Elon Musk: Real-Life Tony Stark?


Elon Musk passed Jeff Bezos in becoming the wealthiest private citizen in the world. As of May 2022, Musk is valued at over $209 billion. Photo by TIME

Jonah Pedroza, Sports Editor

Nicknamed the “real-life Tony Stark,” even appearing in the film “Iron Man 2”, Elon Musk; the richest man in the world with a current net value of about $250 billion. Musk made recent headlines on April 25, when Musk purchased social media platform Twitter for $44 billion, taking the company private for the first time since its creation in 2006. 

Born in 1971 in South Africa to an engineer father and supermodel mother, Musk developed software by the age 12. Musk moved from South Africa to Canada in 1988 to escape service in the South African military and came to the United States in 1992 to attend the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating with a degree in economics and a second bachelor’s degree in physics, Musk then enrolled at Stanford University to pursue a Ph.D. in energy physics but dropped out in the first week to launch his first company, Zip2, one of the first online mapping programs.

After the sale of Zip2, Musk used the money to create X.com, known today as PayPal, before selling the company to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. In the same year, Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corporation or SpaceX.

In 2012, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9, an unmanned spacecraft with 1,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station. This marked the first time a private company sent supplies to the ISS. Musk continued to utilize the Falcon rockets and new models in numerous missions. SpaceX aims to send manned missions to Mars by 2030. SpaceX launched its Starlink satellites in 2019, providing high-speed broadband internet access across the globe. Notably, in 2022, Elon offered his satellites to help efforts in Ukraine stay online after the Russian invasion. After launching in Ukraine, the United States government provided backing for over a thousand more satellites.

Aside from SpaceX,  Musk is known for Tesla Inc. Tesla’s mission to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” can be seen through the production of their energy and automobile products. Since co-founding and becoming a leading investor in the company, Tesla Motors has become the leader in mass-market electric vehicles, with the Model 3 becoming the best-selling electric car of all time.

Despite his success, Musk’s career has been subject to controversies. For some, Musk’s bizarre tweets and controversial actions overshadow his success. Some of his most polarizing moments include his brief stint as an advisor to the Trump administration, controversial podcast appearances, Tesla’s child labor lawsuits, and his purchase of Twitter.

As a frequent user of Twitter, Musk purchased it in hopes to “free Twitter from censorship” and bringing free speech to the platform. By purchasing the company, Musk will take the company private. As of May 18, Musk temporarily put the deal on hold, as he believes Twitter provided him with inaccurate information regarding user data.

Despite the controversy, Elon Musk has solidified himself as one of the most influential people in the world over the past two decades. Growing up with divorced parents, Aspergers and fleeing a country entering a civil war, Musk defied all odds with his entrepreneurial success.