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Elon Musk Success Story: From Bullied Child to a Billionaire

Peeping on others’ things is a very bad habit, but peeping on others’ libraries may result in another Elon Musk Success Story!

Yes, that Billionaire who owned more than 8 companies, started his first project at 12, the man who never get employed.

Had this very good habit, according to his father (Errol Musk) interview with Forbs.

“Where a lot of people would go to a great party and have a great time and drink and talk about all sorts of things like rugby or sport, you would find Elon had found the person’s library and was going through their books”.


A little boy was born in 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa, the older brother for 3 other children, to an electronic engineer father and model and nutritious mother.

His parents had divorced when he was 9, and he decided to live with his father and his old brother (Kimbal) in South Africa.

He attended the Private Waterkloof House Preparatory School and graduated from Pretoria Boys High School.

May childhood days are our best memories, but for Musk, they were the worst ones.

Elon Musk Nerdy Bullied Child

As at this period, his classmates bullied him toughly, and once he was beaten until he blacked out and hospitalized.

“For some reason, they decided that I was it, and they were going to go after me nonstop. That’s what made growing up difficult. For a number of years, there was no respite. You get chased around by gangs at school who tried to beat me, and then I’d come home, and it would just be awful there as well.” Elone Musk

Since then Musk decided to have a super bright future instead of these ugly childhood memories, pushing himself more towards books and reading.

Not any topics grabbed Musk to read about or to study, but books about technology and space were the best to attract him to dig more especially Rockets.

When they got Commodore VIC-20, which is an inexpensive home computer, this encouraged Musk to teach himself programming.

As he saw the hope in these sciences and had a vision of using them in making inventions that help humanity to be better.

At the age of 12, our most important achievement was to pass exams and making new friends, but Musk’s most one was creating his first video game “Blastar” in 1983.

Blastar video game

Source: Business Insider

Which was inspired by a Japanese arcade game which was released in 1978 called “Space Invaders“.

Later he sold his game to a computer magazine called PC and office technology for 500$.

After graduating from High School, it’s time to join the South African military, which was obligatory duty at this time.

To escape this fact, he travelled to his Mom in Canada with his brother Kimbal and his sister Tosca, where they get Canadian citizenship there.


Musk enrolled in Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and studied there for 2 years.

Then he moved to the United States to complete his studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

While studying there he started his first unintended entrepreneurial experiment.

By renting a 10-bedroom fraternity house with his colleague to open later it as a night club.

At the age of 20s you may get married, graduated and looking for a job or even taking a long vacation abroad to enjoy a Tropical drink on the beach!

But this man was graduated with two bachelor degrees!

The first with Science in Physics from Pennsylvania University and the second was in Economics from Wharton School.

At the age of 24, our nonstop learner Musk, travelled to California to take his PhD at Stanford University, but that time was the start of internet booming.

The first thing to pop up in your mind, great news! it will help him studying better and easier to get his bachelor at Stanford University faster.

But do you think that Musk will miss such a chance without doing something extraordinary?

For these thoughts, Musk has bad news and another good one for you.

First Let me tell you the bad one, that he left Stanford University after only 2 days and never made a comeback.

Also when he applied on a job in Netscape – a company that provides online open softwares – They rejected him.

But the good news, that he associated his first company Zip2 in 1995, with his brother Kimbal.

Elon Musk Success Story Kick-Off



Source: Mrowel

Zip2, is a software web, presents an online city guide to newspapers, like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

In the beginning, business corporations totally refused Zip2 as a concept, as they thought that the internet was nothing important to consider.

Until they get a 28,000$ fund from Silicon Valley – which is the home of the biggest technology corporation in the world like Apple, Facebook and Google and it’s located in California.

At this time Musk and his brother worked super hard and couldn’t rent an apartment to even live in.

As in one of Musk’s speeches he mentioned that they used to sleep in the office.

Also Getting shower at YMCA local gym and living only on 1$ a day, according to his speech at USC Marshall School for business.

Later, Compaq – a company specialized in developing, selling and supporting computers, presenting other related services and products – bought Zip2.

Compaq bought it with 341 Million dollars and Musk’s share of it was 22 Million dollars.

This amount of money was pretty enough to make him resign entrepreneurial life, stop innovation and living a luxurious life.

But Instead of that, Musk had another vision to enhance banking future through



Source: New York Post

He invested 10 Million dollars of his share in establishing in 1999 to make online banking process.

After only one year his company merged with another one called Confinity – a financial start-up founded by Peter Thiel.

That’s how “Paypal” came to life and the directional board named him the first CEO for the company.

Since then fights began to raise and business field started grinning for his teeth.

As Musk tried to push their servers from Free Unix to Microsoft Windows, but the cofounders totally refused.

In 2000, It seems that fights came to its dead-end and the board had made their excluding decision for Musk.

As while he was spending his honeymoon, the board fired Musk from his CEO position.

It was one of the reasons that pushed Musk to hate vacations.

But after getting an infection of Cerebral Malaria during his later visit in the same year to South Africa and almost died.

He developed another strong reason for hating vacations, saying “Vacations will Kill you” in his interview with Fortune.

In late 2002, e-Bay revived him by buying Paypal for 1,5 Billion dollars.

As the biggest shareholder in Paypal, Musk had 165 Million dollars, and that’s how he got his first Billion dollars in his life.

Space X


Now this child who is in love with Science, Physics and rockets didn’t give up his dream of making a better future for humanity.

He decided to make a bold step in his plan to colonize Mars, by sending mice and plants to it.

Through buying decommissioned Soviet missiles to transport them in 2001.

But Russian sellers wanted more than 8 Million dollars in each one

That Price was against Musk vision, which was to make space transportations cheaper, so he refused their offers.

Musk insisted later to start his own and that’s how the first SpaceX rocket spark, had Blew up.

In 2002 Musk established his Space X or Space Exploration Technologies company, with his 1 Billion dollars share of selling Paypal.

As we know that Musk adores rockets and Science Fiction topics.

He inspired his first SpaceX rocket’s name from Star Wars movie series, which released its first movie also in 2002.

Then Musk gave it the name Falcon 1 to be the same names of Falcon Spaceships of the movie.

Musk continued inspiring the names of SpaceX rockets from media like “The Dragon” Spacecraft.

Which he got inspired by a song called “Puff the Magic Dragon.

But all these inspired names couldn’t help the first rocket to get a successful launching and he suffered losing much money.

Two years later and despite losing money and effort at SpaceX, Musk invested 70 Million dollars in Tesla electronic cars company.



As the company was about to go bankrupt and was still a start-up at that time.

Musk decided to develop it, to provide cheap but high-quality service as they are providing an eco-friendly solution for transportations.

He worked on producing its first Tesla car “Roadster” in 2006 and quickly became the CEO of it with the biggest share.

Solar City


Source: wccf Tech

In the same year, he helped investing with his cousins, to give a kick-off for the idea of “Solar City“.

Which is a corporation providing solar energy services, and later in 2016, Musk integrated it with Tesla through buying all its shares.

Things after that didn’t go better as the second rocket had a massive explosion also during its launching in 2007.

Also, administrative problems appeared, as Tesla began to lose more and more money, so Musk planned to coup one of its cofounders.

2008, The Hardest Year in Mask Life

Back to SpaceX, they are still investing, but no successful launched rockets yet, which incurred Musk serious losses.

The newly produced cars of Tesla, were still very expensive, with no high-quality production.

What makes matters worse, the Top Gear’s review about Tesla’s first car “Roadster“, saying that it was “Barley running science experiment”.

Tesla was only burning money and no profit at all.

Which pushed Musk to invest with more 40 Million dollars from his own money, and loaned another 40 Million dollars.

That’s why he described 2008 as “The worst year of my life” according to VentureBeat.

If you’ve been in his place, what would you do? Think about it.

A man with 40 Million dollars’ loan and CEO for multiple losing companies, failure is his only destination.

Maybe you’ll think about selling all of your companies, with the lowest prices.

Then trying to find a job to earn your living, giving up your dreams!

Musk was really about to do that, as he lived on some personal loans and all his companies were on the verge of bankruptcy.

But Elon didn’t give up or sold his companies to get money, but money who gets him back on track!

2008, Telling Musk, Welcome Back to Life

As in late 2008, when NASA decided to sign a contract with SpaceX, which worthed 1.5 Billion dollars.

Giving them the mission of handling NASA’s cargo transportation for their International Space Station.

Also assigned it, putting a plan to improve astronauts’ space transportation and moving later.

But in the same year, SpaceX suffered critical failure, as its third rocket failed to launch with NASA satellites.

Success Became His Own Friend

Just like he found a way out for SpaceX when NASA invested in it, he also found another one for Tesla.

As it got 226 million dollars in the IPO and another 15 Million dollars by selling extra shares.

IPO refers to (Initial public offering), in which institutional or retail investors could buy the shares of the companies.

By selling these shares, and getting these investments, Musk got his stable financial status back.

From 2013 till 2016, Musk faced some failures, especially in SpaceX.

Like the first rocket failure during experimental drone ship landing and forth one explosion while launching.

Also fifth rocket explosion during its test with Facebook AMOS-6 satellite for Africa, which cost them 300 Million dollars loss.

Do you think Musk get enough of his inventions, during this ups and downs period?

Ready for a shocking answer! No, he isn’t, instead, he made his best hits, as he was addicted to inventions and technology.



Source: Inverse

In 2013, he just released “Hyperloop” transporting concept, which will be a super-high-speed train.

Which its design will be as a pod, powered by renewable energy resources.

That will transport people from Major city to another, in a very short time.

Through a network of low-pressure tubes at speeds reaching more than 700 mph and have high resistance to weather conditions.

He claims that this invention needs 6 Billion dollars’ fund, and a maximum of 10 years, to be ready to use.

Open AI


Source: goodventures

In 2015, he invested in “Open AI” which is a nonprofit start-up, specialized in Artificial Intelligence researches.

Its aim to not destroy humanity, but help make it better, may that goal remind us for a while with “I, Robot” movie vision.

But later and to avoid potential conflict between Open AI and Tesla, He stepped down from its board in 2018.

The Boring Company


Source: NextBigFuture

In 2016, he launched “The Boring Company” which its main mission is to dig networked tunnels, for such high-speed transportation.

It began its testing in California and later he announced its progress.

“the 500-foot tunnel, which would generally run parallel to Interstate 405, would reach a length of two miles in approximately four months”

As for SpaceX, it got its successes’ share, like achieving the first successful water landing of SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable orbital rocket.

The Summery

May Elon Musk was a super hard worker, nerdy and self-learner, but his secret sauce was that he never gives up to failures.

Always had himself a great comeback, through thinking positively in his inventions, always asking himself what’s next?

Not what’s lost! Focusing mainly on his solo aim and trying to find his way out.

So never give up your dreams, as may one day you can make not another Elon Musk success story, but your own unique success story!

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