15 Intriguing Facts About Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

DEC 28 2018 BY EVANNEX 44


Elon Musk has been the target of a relentless smear campaign this year. While greedy (and shadowy) figures spew salacious gossip, diehard Tesla fanboys claim to know the real deal — right down to the most obscure detail about The Ironman. Hint: see item #5 below. To test your own knowledge, see if you’re aware of these surprising 15 factoids (via CNBC and Redbook) about Elon Musk.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: SpaceX and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk (Source: Elon Musk’s since deleted Instagram account)

1. Musk holds South African, Canadian, and U.S. citizenship.

Musk was raised in Pretoria, South Africa, before moving to Canada at age 17. Three years later, he moved to the United States to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

2. Musk has a net worth of $21.8 billion.

All that work at Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal has really paid off for Musk. He’s currently the 37th-richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

3. Musk taught himself computer programming at the age of 9.

He reportedly taught himself the basics of computer programming when he was only 9 years old. Three years later, Musk built a space-themed PC game called Blastar. He sold the code for Blastar for $500 to a computer magazine. You can actually still play Blastar online.

4. Musk dropped out of Stanford after just two days.

After earning two bachelors’ degrees (yes, two) at the University of Pennsylvania, he moved to California to study Physics at Stanford. But after just two days, he dropped out to found his first company, Zip2 Corporation.

5. Musk was the inspiration for Tony Stark, a.k.a. Ironman.

The superhero/serial entrepreneur Tony Stark a.k.a Ironman, is based at least a little bit on Musk. The actor who plays him, Robert Downey Jr., reportedly wanted to sit down with Musk to get inspiration for the character. Parts of Iron Man 2 were even filmed at SpaceX and Musk made a cameo appearance in the movie.

6. Musk’s official Tesla salary is way lower than you think.

Musk’s total compensation package for Tesla is less than $40,000, and he reportedly doesn’t even cash the checks. However, between the 35 million Tesla shares he owns, and his earnings from SpaceX and he’s doing alright (see item #2).

7. Musk is the owner of a “submarine car” from a James Bond film.

Musk is the owner of the “Wet Nellie,” a Lotus submarine car prop from the 1970s James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. He reportedly plans to to convert it into a real car that transforms into a sub.

Above: Some of Musk’s famous quotes (Image: EO India)

8. Musk is a big X-Men fan.

During a Tesla factory upgrade, Musk decided to name some of the factory’s new robots after X-Men characters, including Xavier, Iceman, Wolverine, Storm, and Colossus. When announcing the factory upgrade, Tesla wrote, “To us, these robots are like superheroes, so we figured they deserved superhero names.”

9. Musk ran a nightclub out of his house in college.

When he was attending the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and his roommate decided to escape student housing and live in a bigger house off-campus. In order to pay the rent, they turned it into a nightclub that attracted as many as 1,000 patrons per night.

10. Musk started building his own rockets when he was a kid.

A housekeeper would take care of Musk and his siblings when his parents were away. “She wasn’t, like, watching me. I was off making explosives and reading books and building rockets and doing things that could have gotten me killed,” said Musk. “I’m shocked that I have all my fingers.”

11. Musk was a master at Dungeons & Dragons.

Musk travelled with his cousins to Johannesburg for a Dungeons & Dragons tournament. “That was us being nerd masters supremes,” Musk told Ashley Vance, author of his biography. According to his cousin Peter Rive, Musk helped their team win the tournament with his “incredible imagination” and ability to keep people “captivated and inspired.”

12. Musk used to live on a budget of $1 a day.

Musk was determined to survive on $1 a day by buying food at the supermarket in bulk when he arrived in North America. “I went more for the hotdogs and oranges… [but] you do get really tired of hot dogs and oranges after a while,” explained Musk — mixing things up every now and then with some “pasta and green pepper and a big thing of sauce” which he said could “go pretty far too.”

13. Musk tried opening his own video arcade at 16.

Musk got the idea to open an arcade by his high school, according to Vance’s book. He teamed up with his brother. They got as far as signing a lease, setting contracts together, and filling out forms at the city planning department. But their plans were foiled when the city told them they were too young.

14. Musk read the entire encyclopedia at 9 years old. 

Musk said, “I was raised by books. Books, and then my parents.” He would pore over books for up to 10 hours a day. He reportedly read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica at age nine and moved on to sci-fi and fantasy favorites including “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series.

Above: Under Musk’s leadership, Tesla’s stock has skyrocketed since its IPO (Youtube: CNBC Make It.)

15. Betting on Musk at Tesla’s IPO would’ve made you a lot of money.

Back in 2010, if you’d invested in Elon Musk’s electric car start-up when it made its initial public offering, that investment would’ve really paid off. A $1,000 investment in Tesla would be worth more than $21,000 as of Dec. 12, according to CNBC calculations, including price appreciation and dividend gains reinvested.


Source: RedbookCNBC; Video: CNBC Make It.

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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44 Comments on "15 Intriguing Facts About Tesla CEO Elon Musk"

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1. Musk is US citizen by conscious choice, others by birth lottery. That makes Musk more American than birth lottery citizens since Musk had to take exam about US government and systems before becoming a citizen. Seeing some clips of old tonight show, I just shake my head at ignorance of US birth lottery wieners.

And I thought my Civics exam in high school was for applying for a spot on the Helpful Honda Folks internship program. I had no idea that there would also be some additional US government systems under the hood, that would also be included on the “wieners” exam!

Shining example of birth lottery weiner and Cum Laude graduate in International relations from Boston U, Ocasio-Cortez, “all three chambers of Congress — Uh, rather, all three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House.” Naturalized US citizen who didn’t even graduate from elementary school would know better.

so, somebody misspoke and you call her uneducated?

Misspoke, once, yeah sure. Then she corrects herself as all three chambers of government.

She is simply trying twice to find a single term to refer to the three bodies/positions/offices that are up for election in 2020 (Senate, House, and POTUS).

She is not able to come up with a common term for those 3 election contests because there is no common term used to distinctly describe those 3 election contests collectively.

Testing how well your right-wing echo chamber faux-outrage talking points work outside your right-wing echo chamber? Sadly you have only proven your own lack of ability to read for comprehension and recognize when someone simply misspoke or had poor word choice.

Context: She was speaking about elections in 2020. She fully knows what 3 contests are up for vote in 2020. The House, the Senate, and the Presidency. Your failure to comprehend this context is your fault. Understanding context is a basic reading skill taught in grade school.

Reading for Context: Clearly she was talking about “all three Election Contests, the presidency, the Senate, and the House”, since SCOTUS members are not elected, and she simply misspoke. Likely because there simply IS NO COMMON TERM used to group together those three election contests, and she was trying to speak of them collectively as one.

Your Failure: You (and Faux News) failed to read for context and instead made the mistaken ASSumption that she doesn’t know the 3 branches of gov’t, when she CLEARLY WAS NOT TALKING about the three branches, only the 3 entities up for election in 2020.

You would be all over the idiot if it’s right wing moron “misspoke” and then corrected herself and misspoke even worse. Musk and millions of other naturalized citizens would not be US citizen if they “misspoke” so badly like Ocasio Cortez, yet there she is, in congress and misspeaking away.

I’m curious if you know “all three” and what “chamber” means. Many (or most according to Jay Leno show) birth lottery weiners don’t have a clue, which is probably why OC “misspoke” not once, but corrected herself to “misspoke” the second time even worse way.

I very much know what “all three” means. Sadly you still do not. because even after handing it to you on a silver platter, you STILL fail to read for context.

“all three” clearly refers to the three 2020 election contests she spoke of: “the presidency, the Senate, and the House”. Your failure to comprehend this even after I explained it to you is YOUR comprehension failure, not hers.

“chamber” is where she misspoke because there simply IS NO COMMONLY USED COLLECTIVE TERM for the 3 distinct parts of the US gov’t that are subject to elections. What single term do you suggest she should have used for these 3 elected bodies/positions/offices, collectively?

This argument on an electric car thread is the reason our country is as divided as it is today. Good Lord, have some decorum.

I’m not the one who turned this into politics. If OC is right wing or even just on Jay Leno show making such “misspoke”, my comment would still be valid in that those who are born in US know less about US than the naturalized citizens. It is Nix and other left wingers who turned the point into defending their politics.

BoltEV — You and you alone brought the Ocasio-Cortez quote to this story, with nobody prompting you.

Own it.

Sadly, not only will you blame others for you dragging an Ocasio-Cortez political rant into here completely off topic, but you can’t even answer what single term do you suggest she should have used for these 3 elected bodies/positions/offices, collectively?

Musk would not be a US citizen if he twisted the meaning of existing words and make up his own definition, yet OC and all those on Jay Leno show are. The fact that you don’t see a problem with this shows you’re turning this into your left wing politics instead of my point that the head of best EV maker in the world would not “misspeak” and make up his own terms.

What single term do you suggest she should have used for these 3 elected bodies/positions/offices, collectively?

This argument on an electric car thread is the reason our country is as divided as it is today. Good Lord, have some decorum.

Our current President doesn’t even recognize the Judicial branch as a separate and co-equal branch of the government. 🙄

Hardly… Musks knowledge and intelligence are some of the things that makes him less of a US citizen. Not being able to pick out your own country on a map, voting for Trump and being obese and clueless about the harm of guns makes you more of a US citizen… 😉

Some who has to go through INS hell (10 times worse than DMV) is a person who really wants to be a US citizen. Maybe you’re thinking about birth lottery weiners like much of anti freedom left wing of US.

As for guns, US has more guns than any other country in the world, yet US ranks 5th safest country in the Americas (both continents). Yup, some people are clueless about guns.

5th safest in the Americas? Impressive!

In other news I’m the strongest person in my house, and the best-looking person currently in physical contact with this keyboard I’m typing on. Autographs available on request.

Hah! I can one-up that!
I am the most intelligent person ever to occupy the ground floor of my house for the last half hour (my wife is upstairs, but so what?).
In fact people, many people, are saying I am a very stable genius too!

Lol and that doesn’t include the “Lesser Americas” – that bit south of the Rio Grande and north of Tierra del Fuego. The northern wastes are also excluded.

If you’re the strongest person in your house, US is the safest country in US despite having more guns than people. Why are the left wingers trying to restrict guns?

Another interesting factoid: first shot of revolutionary war was fired when Brits came to take guns away from people. Quite literally, first shot of US independence was over gun control.

Take your off-topic right wing rants elsewhere. This is an EV forum.

LMAO, not only is Sparky a near-textbook example of right-wing cognitive dissonance, he surely exemplifies what has gone wrong in the US as otherwise smart people choose irrational stupidity over informed political judgment.

I weep for the future my children will have to live in because of the 40% who have become brainwashed, climate-change denial right wing-nuts despite the clear and compelling evidence that the current Republican Party is bad for the present as well as the future.

I’m not the one who brought up politics nor guns. I merely pointed out that Musk is naturalized US citizen who heads Tesla knows more about government than someone else who “misspoke”. Then you came out defending her as who makes up her own words (try that at citizenship test), and Micke Larsson brought up guns.

It is YOU who should take your left wing rant elsewhere. If Musk made up / changed the definition of terms in his citizenship test by “misspoke”, he would not be a US citizen.

There is no question in any citizenship test to provide a collective name for the 3 election contests, because there is no common term for the election of the POTUS, control of the House, and control of the Senate.

Not only did you continue your rant about Ocasio-Cortez that you and you alone started, you are tripling down on your ignorance, and for all your bravado about how Ocasio-Cortez misspoke, you can’t even answer the question of what single term do you suggest she should have used for these 3 elected bodies/positions/offices, collectively?

Wow, talk about revisionist history!

I’m sure that the British officer or official who issued the order for British troops to seize the rebels’ armory didn’t think of that as a political issue, nor as “gun control”.

But that’s not nearly as bad as the hard right wingnuts who use the term “second amendment rights” to describe such outrageous and extreme pro-gun lobby measures as making it illegal to have a national firearm registry, or to put limits on how many bullets magazines can hold.

There’s nothing even remotely close to “a well-regulated militia” about a bunch of self-chosen gun nuts who are allowed to own as many guns as they want, with no oversight or even registration at all.

If gun ownership was actually restricted to “a well-regulated militia” in this country, plus those relative few who actually need guns either because they are properly trained law enforcement officers or because they need one for legitimate hunting purposes, then our gun murder rate would be as low as it is in Canada or the UK.

Wrong war.

“US ranks 5th safest country in the Americas (both continents)”

How very, very odd that you seem to think this is something to brag about. So, there are no less than 4 third-world countries in the Americas which are safer to live in than the USA.

Talk about setting a low bar!

At least we agree that it’s not the guns that makes it dangerous, rather other factors (like being third world). I wish more people could see the facts.

Hmmm, I think most U.S. citizens would be able to pick out the USA on a map. That is, if you’re talking about the entire USA, and not some States like Hawaii or possessions like Puerto Rico.

On the other hand, according to reports, Sarah Palin was unable to find France on a map.

And how many Europeans can pick out Idaho? Rhode Island? Ohio?
The US should be compared to EU ,while the states should be compared to the individual nations of EU.

And considering that Palin has a crush on the French president, I suspect that she is able to find france on a map.
Sadly, you extremists LOVE to make up stuff.

Tesla has sold 204,885 vehicles in 2018-YTD with 1 month to spare.
Its the 1st time the company exceeded 200,000 in sales and now they have at least 2% the sales of GM.
Last year it was just 1%.

Right. Can you also compare the rise in revenue?

“Chief Executive Elon Musk told an auto industry gathering here on Tuesday that his luxury electric-car company won’t be profitable on a basis that includes executive compensation and charges until 2020. … Tesla, currently with volumes around 35,000, should sell “a few million cars” by 2025, he said. 13 janv. 2015″ – WSJ

The only reason why they do it a year earlier is the constant bullying from the corporate media trashing them for : not turning an accountable profit = fail.
Money flows a lot at Tesla from the beginning, but they reinvested all of it in their own crazy growth surfing on the success of their awesome electric cars bringing them about 25% markup since 2012. There is now +300 000 Teslas on the road. Go test drive one to understand.

I don’t know who this article is aimed at, but certainly any fan of Elon will know at least a few of them. I count 7 out of 15 that I had previously read before.

What true Tesla fan doesn’t know that some of the robots in the Fremont assembly plant are named after X-Men superheroes? What true fan of Elon Musk doesn’t know that some give him the nickname of “Iron Man”, or doesn’t know the way Tony Stark is portrayed in Marvel movies has been influenced by Elon?

He is certainly intelligent, lucky, and ambitious.
If he lacked any one of the three, Tesla EV would not have been born.

Elon wasn’t around when Tesla Motors was born. It was the brainchild of Martin Eberhard and Martin Tarpenning, with an assistance from Ian Wright.

Elon certainly deserves much if not most of the credit for the way Tesla has succeeded so well and so brilliantly, growing in only a decade (the decade since it started selling its first car in 2008) far, far beyond the expectations of just about anyone in its early years!

9 and 13 are interesting. those are the only 2 that I did not know.
As to taking a paycheck, you will find that almost NONE of the CEOs today take paychecks. Why?
Because they pay top dollars in tax on those. So, 38% or so.
OTOH, by taking their wage/bonus as Options, they pay 12% on the bought value, not on the sold value.

This is why we desperately need a REAL tax rewrite.

It is even worse than that. Many top CEO’s don’t even pay any taxes on their options, not even 12%.

How it works is that they use their un-executed options as collateral for zero or near-zero interest personal lines of credit. The options don’t become taxable until they are executed, so no tax is due on them. Drawing from a bank personal line of credit is not considered income and isn’t taxable. The bank is earning their money on servicing corporate accounts, so they are happy to hand out very low or zero interest personal lines of credit to the CEO.


Point 15 is technically wrong – TSLA don’t pay dividends so there is no DRIP, so Tesla growth is all share price rises. A $1,000 investment would have been impossible at $17.00…. 58 shares would have been 986 and 59 shares would have cost $1,003

At close of business on 12.12.2018 TSLA were $366.60 making a 58 share purchase worth $21,262.80 and 59 shares worth $21,629.40 Either way it’s a 21.56X which is a pretty good ROI for an 8 year 6 month term.

Regarding EM’s Tesla-salary, you forgot to mention his 60bln$ compensation plan …