10 little known facts about Tesla’s Elon Musk
Elon Musk is in the news daily. The 41-year-old tech entrepreneur is a living legend.
Last week, he overtook Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man.
Here are some facts most people don’t know about the the “real-life Ironman.”
1. He’s a member of the PayPal mafia
Elon Musk is one of the members of a group that’s something like the Mickey Mouse Club of technology billionaires. Musk founded a company called X.com, which was one of the first online banks. X.com was acquired by another company that later went on to become PayPal.
PayPal’s original team gained notoriety in Silicon Valley, many of whom gained the money they needed to pursue their own projects after its 2002 sale.
That they did, quite successfully.
This elite group included Reid Hoffman, who when to on to found LinkedIn, Peter Thiel, founder and CEO of Palantir and first private investor in Facebook, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, who went on to found YouTube, and Russell Simmons and Jeremy Stoppleman, founders of Yelp!.com.
Goodness….what was in that coffee and where can we get some?
2. He and the mother of his son initially connected over a pun
Elon Musk welcomed his first child in May of 2020. His current girlfriend and mother of his son is Canadian musician, Grimes. The two met over the world’s geekiest, but highly intellectual pun.
It’s honestly a lot, but the jist of it: Roko’s Basilisk is a thought experiment about how artificial intelligence will impact society.
Similar sounding, but spelled differently, ‘Rococo’ is a style of French art from the Baroque period, characterized by very fancy and frilly details.
Witty Elon combined the concepts with a play on the similar sounding words “Rococo Basilisk.” As he dug around, he found that GRIMES had already made a music video titled “Flesh without blood” in which she is dressed like Marie Antionette in a world where technology has outpaced her.
3. He had to change his son’s name to comply with state law
It’s pretty over our heads, but we can see how both arriving to the same obscure pun might mean they were meant for each other.
And since they are clearly on the same page in their own, unique way, it’s not that surprising that they also agreed on their son’s names being X Æ A-12.
In case you’re wondering, the way that’s pronounced is ‘X-Ash-A-12.’
California wasn’t having it. According to California law, names cannot contain symbols. Surprisingly, the problem was the 12. So the lovebirds changed it to ‘X Æ A-Xii’ to accommodate the powers that be.
4. He pledged to sell all his possessions – and is making good on that
Elon is going all in on colonizing Mars. That’s a very expensive goal.
In May of 2020, Elon announced that he would be selling “almost all” of his physical possessions in pursuit of this goal.
He listed all of his homes for sale. So far, three of his seven Los Angeles homes have sold, including Gene Wilder’s, which sold for $2.5 million less than the $9.5 million asking price. The buyer? Gene Wilder’s nephew (probably why Elon was willing to let it go for less, though he still turned a profit on it).
Elon sold the remainder of his homes in late December 2020 and early January 2021, including three in a bundle sale for $42 million. What a steal.
5. He made and sold a flamethrower through Boring Company, which he founded, called ‘Not-A-Flamethrower’
Though Tesla and Space X get all the hype, Elon is the founder of several other companies. One of these is the Boring Company.
It’s not really that Boring.
The Boring Company’s main goal is to burrow tunnels under major metro areas. It’s Elon’s answer to LA traffic.
As far as non-tunnel projects go, the Boring Company launched Not-A-Flamethrower, a product that had very flamethrower-like characteristics. In fact, it’s hard to say what exactly makes it not a flamethrower.
But Elon and flamethrower fans across the country were not deterred. Not-A-Flamethrowers sold out – all 20,000 of them – in four days.
6. He believes AI will be powerful enough to make its own choices in the future
In 2018, Elon Musk made a guest appearance on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. In it, the two discussed the future of technology, specifically, artificial intelligence.
“It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just going to be outside of human control,” Musk told Rogan.
“The percentage of intelligence that is not human is increasing, and eventually, we will represent a very small percentage of intelligence.”
But Elon expressed concerns about what he considers all but inevitable. For someone who has achieved as much as Elon has, an unusual tone of defeat.
“I try to slow people down, slow down AI, regulate AI. This was futile. I tried for years. Nobody listened.”
7. His mother, Maye Musk, has been a model for over 50 years
Elon’s mother, Maye Musk, has been modeling for over 50 years.
However, unlike the general trajectory of many models’ careers, Maye Musk’s modeling career really took off after her 60th birthday.
After she made an appearance in Beyonce’s “Haunted” video and landed a New York Magazine and Time cover – in her birthday suit both times – she was signed onto IMG models, the world’s premier modeling agency.
Since then, her modeling career has continued its momentum.
In September 2017, she was signed on as Covergirl’s spokesmodel, making history as the the most experienced model to ever land the widely coveted contract.
8. He’s been in trouble with the SEC – twice
Elon’s been known to say what’s on his mind – even if it draws some negative attention from a federal agency.
If he had to pick a least favorite federal agency, it would probably be the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who has invested the entrepreneur twice over his Tweets.
The first of these tweets had to do with Elon announcing that he was planning on taking Tesla private.
The SEC sued him, saying he wasn’t as close to taking Tesla private as the Tweet implied. The ordered him to step down as Tesla’s Chairman for three years, fined him $20 million dollars, and ordered he have Tweets that related to Tesla stock approved first.
He didn’t even bother deleting the Tweet in question. And it definitely didn’t stop Elon from Tweeting what he wanted.
A few months later, he Tweeted a Tesla vehicle production estimate, which the SEC claimed violated their settlement agreement. The two continue to spat.
In an Interview in late 2018, Musk told 60 Minutes: “I have no respect for the SEC.”
9. He believes there’s a very real possibility that we are living in a simulation
Yes, a simulation a la The Matrix or The Truman Show.
The operators of this simulation? A far more advanced civilization.
It’s not just that he thinks this is a theoretical possibility – Musk believes it’s more likely than not.
“There’s a billion to one chance we’re living in base reality,” he told the audience at the 2016 Recode Conference.
But don’t fret – according to Elon, it’s a good thing, something we should hope is true.
“You’d make a simulation that’s way more interesting than base reality,” he said.
Well, we aren’t making video games of doing laundry, now are we?
10. He was bullied as a kid
Like many of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, Elon Musk was bullied as a child and in his early adolescence.
“I don’t think people understand how tough he had it growing up. He was a really lonely kid,” his first ex-wife, Justine said.
In one particularly bad encounter, Elon was physically beaten so badly, he was hospitalized.
“He was the youngest and smallest guy in his school,” his mother told Esquire.
It seems the world of computers and technology became a form of escapism, one into which he regularly retreated.
We’re sure those bullies wish they had been a little nicer to him now, since he definitely looks like he’s having a pretty good time.