31 Inspiring Facts About Elon Musk, The Genius Determined To Change The World

Published November 3, 2015
Updated February 1, 2024

Get to know the man and mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, and the Boring Company with these interesting Elon Musk facts.

Widely regarded as one of the brightest living minds, Elon Musk has long been at the forefront of pioneering technologies while pushing mankind to new frontiers in space travel. With his founding stake in PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, Musk has accumulated a net worth of over 13 billion dollars. Today, we share thirty-one inspiring Elon Musk facts about the wunderkind polymath:

Facts About Elon Musk's Childhood
As a child, Elon Musk was bullied so severely he once had to be hospitalized because of a beating from other students.

Elon Musk Video Game Programming
Musk developed and sold a video game at age 12: After learning to program, he developed a spaceship-shooting game called "Blastar," which he sold to a computer magazine for $500.

Elon Musk Facts In College
Throughout his college years, Musk subsisted on less than $1 a day for food, which he referred to as a forced experiment in preventing scurvy.

Dropping Out Of Stanford
After graduating, Musk moved to California in order to begin graduate school in physics at Stanford University. He left Stanford after just two days, deciding instead to take advantage of the Internet boom.

Zip2
After dropping out of graduate school, Musk quickly established his first company, Zip2, which provided online newspapers with maps and business directories. He sold the company in 1999 for $307 million.

Founding Zip2
When Elon Musk founded Zip2, they had so little money that their mother had to pay for colored copies of their business presentation.

Xcom
In 1999, Musk co-founded X.com, an online payment company that eventually became PayPal, which would go on to be acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion.

Why Elon Musk Started Spacex
Elon Musk also founded SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies), a company that creates and manufactures space launch vehicles, with a particular focus in rocket technology. His aim is to reduce the cost of space flight in hopes of expanding human life beyond Earth.

Elon Musk Facts SpaceX
Musk initially found it impossible to get funding for SpaceX, which potential investors saw as a pipe dream. Musk channeled all his own money into the company to make SpaceX a reality.

Elon Musk Facts
Elon Musk has suggested we should consider using nuclear weapons on the poles of Mars to help make its climate hospitable to humans.

Space Faring Civilization
His long-term goal is to help humanity through SpaceX by creating a true spacefaring civilization.

Colonizing Mars
Elon Musk wants to send 1 million people to begin colonizing Mars, with each person provided $500,000 as compensation.

Elon Musk Iron Man
Musk provided a large amount of inspiration for the Hollywood character Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.

Spacex Costs
Musk has reduced the cost of reaching the International Space Station by 90%, bringing it down from $1 billion per mission to just $60 million.

Elon Musk Tesla
Musk co-founded Tesla Motors, a company that designs and manufacturers electric sports cars. Tesla was able to succeed in the electric car market where other large manufacturers failed. He now serves as CEO and chief product architect at Tesla.

Elon Musk Facts Salary From Tesla
Musk's official annual salary for Tesla Motors is $1.

Dumbest Experiment In History
Musk once told an interviewer that humanity is running "the dumbest experiment in history" by continuing to burn fossil fuels.

Facts About Elon Musk
Musk believes that cars you can control will eventually be outlawed in favor of ones that are controlled by robots. The simple explanation: Musk believes computers will do a much better job to the point that humans would be a liability on roadways.

Workaholic
Musk has described himself as a workaholic who routinely works 100 hours per week.

Businessperson Of The Year
In 2013, Musk was named Fortune's "Businessperson of the Year" for his work with SpaceX, SolarCity, and Tesla Motors.

Wet Nellie
Elon Musk owns Wet Nellie, a Lotus Espirit used in the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. He wants to make it transform into a submarine as it does in the movie.

Fai Gold Space Medal
The Federation Aeronautique Internationale, which is the world governing body for aerospace records, presented Musk with the FAI Gold Space Medal in 2010 for designing the first privately developed rocket to reach orbit.

Hyperloop
In 2013, Musk introduced the Hyperloop, a new form of transportation that could theoretically send people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in half an hour by way of pressurized tubes. Musk has said if no one else will build it, he will do it himself.

Internet From Space
One of Elon Musk's ambitions is to blanket planet Earth with free high-speed internet from 4000 satellites in space.

Brushes With Failure
Despite his enormous recent success, both his flagship 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.

Musk Foundation
Elon Musk established the Musk Foundation, which is a group committed to space exploration and discovering clean energy sources. The Foundation runs the Musk Mars Desert Observatory telescope in Utah.

Mars Simulation
The Musk Foundation also runs a simulated Mars environment that allows visitors to experience what life on Mars might be like, complete with waste-burning toilets.

Elon Musk Facts PayPal
He became famous for starting Tesla Motors and SpaceX but he first made his fortune as a co-founder of PayPal.

Reading
He spent up to five hours a day reading as a child and still does today.

Artificially Intelligent Weapons
Elon Musk joined Stephen Hawking in signing an open letter calling for a ban on artificially intelligent weapons.

Xavier
Musk has five sons and he has confessed to naming one of his sons Xavier after Professor Xavier of the X-Men.

Enjoy these interesting Elon Musk facts? Then check out our other posts on Steve Job facts and interesting facts about the world!

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A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.