Elon Musk Named FORTUNE Businessperson Of The Year
Automology’s favourite alternative businessman has been named Fortune magazine’s Businessperson Of The Year for 2013, and will feature on the front cover of the prestigious magazine (pictured above). Whilst there is no specific cash prize for the award, Elon Musk will no doubt have bragging rights over some of the other notables he beat to win the coveted award, such as Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! or Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett. (Read also: Third Electric Tesla Goes Up In Smoke and Tesla Stock Price Zapped By 11.5% Fall.)
The cover story written by Chris Anderson compares Musk to the legendary Steve Jobs of Apple fame for his persuasiveness, or is that stubbornness? Articles concerning Musk have graced our pages on a number of occasions, particularly regarding Tesla for which Musk is making most of his recent headline news. However, the South African-born entrepreneur, who incidentally is worth about USD6.7 billion and ranks 47th on the Forbes list of the world’s most powerful men, right behind Kim Jong-un, has more than just electric cars on his curriculum vitae. (Read also: Electric Wonderland Car Rentals, Yes Please!)
By the time Musk migrated from South Africa to Canada to avoid conscription into the South African Defence Force when he was 17, he had already written and sold his first computer code. After attending school, first in Canada and then the US of A, he started a software company called Zip2 which was eventually acquired by Compaq; Musk received a cool USD22 million for his efforts.
Most 28 year olds with that sort of money in the back pocket would have probably gone on an extended holiday, but not Musk. He went out and started X.com, an online financial service and e-pay company, that eventually would be renamed Pay-Pal and bought by eBay for USD1.5 billion, of which our hero owned 11.7%. (Read about his other car interest.)
Musk then did something different. He founded a space exploration technology company that we now know as SpaceX. This company designs and manufactures space launch vehicles, and was awarded a USD1.6 billion contract by NASA for the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecrafts to replace the aging shuttle fleet when they were phased out. SpaceX became the first privately funded organisation to put a liquid fuelled vehicle into orbit.
Of course, Elon Musk is mostly associated with Tesla in these pages and, in particular, the trials and tribulations with the Model S that has developed an alarming habit of catching fire. This hasn’t slowed Musk down though and he has become an outspoken critic of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell development that is going on, branding it as nothing more than a cynical marketing exercise for those companies at the forefront of its development and potential fire risk. The latter refers to the the Hindenburg argument, for those of you that may be considering one for your personal garage. (Further reading: Toyota Thinks It’s Time To Rethink The Lithium Battery, GM Disagrees)