Twitter, SpaceX, Tesla … Elon Musk, the entrepreneur and innovator without limits

“How much is that ?” We are in 2017 and beyond Twitter, Elon Musk wonders about the price of the social network, which he likes. Five years later, the 50-year-old billionaire knows the answer: he announced on Monday April 25 that he would pay 44 billion dollars in rbuy 100% of the shares. After the stars (SpaceX), transportation (Tesla, Hyperloop), infrastructure (The Boring Company), science (Neurolink) or cryptocurrencies, the person with wealth is estimated at 219 billion dollars (208 billion euros), according to Forbes, therefore is further expanding his empire. On “a whim”author’s argument Elon Musk: the entrepreneur who will change the world (Eyrolles, 2017), Ashlee Vance, in Politico*.

“He usually follows his suspicions, for good or for worse. It works well for him in general.”describes his biographer, calling the billionaire “the world’s largest risk taker. ” Nothing is impossible in his sight? Born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria (South Africa), son of a model and an engineer, grandson of an adventurer, Elon Musk lived in a rich environment, without barriers. “My father used to say, ‘Live dangerously … be careful.’ He added: ‘A Haldeman can do nothing.’ That’s what I’ve always believed and I’ve probably shown it to my kids. Now it’s, ‘There’s nothing Musk can’t do’ “written by his mother, Maye Musk, in his memoirs A Woman Makes a Plan (PenguinLife, 2019).

Elon Musk was 18 when he flew to Canada with $ 2,500 in his pocket, as he tweeted. From Canada, he crossed the border and joined the prestigious University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia (USA), to study economics and physics, report The World (paid item). But he looks more at the West Coast and Silicon Valley, the epicenter of “tech” and innovation. The perfect place for confessors Challenges (paid item) : “Hopefully not never been able to create elsewhere what I did here. “

In California, he made huge fortunes thanks to the internet. He found an online directory (Zip2) and a bank (X.com) that lead to Paypal. In 2002, after eBay bought the payment service for $ 1.5 billion, Elon Musk reached the jackpot: $ 180 million. His fate was made. He then began the conquest of the galaxy with the ambition to change everything. At a space show in 2005, he confidently told the leaders of Arianespace, ILS and Sea Launch: “In five years, you’re all dead.” His company Space X was 3 years old then. “Everyone laughed in his face and now, no one is laughing anymore”, said astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, connoisseur of the sector that has conducted three space flights for NASA. Even his prediction was not fully fulfilled.

Elon Musk disappeared almost a few times before Jeff Bezos was ousted from the throne of the world’s richest man: SpaceX’s first three flights exploded, Tesla didn’t make a car for two years and repeatedly announced its bankruptcy. “Entrepreneurship is a big roller coaster, you can’t go up without going down”, studies Jade Le Maître, robotics entrepreneur.

For Tesla, where he invested in 2006, Elon Musk read, telling Business Insider* that he once slept in his office. He never forgot to say “thank you”. “Daimler invested $ 50 million in May 2009, which saved us. Without him, it’s over.”, he reminded his shareholders in 2016. For SpaceX, he was able to rely on NASA, while the U.S. government wanted to save costs on trips to the International Space Station (ISS). In December 2008, NASA allocated, based on the first successful launch of SpaceX earlier in the year, of 1.6 billion dollars to conduct twelve flights to the ISS.

“I am very indebted to NASA for supporting SpaceX when my rockets crashed. I am NASA’s biggest fan.”, thanks Elon Musk at the 2016 World Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara (Mexico). Opportunity or real knowledge to create and take advantage of opportunities? “In my opinion, you can’t reach your level without succeeding in creating bonds of trust with the right people that allow you to carry out your projects”, answers Nolwenn Germain, director of an innovation and marketing consulting firm.

“Elon Musk wants to ‘mess up’ the world, we have to recognize that he’s able to bring people to him, and that not everyone can do it, he knows how to dream.”

Nolwenn Germain, director of an innovation and marketing consulting firm

in franceinfo

Today, Tesla is posting a record $ 5.5 billion in revenue in 2021 and Space X has signed an exclusive $ 2.9 billion deal with NASA to send American astronauts to the moon.

But, coming back to reality can shatter some dreams, like this window of Tesla’s Cybertruck, shown as unbreakable by Elon Musk, but even shattered by an iron ball.

Because the billionaire tends to commit too much, too early. At the risk of distorting the truth. The Hyperloop, the super -fast public transportation project in a depressurized tube? The first section designed near Los Angeles cost at least ten times higher than estimates provided by Elon Musk in 2013, according to Forbes*. Neuralink, his project on the human-machine interface implanted in the brain? The company has never explained how the system can cure the ailments mentioned, from depression to insomnia.

“He’s someone who can afford to have whims, even if some come against an impossible realization.”

Jade Le Maître, general manager of a company that specializes in robotics

in franceinfo

This is nothing compared to his true ambition: “create a self-sufficient city on Mars” at “allow humanity to be a civilization in space”he explains in Time*. A project with many obstacles in front of it. “It’s not crazy about the concept, said Jean-François Clervoy, but at the calendar level, it’s absolute. He promised in 2017 that he would be able to send 40 people to Mars aboard the Starship in 2024. His ship may be capable of this in the coming years, but other human factors will take longer to master. “

This grandiloquence is also one of the reasons for its success. “He’s caught in a gear. If he doesn’t announce a new project or a new innovation every two or three months, he’s losing credibility.”, considering Jade Le Maître. And if they don’t work, it doesn’t matter: “If it doesn’t work, he and all the people with him have learned from it”, explains Nolwenn Germain. But sometimes it becomes tragic, as for this deceased Tesla driver and the 17 others injured between 2018 and 2021, in accidents involving “Autopilot”, Tesla’s automatic piloting system. The U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) opened an investigation in August.

It’s not just Elon Musk’s commitment that has caught the eye of justice. In 2018, he claimed in a tweet that he had raised funds to repurchase all of Tesla’s parts at a price of $ 420 per share.

The courses are frantic and the police of America’s financial markets are attacking it in justice. He eventually decided he lied, Bloomberg reports*: he had no funds. He would justify this tweet, which shook Wall Street, in an interview with New York Times*, which is said to be exhausted due to the hardships experienced by Tesla. Like Donald Trump, Elon Musk has found a playground on Twitter where the consequences of his actions can overwhelm him.

For many critics, Elon Musk’s plans also won’t solve the problems they target. Worse, they can create others. The Boring Company’s first underground tunnel, which was supposed to reduce traffic jams, also experienced its traffic jams, as the Mashable*site noted. And while the official site mentions emergency exits, it doesn’t explain how to free the tunnel in case of an accident or flood.

He who proves to Roller* that climate change is “the greatest threat facing humanity in this century” is not a contradiction: so he proposes solutions based on colonization in space and individual vehicles … far from the sobriety recommended by the IPCC. His plans, however, were consistent with his sense of freedom, i.e. “the maximum number of possible future actions”as he writes in Twitter.

This individualistic behavior is reflected in his relationships. Elon Musk is often described as impulsive and changeable. After her second divorce, she asked her biographer: “How much time a week should you devote to a woman?”, mentioned The world. These problems of empathy are also demonstrated through his management. “In the hall of SpaceX, there’s this poster: ‘If you don’t come in on Saturday, don’t come back on Monday’ “, reports Jean-François Clervoy. The workaholic wants to apply his philosophy to all of his employees, even if it means violating their rights: So Tesla was convicted of firing a unionist employee, reports New York Times*. The company has also been targeted by complaints of racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

By buying Twitter, Elon Musk will directly face so many new rules, which differ depending on the country and the platform. Will he know “unblock” ang “enormous potential” social networks, such as he wrote it*, while respecting them? “I don’t have all the answershe said to Rolling stone. I’m trying to find a set of actions (…) that are more likely to lead to a better future. If you have any suggestions about this, please let me know. “ On one particular platform, millions of people have already answered the call.

* All links followed by an asterisk point in English content.

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