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The Man Behind Tesla Motors: Elon Musk (Part Two)


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The Man Behind Tesla Motors: Elon Musk (Part Two)

Following on from our blog post: 'The Man Behind Tesla Motors: Elon Musk (Part One)' earlier this week, here is Part Two of his story.

We pick it up from the South African moving to Canada where he gets a job cleaning the boiler room of a lumber mill for $18 per hour. 

In an excerpt from Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, published by Ecco, he says: "You have to put on this hazmat suit and then shimmy through this little tunnel that you can barely fit in!

"Then, you have a shovel and take the sand and goop and other residue, which is still steaming hot, and you have to shovel it through the same hole you came through. There is no escape. Someone else on the other side has to shovel it into a wheelbarrow. If you stay in there for more than 30 minutes, you get too hot and die."

Thirty people started out at the beginning of the week. By the third day, five people were left. At the end of the week, it was just Musk and two other men doing the work.

His mother and siblings eventually joined him in Canada and being reunited with his brother, Kimbal, in particular, gave him huge motivation and happiness and encouraged him to enroll at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1989.

Here, his ambition and grand ideas were respected, rather than mocked.

In 1992, having spent two years at Queen's, Musk transferred to Ivy League, University of Pennsylvania and he was able to expand on his interest in finding new ways to harness energy and he wrote papers on solar energy and energy storage which would suit his future pursuits with cars, planes, and rockets.

Outside of college, he and his brother would pick VIPs from the newspaper that they wanted to meet, cold call them and invite them to lunch. Some met with the brothers, inspired by their gumption, and Elon would always mention his dreams of an electric car.

These days, at age 44, Elon Musk has a net worth of US$12.4 billion and owns about 28.9 million shares in electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors.

After being declared the highest paid CEO in the world, taking home around US$78.2 million in 2012, from 2014, Musk's annual salary became one dollar, and similar to Apple's Steve Jobs and others, the remainder of his compensation is in the form of stock and performance-based bonuses.

To this day, Musk continues to push the boundaries and his ideas are still becoming reality, such as his high speed transportation concept: the subsonic air travel machine: ‘Hyperloop’ and his creation last year of Open-Al, a not-for-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company which aims to develop artificial general intelligence in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity and prevent large corporations from using it for profit making ends.

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