The Tesla and SpaceX chief and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has been in the headlines for his myriad achievements (and courted plenty of controversy too). Recently christened as the world’s wealthiest person on the planet ( After briefly overtaking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person and again moving to the second spot, after his fortune fell by nearly $14 billion on a single day) Musk believes in a life full of adventure. While everything the style icon does makes headlines, we explore some electrifying facts about the business magnate, which you may not have heard before.
1.Musk created and sold a video game at the age of 12
At the age of 12, Elon Musk created and sold a video game to a magazine. He sold the code for Blastar, The space fighting game, for $500 to a computer magazine. Musk also worked at a gaming start-up called ‘Rocket Science’.
2. Musk dropped out of Stanford to set up his company
He grew up in South Africa, then immigrated to Canada at age 17. He landed in the U.S. as a transfer student to the University of Pennsylvania and after that moved to California to study Physics at Stanford. But after just two days, he dropped out to found his first company, Zip2 Corporation that provided maps and business directories to newspapers. In 1999, he sold the company to Compaq for $307 million.
3. Musk was the inspiration for Ironman.
The superhero Tony Stark aka Ironman, is remotely based on Musk’s life and work. The actor who plays him, Robert Downey Jr., sat down with Musk to get inspiration for the character. Parts of Iron Man 2 were even filmed at SpaceX and Musk made a cameo appearance in the movie.
4. Musk owns a “submarine car” from a James Bond film.
Musk is the owner of the “Wet Nellie,” a Lotus submarine car prop from the 1970s James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. He reportedly plans to convert it into a real car that transforms into a submarine.
5. Musk ran a nightclub out of his house in college.
When he was attending the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and his roommate decided to escape student housing and live in a much bigger off-campus housing space. In order to pay the rent, they turned it into a nightclub that attracted as many as 1,000 patrons per night.
6. Musk lived on a budget of $1 a day
Musk was determined to survive on $1 a day by buying food at the supermarket in bulk when he arrived in North America. “I went more for the hotdogs and oranges… [but] you do get really tired of hot dogs and oranges after a while,” explained Musk in an interview. “We occasionally feasted on some “pasta and green pepper and a big thing of sauce” which he said could “go pretty far too.”
7. Musk is revolutionizing transportation on earth and outer space
The South African-born business magnate is also the owner of Space X has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for resupply missions and eventually transmits people to and from the International Space Station. Space X has managed to reduce the cost of travelling to the space station by up to 90%. One mission now costs at $60 million, while previously the expense amounted to nearly $1 billion. Needless to say then, Elon Musk is working to revolutionize transportation both on Earth, through electric car maker Tesla – and in space, via rocket producer SpaceX.
8. Musk read the entire encyclopedia at 10 years old.
Being a voracious reader, Musk reportedly read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and moved on to sci-fi and fantasy reads including The Lord of the Rings, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.
9. For Musk, failures are the stepping stones to success
Despite his enormous recent success, both his companies (SpaceX and Tesla Motors) came alarmingly close to failing. Tesla’a first electric car, the Roadster, faced an ongoing string of production problems, and SpaceX had three launch failures before its fourth and final effort was a success.
10. Musk is sometimes referred to as ‘Alien Musk’ for his love for the outer space and also known as a thrillionaire, a high-tech entrepreneur looking to turn science-fiction into reality.