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Elon Musk unveiled

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:36 pm
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floridatoday.com by Todd Halvorson (via hobbyspace):


Internet entreprenuer Elon Musk, one of the richest people in America under age 40, is pouring a significant portion of his personal fortune into building inexpensive rockets. Image for FLORIDA TODAY

Meet Elon Musk, the man who created Zip2 and PayPal.

Born: 1971.

Native of: South Africa.

Parents: Father, a South African engineer; mother, a Canadian nutritionist who also models for fun.
Left home: At age 17 to go to Kingston, Ontario, where he enrolled in Queen’s University, “The Harvard of The North.” Got by on part-time and summer jobs.
The reason: Avoid compulsory service in South Africa’s apartheid army, fascist in his mind. But, “I’m very much pro-military when it is in the service of good.”

Goal at the time: Come to the U.S. “It is where great things are possible. I am nauseatingly pro-American.”
Mission accomplished: Transferred to The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. “Tuition costs are outrageous . . . Fortunately, they gave me a scholarship . . . so I only had to cover living expenses, books, etc., by working.”

Earned: A bachelor’s in Economics. Stayed an extra year, got a bachelor’s in physics.
Graduate school: “My area of interest was cross-disciplinary, focused on the physics of high energy density capacitors, which is a mixture of quantum physics and materials science.”

Crucial crossroads: Accepted at Stanford University. Spent two days on campus. Dropped out before classes began. Started Zip2, creating a way to put newspaper-style ads on the Internet.
Had requested: A deferral for one quarter. “Most companies fail, so I figured it would be a learning experience and I didn’t have anything to lose. ”

His graduate adviser: “He said I’d never come back, and that was the last conversation we had. I should look him up one of these days.”
Sold: Zip2 for $307 million.

Next: Started and sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion in stock.
Now cruises in: A $1.2 million gull-winged McLaren F1, a street-legal supercar that shares many components with an exotic Formula 1 racer. The fastest production car on the planet.

Current endeavor: Building inexpensive but reliable rockets to spur planetary exploration and open the space frontier to average citizens.

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