“I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” ~Elon Musk
Transportation entrepreneur Elon Musk is the CEO and cofounder of Tesla Motors. Tesla has seen success recently far beyond what analysts ever predicted, and the company is rising as a model for the future of transportation. Musk said that he started Tesla because it became clear to him that electric cars would not come from the large car manufacturers without entrepreneurs leading the way. He was inspired by the way car owners held a vigil for the first round of electric cars that were sent to the crusher after a change in regulations ended its production.
Tesla was founded because of the importance Musk sees in transitioning to sustainable means of transportation. Electric cars, even ones that run on coal dependent power, are two to three times more efficient than using gasoline. While the electric car was originally envisioned as a practical suburban vehicle, Tesla has created high end luxury sports cars, ones that reach speeds previously though impossible from cars without a gasoline engine. The company has continued to innovate through superchargers to allow the cars to go longer distances. Within four years, Musk plans on introducing an affordable mass market electric car.
Before the success of Tesla, Musk created media publishing software called Zip2, which sold for $307 million to Compaq in 1999. He went on to start a company that would later merge with a competitor and become PayPal, which was sold to eBay in 2002. After PayPal, Musk says he felt the internet had enough investors and entrepreneurs to shape society for the better, and decided to move into transportation as a way to make an impact on the world. Later that year, he founded SpaceX, short for space exploration technologies. The vision of SpaceX is to advance rocket technology for space launch vehicles. In March 2012, SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch and dock a vehicle to the International Space Station.
Elon Musk was born in South Africa and currently resides in Bel Air, California. He is also a noted philanthropist, focused mostly on advancing science, technology and renewable energy. His foundation donates solar panels to designated disaster areas. He has publically opposed the Keystone Pipeline and supports immigration reform. Last April Musk joined The Giving Pledge, which a promise to give away at least half of his wealth to charity.