Beginnings are Always Hard | Part 1 | The journey of Elon Musk
From his hair-raising revelations on artificial intelligence to a seemingly gutsy decision to delete his Facebook presence amidst concerns of data privacy, Musk is often known as the real-life version of the Marvel superhero Tony Stark.
This South Africa born innovator has always been a man of pathbreaking inventions and words, alike. He founded X.com in 1999, Space X in 2002 and Tesla Motors in 2003. This man has been the stuff headlines are made of. He became a billionaire in his late 20s when he sold a part his start-up, Zip 2, to a division belonging to Compaq computers. The headline thing, he did it again in 2002 when Space X launched the first ever commercial vehicle in the International Space Station. From his hair-raising revelations on artificial intelligence to a seemingly gutsy decision to delete his Facebook presence amidst concerns of data privacy, Musk is often known as the real-life version of the Marvel superhero Tony Stark. But life has not always been easy for the man who has introduced us to numerous technological marvels.
Musk was born to a Canadian mum and a South African dad on June 28, 1971. He had two younger siblings with much more outgoing tendencies as compared to his own self. He spoke so less, that his mother started growing concerned if her eldest son was deaf. When Elon’s parents were divorced, he was just 10. It was a tough time for him, as his father was tough, sometimes to the point of being abusive.
The bright intellectual aptitude which Musk was gifted as a child didn’t help him in winning friends in school. He recalled his childhood as being adverse in an interview, he said:
“I had a terrible upbringing. I had a lot of adversity growing up. One thing I worry about with my kids is they don’t face enough adversity”
Talking about his frustrating bullying experiences in school, he said:
“They got my best friend to lure me out of hiding so they could beat me up. And that hurt. For some reason, they decided that I was it, and they were going to go after me nonstop. That’s what made growing up difficult. For a number of years, there was no respite. You get chased around by gangs at school who tried to beat the (expletive) out of me, and then I’d come home, and it would just be awful there as well”.
At such tough times, Musk befriended technology. At a tender age of 10, he acquainted himself with programming with the Commodore VIC – 20, an inexpensive computer. Soon after, he was so efficient in coding, that he created his own space-fighting style video game called Blastar which he sold to a magazine called, PC and Office Technology for $500.
He went on to pursue his Ph.D. in applied physics from the Stanford University, but with so many ideas struggling to explode from his brilliant mind, he left the program just after two days. A series of disruptive ideas later, he is the tech mogul we know as of today.
Musk’s story proves that brilliance often mushrooms out of adversity. In our series “Beginnings are always hard”, we will continue to showcase many such stories, that began from adversities and ended at the zenith of success. Stay Tuned.