Elon Musk is an engineer, inventor, CEO, investor, and billionaire. But there's more to Musk than meets the eye, and to truly understand this self-made South African native, it's necessary to learn a few fun facts. Musk is a dreamer with a vision; he co-founded PayPal and Tesla. But his ultimate goal is space exploration, and he believes he can help colonize Mars. Sound like science fiction? Check out these things you might not have known about Musk, and perhaps his past achievements will give insight into his visions for the future.
Musk was born in South Africa, but moved to Canada on his own while still a teenager. He worked odd jobs before landing at Queen’s University in Ontario. By the age of 28, he was a multimillionaire. As of 2019, Musk had a net worth of $20.6 billion, according to Forbes.
But the real-life inspiration for Tony Stark is in the game for more than just money and power. His pro-environmental ambition is to create an accessible electric car so that society is no longer oil dependent. Musk's biography paints a picture of a person with unbelievable drive and perhaps the intelligence to colonize the Red Planet in this lifetime.
On January 30, 2020, Elon Musk released his second jam on SoundCloud, "Don't Doubt ur Vibe." The autotuned EDM number, written and performed by Musk, could be interpreted as an ode to self-actualization. Given that the track was released with an image of the Tesla Cybertruck superimposed on Mars, "Vibe" could be an expression of the mogul's hopes and dreams for the new decade.
Or perhaps Emo G just wanted to drop a sick beat. The world may never know.
Iron Man director Jon Favreau needed to make the Tony Stark side of superhero Iron Man seem real. He looked to Elon Musk, a rocket scientist and green energy pioneer, for inspiration. Favreau wrote of the billionaire, "Elon Musk makes no sense - and that's the reason I know him. When I was trying to bring the character of genius billionaire Tony Stark to the big screen in Iron Man, I had no idea how to make him seem real. Robert Downey Jr. said, 'We need to sit down with Elon Musk.'"
"Downey was right," Favreau concluded. "Elon is a paragon of enthusiasm, good humor and curiosity - a Renaissance man in an era that needs them."
Musk and Iron Man have more in common than personality. In July 2019, Musk spoke publicly about what he envisions for his latest startup venture, Neuralink. Neuralink "aims to build a scalable implant to connect human brains with computers," according to Forbes magazine. The chip is a miniature brain implant that links to people's devices, allowing them to control things like their cellphones with just their minds, much the same way Tony Stark communicates with his personal AI, Jarvis.
In 2019 Musk released the rap song "RIP Harambe" on the music streaming service Soundcloud under his fictional record company, Emo G - or "Emoji." The song features auto-tune and an outdated meme.
Harambe became a national sensation after he was put down in 2016 when a child fell into his barricade at the Cincinnati Zoo. In memoriam, three years later, Musk sings:
"RIP Harambe/Sipping on some Bombay/We on our way to heaven/Amen, Amen. RIP Harambe/Smoking on some strong/In the gorilla zoo/And we thinking about you."
After Musk's parents divorced when he was 8 years old, he lived with his mother, Maye, in various cities throughout South Africa. He dreamed of moving to the United States, but wound up immigrating to Canada alone at 17 years old.
The future billionaire stayed with family members and lived on just $1 a day. He saved money by subsisting primarily on oranges and hot dogs.