing simply can’t be overstated.

Though ousted as CEO soon after X.com merged with the company that would become PayPal, the fact is that Musk’s technology laid the groundwork for the various digital payment methods commonly used today.

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More than just providing the technology, Musk also had a hand in the viral, referral-based marketing campaign that caused PayPal to spread like wildfire.

This approach has since been used by some of the most successful software companies and brands of today, including Dropbox and Uber.

Bringing the Electric Car to the Masses

While many auto manufacturers have, over the years, tried to get the electric car to catch on, Musk’s efforts have arguably led the charge throughout the past decade.

What began as a campaign to develop an ultra-affordable, high-quality automobile has since evolved into a multi-pronged venture focused on safe and efficient emissions, innovative use of electric and solar power, and self-driving technology.

Though Tesla has already become synonymous with the electric car, we’re bound to see much more from Musk’s team in the years to come.

Innovations in Spaceflight

In looking at everything Musk has accomplished over the years, his spaceflight-related achievements alone would be enough for a full-length article.

Among Musk’s many world-changing (and potentially universe-changing) accomplishments, he’s:

  • Developed and successfully launched the world’s most powerful rocket to date
  • Successfully re-launched a rocket for the first time in human history
  • Developed the first private spacecraft to dock on the International Space Station

While many of Musk’s space-related goals may seem like the stuff of science fiction, he and his team continue to make strides to bring his futuristic visions into reality.

A Powerful and Driving Force

Because of his unending drive to develop innovative technologies that may very well change the course of human history, Musk regularly finds himself on Forbes’ list of the Most Powerful People in the World.

Elon Musk Resume - Elon Musk On The Forbes Most Powerful People List
Elon Musk On The Forbes Most Powerful People List

Considering much of the list consists of the world’s major political and religious leaders, Musk’s presence on the list is a testament to just how influential and impactful his efforts have been to the modern world.

To be sure, Musk’s is a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.

A Deeper Dive into Elon Musk’s Resume

As shown earlier, Musk has founded and worked within a number of companies in a variety of industries.

Zip2 (1995-1999)

Elon Musk Resume - Zip2

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The first company on Elon Musk’s resume is Zip2.

Along with his brother, Musk developed Zip2 as a way to digitally deliver information on major US cities (such as maps, business directories, and more) to newspaper organizations within the area.

Zip2 was eventually acquired by Compaq and would ultimately evolve into Altavista—a pioneer of the search engine industry.

Though services like Yelp! and Google My Business are commonplace by today’s standards, it’s worth recognizing that Musk had envisioned such services as far back as 1995.

No wonder he’s a leading innovator of today’s world, huh?

X.com and PayPal (1999-2002)

Elon Musk Resume - PayPal

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With the money Musk earned from the sale of Zip2, he turned his attention to the world of digital payment processing.

Within three and a half years:

  • X.com had merged with Confinity, and was subsequently transformed into PayPal
  • Musk had been ousted as CEO of PayPal, while retaining a place on the board
  • PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5B in stock

After all was said and done, Musk’s venture into digital payments landed him a cool $165 million.

SpaceX (2002-Current)

Elon Musk Resume - SpaceX

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Perhaps his most ambitious venture to date, SpaceX was created to satisfy Musk’s yearning for humanity to truly enter the era of safe and affordable space travel.

More than just traveling through space, SpaceX aims to leverage various aspects of space for a number of beneficial purposes.

For example, SpaceX’s Starlink system aims to bring broadband internet to the world on a global scale.

While many of SpaceX’s high-profile experiments (such as the launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket) are sometimes downplayed by the public, the fact is Musk’s efforts are playing a major role in the way we traverse and experience our universe.

Tesla (2003-Current)

Elon Musk Resume - Tesla

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Though Musk’s involvement at Tesla began with him providing 98% of the company’s initial funding, he became CEO and product architect in 2008—and remains in that role today.

In addition to the technological advances Tesla has pioneered over the years, the company has absolutely exploded in terms of monetary value.

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With Musk at the helm, Tesla has grown from a $2 billion company back in 2011 to a $116 billion powerhouse in 2020. From a strictly entrepreneurial standpoint, Tesla has been Musk’s most successful venture to date—by a wide, wide margin.

SolarCity (2006-2016)

Elon Musk Resume - Solarcity

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What began as a side venture between Musk and two of his cousins has evolved into a subsidiary of Tesla that aims to combat global warming through the use of sustainable and renewable energy sources.

SolarCity’s efforts continue to be evident in various technologies implemented into Tesla’s automobiles.

Additionally, SolarCity provides a variety of ancillary products and services, such as solar rentals and electric vehicle chargers, solar roofing and energy storage systems, as well as commercial solar installations.

OpenAI (2015-2018)

Elon Musk Resume - OpenAI

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Wary of the potential dangers of a truly autonomous artificial intelligence, Musk founded OpenAI with the hopes of developing “friendly AI” software and systems.

Though Musk stepped down from his position at OpenAI (due to a conflict of interest), he continues to support the company’s mission financially and on a personal level.

Neuralink (2016-Current)

Elon Musk Resume - NeuraLink

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Another one of Musk’s sci-fi-meets-reality-type ventures, Neuralink aims to develop brain-machine interfaces that are implanted directly into the brain via micrometer-sized threads.

Neuralink’s technology aims to further a variety of medical procedures and treatments, such as enabling faster and easier movement of prosthetic limbs.

Looking to the future, Musk believes Neuralink’s efforts will help create a “symbiosis” of sorts between man and computer, if and when AI technology becomes commonplace.

The Boring Company (2016-Current)

Elon Musk Resume - The Boring Company

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Borne from Musk’s frustration with the ever-present standstill traffic in Los Angeles, The Boring Company aims to create a network of underground tunnels and roadways for both private and public use.

Similar to his approach with space travel, Musk believes that The Boring Company will lower the costs associated with tunnel development, while also alleviating traffic congestion in some of the world’s most populated areas.

Though facing ongoing logistical and bureaucratic barriers, Musk and the team at TBC continue to press forward in their plan to bring high-speed underground transportation into the mainstream.

With the success he’s experienced in his many other ventures, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see this vision become a reality in the relatively near future.

Elon Musk’s Resume Demonstrates an Innovator and Game-Changer

There’s no denying that Elon Musk has his hand in a number of world-changing ventures.

While this is due in large part to his creative and innovative approach to solving problems, Musk’s relentless drive to achieve his goals is what helps bring his visions into reality.

Whether pioneering the creation of innovative technology or simply carrying the torch for those who have come before him, Elon Musk is one of the elite entrepreneurs in perhaps all of human history.

With Elon Musk, the only question we’ll always have is: what will he come up with next?

 

Bonus: Elon Musk Joe Rogan Interview

After racking up almost 30,000,000 views and going viral, we thought you might like to watch Elon Musk’s interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast before you go. Enjoy!

Pop Quiz: What do billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey know about business success that you don't? Click here to find out...

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