Elon Musk, baroque entrepreneur, visionary and elusive

Tesla boss Elon Musk at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver on April 14, 2022 in Canada (Ryan Lash/TED Conferences, LLC/AFP)

Elon Musk has finally gone all the way: the extravagant entrepreneur, who is already trying to save humanity with electric cars, rockets, tunnels and brain implants, took control of Twitter on Thursday.

Born in South Africa, American and Canadian citizen, leader of SpaceX and Tesla, the richest man in the world has become a central figure of American neo-capitalism with his extra-planetary ambitions and political ideals, which he shares with his 110 million Twitter followers.

After months of adventures, he finally took hold of this social network that he loves to criticize.

At 51, the serial entrepreneur is already at the head of Tesla, the world’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicles, and SpaceX, his space company which is to help NASA send astronauts to the Moon by 2025.

His fortune is estimated by Forbes at around $221 billion.

He amassed it mainly thanks to Tesla and uses it to finance his various personal adventures such as Neuralink, a start-up which aims to directly link the human brain to the computer, and The Boring Company, which intends to revolutionize transport. urban with tunnels.

Whatever the sector, he puts forward his desire to save humanity, the environment or democracy. Interviewed on his reasons for acquiring Twitter, he mentioned a “risk to civilization” if users lost confidence in the platform.

“X Æ A-12”

Elon Musk at the grand opening of the massive Tesla factory in Austin, Texas on April 7, 2022
Elon Musk during the inauguration of the huge Tesla factory in Austin, Texas, on April 7, 2022 ( SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP )

Megalomaniac, workaholic, Elon Musk gives, over the tweets, a glimpse of his personality, concerned about his image as a rebellious boss, lover of verbal jousts and provocations, anti-politically correct.

An elusive line that appeals more and more to some Republicans. “His libertarian style has a bit of a radical right in it,” said Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates.

On Twitter, he recently delivered his advice for ending the war in Ukraine – an opinion not really to kyiv’s liking -, challenged Vladimir Putin to a duel or compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler.

In 2018, he smoked cannabis during a filmed interview, while evoking the conquest of space, the end of the world and the libido of bonobo monkeys.

In May 2021, he revealed he had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

Divorced three times, Mr. Musk is the father of ten children, one of whom died at 10 weeks. One of them, a transgender girl, filed an official request to change her family name along with her gender in order to sever all ties with her father.

And the American press revealed in July that he had twins in November with a leader of Neuralink, a few weeks before the birth of Exa Dark Sideræl Musk, whom he had with the singer Grimes. She is the little sister of “X Æ A-12”, a boy.

Tesla Cult

The man divides between an army of fans who adore him and ensure his publicity, and those who hate him. But it’s hard to deny Tesla’s success.

Long in deficit, the company is now an immense industrial and financial success, with a record profit of 5.5 billion dollars in 2021 and an immense stock market valuation (710 billion dollars), which weighs four times that of Toyota, the leading manufacturer. global.

It was not won. From 2017 to 2019, the company was “constantly on the verge of bankruptcy”, he explained. “I lived in the factory in Fremont (California), I slept on the floor so that the team could see that I was not in my ivory tower,” he said.

Several complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination have been filed against the management of this factory, accused of “racial segregation” by California.

“Space Civilization”

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 28, 1971 to an engineer father and a Canadian model, Elon Musk studied in Canada and then in the United States.

At 24, he created, with his brother Kimbal, Zip2, an online software publisher. He became a millionaire before his 30th birthday by selling it to the computer manufacturer Compaq in 1999 for more than 300 million dollars.

The young entrepreneur then founded X.com, which was merged with PayPal, then bought by eBay in 2002 for 1.5 billion.

With SpaceX, founded in stride, he chained the successes, the company became the linchpin of the new ambitions of NASA.

“The overall goal is to allow life to develop on several planets and to make humanity a space civilization,” said Mr. Musk in an interview with Time Magazine, which named him at the end of 2021 personality of the year.


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