Elon Musk Story Of Success 2024

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has achieved global fame as the chief executive officer (CEO) of electric automobile maker Tesla and the private space company SpaceX. Elon Musk rocketed to billionaire status, after entering the Elite Club in 2012 just nine years later he tops the list. If you are looking for the Elon Musk Story Of Success, you are in the right place.

In 1999, Musk founded X.com, an online payment company that later became PayPal. In just four years, PayPal became one of the most successful online payment companies in the world, and in 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion. After the sale of PayPal, Musk turned his attention to space exploration. Now we will look after one by one his success stages.

When Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, he only had two things going for him. SpaceX basically consisted of a carpet and a mariachi band. That’s all of SpaceX. And he did have one more thing: an ambition that knew no bounds.

SpaceX In 2002
SpaceX In 2002

The sky is not the limit for Elon, whose mission is to send people to Mars. On April 20, 2023 – humanity took one step closer to that dream. When the world’s largest rocket, the fully reusable Starship, attempted to go into orbit for the first time.

World’s Largest Rocket - Starship
World’s Largest Rocket – Starship

Although Starship failed to reach orbit, learning from failures is Elon’s approach to his career building SpaceX. And to think he built a rocket company with just a bachelor’s degree in economics and another in physics.

Elon, who has Canadian citizenship thanks to his mother Maye, began his undergrad studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, three hours east of Toronto. He chose Queen’s over Canada’s University of Waterloo, which is renowned for its engineering program, because, as he told  Queen’s magazine, “there didn’t seem to be any girls (at Waterloo University)! I didn’t want to spend my undergraduate time with a bunch of dudes.”

Elon Musk And His Mother Maye Musk
Elon Musk And His Mother Maye Musk

After two years at Queen’s, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania as he thought attending an Ivy League school might help him land a job in America. The land of opportunity when it comes to tech. Still, degrees in economics and physics weren’t enough to make him a rocket scientist.

So, Elon taught himself by devouring these books.

elon read books

A habit he built as a boy, reading the entire Encyclopedia when he was only eight or nine years old. He also absorbed knowledge from the industry’s best. He cold-called aerospace consultant Jim Cantrell who answered while driving in his convertible with the roof down. 

He thought he heard Elon introduce himself as an “Internet billionaire”, as he recalled in an interview with Esquire. Elon wasn’t quite a billionaire then, but he did score $180 million when his financial services company X.com merged with PayPal, which was bought by eBay. 

Peter Thiel and Elon Musk at PayPal in 2000. 
Peter Thiel and Elon Musk at PayPal in 2000. 

He then sunk EVERYTHING into three projects:  $100 million into SpaceX, $70 million into Tesla, and $10 million into solar energy company SolarCity, which later merged with Tesla.

spacex tesla solarcity money

In 2001, he planned on buying a refurbished intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Russians to use as a launch vehicle. He figured his space ambitions could start with sending some mice to Mars. When he went to Moscow to negotiate, the  Russians wanted $8 million per ICBM, twice what Elon was prepared to pay.

When he countered with $8 million for two rockets, Jim Cantrell recalled in Ashlee Vance’s biography on Elon, that the Russians reportedly  “‘said something like, ‘Young boy. No”. Elon apparently “stormed out of the meeting.” On the flight home, he broke down the cost of building and launching a rocket on a spreadsheet.

He realized a modest-sized rocket that could carry smaller satellites and research payloads into space could be much less than $8 million. So, SpaceX was born with the goal of building its own rockets. It is an understatement to say starting a rocket company is hard. But Elon found an ally in the godfather of rocket science, Tom Mueller.

Elon Musk with Tom Mueller
Elon Musk with Tom Mueller

Tom worked for the large aerospace company TRW at the time, which Northrop Grumman later acquired. He spent weekends building and firing rockets in the Mojave Desert in California as part of an amateur rocket club. The amateur rocket scene was tight, and Tom got introduced to Elon.

Tom designed the Merlin engine that powers SpaceX’s rockets. Merlin revolutionized spaceflight as it’s designed to be re-used. Elon understood that the only way to open up space to everyone was to drastically cut costs by building reusable rockets.

The Falcon 9 is partially reusable as the booster lands back on Earth. Before Falcon 9, there was the Falcon 1. The Falcon 1 attempted to launch for the first time in March 24, 2006. It lasted only 41 seconds in the air before crashing due to a fuel leak.

The Falcon 1 Crashing
The Falcon 1 Crashing

The second attempt the following year went slightly better, but the rocket failed to reach orbit due to a chain of issues caused by an unexpected bump when the first and second stages separated. The third time wasn’t a charm, either, as a timing error caused the two stages to collide. Elon had run through all the money he had set aside for SpaceX.

Reporter – When you had that third failure in a row, did you think, “I need to pack this in”? 

Elon Musk – Never.

Reporter – Why not? 

Elon Musk – I don’t ever give up. I mean, I’d have to be dead or completely incapacitated.

He told his employees to keep going. The then head of talent acquisition at SpaceX, Dolly Singh, recalled on the question-and-answer site Quora, Elon said: “…we need to pick ourselves up, and dust ourselves off, because we have a lot of work to do. Then he said, with as much fortitude and ferocity as he could muster…“” For my part, I will never give up and I mean never,” and that if we stick with him, we will win.”“I think most of us would have followed him into the gates of hell carrying suntan oil after that.

It was the most impressive display of leadership that I have ever witnessed.” While Elon tried to save SpaceX, Tesla was hanging on by a thread. He joined Tesla in its infancy after sinking millions from his PayPal earnings and stepped into the role as the company’s board chair. After numerous management changes, he was left in charge as CEO in late 2008 at a time when Tesla was in serious trouble.

Very First Tesla Car- The Sporty Roadster
Very First Tesla Car- The Sporty Roadster

The production of the first vehicle, the sporty Roadster, went way over budget. By October 2008, Tesla had just $9 million left to fund the company. It was hard to convince investors to fork over millions more during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. His personal life fared no better; he was going through a divorce from his first wife, Justine, with whom he shares triplets and twins. 

Elon Musk and his sons with Justine Wilson when they were little
Elon Musk and his sons with Justine Wilson when they were little

Elon Musk with Justine Wilson and their twin boys, Xavier Musk and Griffin Musk.
Elon Musk with Justine Wilson and their twin boys, Xavier Musk and Griffin Musk.

Elon has said 2008 was the worst year of his life. With SpaceX unable to get its rocket into orbit and Tesla nearly running out of cash, it looked like one or both of his companies would die, as he painfully recalled to Ashlee Vance: “I could either pick SpaceX or Tesla or split the money I had left between them. If I split the money, maybe both of them would die. If I gave the money to just one company, the probability of it surviving was greater, but then it would mean certain death for the other company.

Elon Musk College Time
Elon Musk College Time

I debated that over and over.” It was like having to choose between two children. Perhaps his difficult childhood shaped his never-give-up mentality. He was bullied for years when he was growing up in Pretoria, South Africa. One day in eighth or ninth grade, he and his brother Kimbal were sitting on the top of a flight of stairs eating when a boy snuck up behind him, kicked him in the head, and shoved him down the stairs.

Then a bunch of boys beat him until he blacked out. The beating damaged his nose so severely that it restricted airflow, and he later got surgery to correct his deviated septum. His life at home was no less painful. After his parents divorced, Elon opted to live with his father for a time. But he told Rolling Stone that his dad  Errol “…was such a terrible human being. 

You have no idea. My dad will have a carefully thought-out plan of evil. He will plan evil.” Elon found comfort in coding, sometimes programming throughout the night. At age twelve, he coded a space-themed video game called Blastar. A South African magazine published the source code and gave him $500. The game was no marvel of computer programming, but it did hint at his underlying brilliance.

Elon Musk First Video Game - Blastar Game in 1984
Elon Musk First Video Game – Blastar Game in 1984

He turned his science fiction fantasies into reality when he founded SpaceX at the age of 30. Despite three failed flight attempts, an investment from a venture capital firm made it possible for SpaceX to attempt a fourth flight. The future of SpaceX rested on that fourth launch in 2008. On September 28, 2008, Falcon 1 lifted off. 9 minutes 31 seconds after launch, the rocket…reached orbit.

The success saved SpaceX because it helped secure a $1.6 billion contract from NASA to resupply cargo to the International Space Station. SpaceX was out of death’s reach. But Tesla was still within its grasp. As Tesla was running out of money, Elon devised a plan to keep his company afloat: he cut 25% of the workforce and leaned on friends to cover the weekly payroll.

He managed to scrape together $20 million, including money he made investing in his cousin’s data center startup, which Dell bought the year before. Investors agreed to match whatever he was able to get on his own. This new round of $40 million in funding saved Tesla on Christmas Eve.

elon musk with tesla car

Tesla would endure many more years of pain after going public in 2010 at $17 a share. Although the Model S wowed the world, people hesitated to buy the luxury vehicle after it came out in 2012. Elon turned his employees into sales people whose job was to convince everyone who put down a $5,000 deposit to go through with their purchase.

When orders weren’t coming in fast enough, Tesla said it was temporarily shutting down its factory for “maintenance” and kept the real reason secret to avoid spooking investors and sending the stock plummeting. Elon’s maneuvering worked. In 2013, Tesla stunned Wall Street by posting its first-ever profit.

Elon’s goal had always been to build a more affordable electric car. But Tesla simply couldn’t keep up with demand for the Model 3.

Elon Musk- Frankly, we’re gonna be in production hell. As the saying goes, if you’re going through hell, keep going.

Elon promised to produce 5,000 Model 3s a week initially, yet only managed a mere 800 cars a week in the first few months of 2018. Tesla was burning cash as it tried to increase the production of its most affordable car. Elon says Tesla was about a month from bankruptcy. The situation was so critical that he slept in his factories to save time, and, he also said it was to suffer more than his staff.

He told Bloomberg: “Whenever they felt pain, I wanted mine to be worse.” The pain eased as Tesla found a way to claw its way out of danger once again. Tesla managed to increase production and turned the corner as it entered 2020. It has expanded from one factory in Fremoba nt, California, to factories worldwide.

The Texas Gigafactory
The Texas Gigafactory, constructed last year, serves as the Tesla global headquarters and is the “equivalent to three Pentagons,” according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla delivered 1.3 million cars in 2022. As I drove across Canada last summer, I couldn’t help but think that one day, electric cars will be so run-of-the-mill that they’ll just be called…cars. I did notice that supercharging stations across the country were pretty empty. There was basically no one charging beside me. Yet charging stations will soon be getting busier.

Tesla charging stations

Many countries, including Canada, have mandated that all new cars and light-duty trucks sold be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Not to mention other auto companies will now be relying on Tesla’s charging network, like Ford. Elon has stressed Tesla must make its cars fully autonomous in which there is no human intervention at all.

tesla car inside

As Tesla engineers work to improve its full self-driving technology, it wants to place that technology in a robot. Optimus perhaps felt like a sideshow when Tesla first unveiled it in 2021.

Elon Musk: Those who are insightful or who listen carefully will understand that Optimus ultimately will be worth more than the car business. Worth more than FSD.

There’s been arguably even more skepticism over Elon’s plan to ease traffic by putting Teslas into his own tunnels. We’re still years away from seeing whether the Boring Company’s tunnels will be a visionary mode of transportation or if there are too many holes in Elon’s plan.

It’s also too early to determine the potential of Neuralink, which received regulatory approval in May 2023 to test its brain implant on people. Neuralink’s chip is meant to stimulate the brain and help those with spinal cord injuries control their computers and smartphones with their thoughts.

Elon Musk- I think we have a chance, I emphasize a chance, of being able to allow someone who cannot walk or use their arms to be able to walk again.

The long-term goal of Neuralink is to merge humans with AI.


A common theme runs through all his companies. The dream of freedom from Earth by going to Mars with the fully reusable Starship. Freedom from fossil fuels. Freedom from traffic. Freedom from the limitations of human biology. And now Twitter is fighting for freedom of speech which he felt was being suppressed under previous leadership.

Twitter has changed its incorporated name to X Corp, to move toward Elon’s plan of transforming Twitter into X, the “everything app”. That includes making Twitter a better video experience. Although Elon has been building many of his companies for over a decade, their potential is only just starting to emerge. Regardless of whether he succeeds or fails, he won’t give up. He once said, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

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