Elon Musk is a scientific force to be reckoned with. The 41-year old South-African born US citizen has led one of the most prolific careers in engineering and entrepreneurship and is still trailblazing. In 2010, he was revered in Time magazine as one of the world’s top 100 most influential people. Due to his overwhelming awesomeness, Elon Musk will be the opening keynote speaker at SXSW interactive.
His impressive career began when he established Zip2, a company that supplied digital software to media corporations. He then went on to become one of the co-founders of X.com. In 2000, a merger ensued and X.com bought Confinity with its PayPal counterpart. X.com officially changed its corporate name to PayPal Inc in 2001 and has since grown into one of the world’s most reputable online payment and financial services corporations ever.
Always striving towards innovation, Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and is currently serving as Chief Designer and CEO. SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies is at the forefront of aviation technology and designs world-class spacecraft and rockets. Musk’s thinking behind the company is geared towards the extension of human life to planets beyond Earth. The brilliant engineer, who has two degrees, one being a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania, designed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets for SpaceX. Musk made history with the innovation as the Falcon 1 and 9 were the world’s first liquid fuel private spacecraft to attain Earth orbit. SpaceX was conferred a $1.6 billion contract by NASA in 2008 for cargo flights, which subsequently replaced the Space Shuttle. SpaceX also made history in 2010 when it became the first privately-owned organization to retrieve a rocket from Earth’s orbit. The company is currently working on NASA-operated flights and plans are underway to complete the project by 2015.
Musk also co-found Teslo Motors, where he is currently CEO and spearheading product design. Teslo Motors, which is valued at over $1 billion, is the first corporation to manufacture affordable electric cars. Musk was instrumental in the design of the sporty Tesla Roadster, the world’s first battery electric vehicle. The Tesla Roadster was sold in over 30 countries. The ingenious Musk is currently involved with the development of the electric sedan Model S, and Model X, an electric SUV. The company has grown enormously and is world renowned and has partnerships with Toyota and Daimler.
Musk is an avid environmentalist and is currently chairman for SolarCity, a corporation which serves as the biggest provider of solar power in America. He is passionate about fighting global warming and reducing air pollution and this has been the driving force behind his involvement with SolarCity.
This entrepreneurial powerhouse has received several prominent awards and mentions. He was listed in Forbes magazine as one of the 20 most powerful CEOs in America under the age of 40. He received the Entrepreneur of the Year title from Inc. Magazine. Musk also received the Innovator of the Year award from Research and Development Magazine. Other awards include the Heinlein Prize for his efforts towards space commercialization as well as the Von Braun Award.
He spearheads the Musk Foundation, another influential company that he founded. The Foundation has played a pivotal role in disaster relief for countries who have been affected by natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes. History-making Elon Musk is surely leaving his mark on the world in a huge way