When Elon Musk briefly became the world’s richest man, people’s evaluation of him became a business genius, the second Howard Hughes, the Iron Man of Silicon Valley, and the hero who changed the world.
But more often, Musk is regarded as the tipping point of genius, madman and liar, an incurable gambler and playboy, even though his real big money is not nightclubs, but Silicon Valley.
Musk has failed all his life, he said, “I look forward to failure.” But in too many failures, Musk used his way of thinking different from ordinary people, with inexhaustible energy and strong learning ability, to get up from the ruins of failure again and again, miraculously taking too many doomed careers. It’s done.
If we can see 10,000 parallel time and space, we can see more than 9,000 failed Musk. The world’s richest man is only one side of Musk. In more parallel time and space, he may have failed to start a business and has nothing; he may also be expelled from the company he founded like Adam Neumann or Kalanick; he may even owe a butt. The debt became the American version of Jia Yueting.
If Musk goes bankrupt?
“Musk was found to have fainted next to a Tesla Model 3. He was surrounded by wine bottles of Dragon Tesla Quilan, and there were wind-dried tears on his face.” 2018 On April 1, Musk tweeted three consecutive tweets announcing that Tesla was “bankrupt.”
“Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018-Despite our best efforts to raise funds, including a large-scale sale of Easter eggs, we regret to announce that Tesla has completely and completely Bankrupt. You may not believe it, but it is really bankrupt.”
Musk’s April Fool’s Day joke was in response to John Thompson, a well-known Wall Street hedge fund manager. Thompson predicted at the time that Tesla’s book funds were only enough to burn for three months, and that it had reached the brink of bankruptcy.
In fact, Musk tried his best to maintain Tesla’s cash flow, but he was not afraid of being penniless. At the age of 17, he once designed a challenge for himself, trying to survive for a month for only one dollar a day.
Musk went to the supermarket to buy a lot of hot dogs and oranges, occasionally eating pasta and green peppers, and finally completed the challenge.
At that time, Musk thought, “If I only need 1 dollar a day to feed myself, and at least buy enough food, then it shouldn’t be difficult to make 30 dollars a month.”
Musk has never been a conformist, he is passionate about all kinds of challenges. This may come from family inheritance.
His maternal grandfather Joshua once sold his house and clinic in Canada and settled in South Africa. He also took a family (including Musk’s mother Meyer) and flew a single-engine plane to Scotland, Norway and Australia. Joshua died in an accident when he was 72 years old when he landed a plane by himself.
Although Musk was considered a nerd obsessed with computers when he was young, he also had an adventurous nature in his blood. At the age of 17, he chose to inherit his mother’s Canadian citizenship and went to Canada to study alone.
At that time, Musk’s parents had divorced, and his mother Meyer raised three children alone. Soon after, Musk reunited with his brother, sister, and mother in Canada. When Meyer was still looking for a place to live in Canada, Musk’s 14-year-old sister Tosca sold her house and car in South Africa and told Meyer: “Don’t hesitate any more, we will leave this place now.”
While studying at Queen’s University, Musk and his younger brother Kimball looked for various celebrities in the newspaper, called them, and asked if they would have lunch with them. Usually their invitations were declined, but they also agreed. One of them was Peter Nicholson, an executive at Peter Bank, who later offered internship opportunities to the two brothers. This experience later inspired Musk to enter the field of online banking to start a business.
Knowing the phone numbers of important business figures from the media, and constantly calling to ask to see each other, what is this behavior?
Today, we will say that this is harassment, contact with porcelain, and hot spots. But Musk changed his life through this “harassment”.
Musk has plenty of energy. After receiving a scholarship at Queen’s University, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania and did several internships during the summer vacation.
During the day, he worked as an intern at a research institute manufacturing supercapacitors, and at night he wrote code for a game company.
In Silicon Valley, Musk, who had not graduated from university, was able to display his talents. He felt that there were opportunities everywhere, and there was no time to waste.
Musk originally planned to study for a PhD in materials science and physics at Stanford University, but after two days at Stanford, he dropped out.
He persuaded his brother to also move to Silicon Valley, and the two started their first business.
Musk’s first venture ended not decently, but it was considered a success.
In the early days of the development of the Internet, Musk chose the same entrepreneurial field as Jack Ma. He and his brother founded an Internet company similar to yellow pages, called Zip2. In the first three months of starting the company, Musk and his younger brother lived in the company, and then went to the nearby YMCA to take a bath.
Fortunately, they quickly found investors, but this also made Musk lose his CEO position. The young and irritable Musk did not know how to participate in the management of the company. Investors also opposed Musk’s incomprehensible ideas. The two sides had a huge disagreement, and Musk was almost kicked out of the company.
But at this time, destiny favored Musk for the first time. The computer company Compaq acquired Zip2 for US$307 million in cash. Musk and his younger brother Kimbal received US$22 million and US$15 million, respectively.
He Aidi, a former executive of Zip2 and co-founder of X.com, said, “His willingness to take personal risks is almost crazy. When you choose to do this, you will either succeed or have nothing in the end.”
X.com is Musk’s second company.
After the Zip2 transaction was completed, the 28-year-old Musk became a multi-millionaire. He bought a brand new house and also bought a McLaren sports car limited to 62 cars worldwide.
Almost all of the remaining money was invested in the next company. He founded X.com, an online financial services and email payment business company.
At this time, Musk is obviously still not very good at dealing with people. He told the media that the banking industry is lagging behind the times, but co-founder Harris Frick believes that Musk has falsely promoted the company and products and fooled the public.
Only five months after X.com was founded, Flick threatened Musk, either let him be the CEO, or he would take everyone from the company away.
Musk once lost control of the company, and he certainly does not want to see this scene repeat itself. So Frick left with the core team, and Musk had only a few employees left.
Musk was forced to start looking for venture capital and confessed to investors that the company has very few talents left. Just when Musk was desperate, Sequoia Capital’s famous investor Michael Moritz reached out to him.
In just a few months, X.com came up with the product. They created the world’s first online bank, allowing users to complete the transfer by simply entering the other party’s email address.
In March 2000, X.com merged with its biggest competitor, PayPal’s parent company, Confinity, and received $100 million in financing from Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
Just when everything seemed to go smoothly, Musk messed up again.
As the number of users surged, X.com’s website crashed every week, and Musk’s stubbornness also caused some core members of the team to leave the company. Employees and investors began to question Musk’s decision-making ability in the face of a crisis.
Someone said, “I think if Elon stays in the CEO position for another half a year, the company will be over. The mistakes he made increase the risk of the company.”
When Musk went to Australia for his honeymoon, X.com executives handed a petition letter to the board of directors. Peter Thiel, the founder of Confinity, who had left, was invited back to the company. Musk was excluded from the plan. X .com also officially changed its name to PayPal.
This time, Musk was not hysterical. After ensuring that the company can move in the right direction, he turned to serve as a corporate consultant and continued to inject capital to increase his shares.
In 2002, Musk’s persistence paid off, eBay acquired PayPal at a high price of US$1.5 billion, and Musk made a net profit of US$250 million.
What Musk did later is already widely known. He once again put all his wealth into a new business: a pure electric vehicle company, an aerospace company, and a solar company.
He took the founding team of SpaceX to Russia, wanting to buy a few ballistic missiles and send the satellites to space after modification. But the Russians’ offer made Musk very angry. On the return flight, Musk listed a table on his laptop, calculating in detail the cost of building, assembling and launching a rocket.
In just a few months, Musk systematically studied various professional books such as Principles of Rocket Propulsion, Fundamentals of Celestial Dynamics, and Aerodynamics of Gas Turbine and Rocket Propulsion. He intends to build the rocket himself.
Just as others have persuaded Musk, rockets are complicated and expensive things, and even large companies like Boeing cannot afford the consequences of several failed launches.
Before 2008, Space X’s first rocket “Falcon 1” failed three launches. By the time of the third launch, Musk’s life was also in trouble, and his wife Justin divorced him.
Musk’s two companies, Space X and Tesla, were short of funds, and he began to sell his McLaren sports car and other private properties in exchange for more funds.
The third launch looked good. The rocket went straight into the sky, and people could already see the outline of the launch site Kwajalein Atoll and the blue water through the camera mounted on it. However, when the first-stage and second-stage rocket bodies were about to be separated, the rocket suddenly failed and the launch failed again.
Musk immediately rushed to comfort the employees and encourage them to return to their posts to continue working.
The fourth launch became Musk’s last battle. He was already heavily in debt and the company was almost unsustainable. Tesla charged a prepayment from customers who bought the Roadster, and Musk asked every friend who might lend him money for help, and even needed to borrow money to pay rent.
If the launch is not successful, Musk will lose everything if he gets the NASA contract.
The God of Fortune once again favored Musk, and the fourth launch of Falcon 1 finally succeeded. On Christmas Eve that year, when Musk was three days away from bankruptcy, Space X won a $1.6 billion NASA contract, and Tesla also completed the financing.
Musk continues to shock the world. In 2012, Space X’s Dragon spacecraft became the first private company to deliver cargo to the International Space Station; in 2016, after two failures, the Falcon 9 successfully recovered at sea.
In May 2020, when Space X first launched astronauts to the International Space Station, Musk’s family members, Meyer, and Kimbal and Tosca flew to Florida. In the “ignition room”, Meyer saw Elon standing with all the engineers, and she was completely relieved until the launch was successful.
When Elon walked over, she took the children and took a group photo together. For the Musk family, this was also an exciting and rare moment.
Tesla’s catfish effect
Space X is on the right track, and after receiving orders continuously, Musk can finally focus more on Tesla’s mass production.
In 2004, Musk used a business plan to write Tesla’s future development process: the first step is to build a sports car; the second step is to use the money earned from building a sports car to build a cheap car; the third step is to make a cheap car The money to build a cheaper car.
Revolutionary new things like Tesla will inevitably attract everyone’s attention-investors, researchers, competitors, consumers. Therefore, regardless of whether Tesla is increasing its output or experiencing spontaneous combustion or autonomous driving accidents, media reports will be overwhelming.
People who are bearish on Tesla and those who are optimistic about Tesla continue to see themselves, but Tesla has proved itself with production and sales data.
According to Tesla’s official data, in 2020, Tesla produced 509,737 electric vehicles and delivered 499,550 vehicles, fulfilling 99.91% of the annual delivery target of 500,000 vehicles, and achieving a new milestone in annual delivery.
Tesla is still expanding its product lineup. In the future, it will launch a pure electric truck Cybertruck and a new Roadster. It also plans to launch an entry-level electric car priced at $25,000.
As a result, in mid-2020, Tesla’s market value officially surpassed Toyota, becoming the world’s most valuable automaker, although Tesla’s production and sales are only 1/20 of Toyota.
Tesla’s market value has skyrocketed, and it has a close relationship with the Chinese government.
In 2019, Tesla’s Shanghai Super Factory completed a miracle. For a car factory, the time period from construction, production to delivery was compressed within one year. Currently, the Shanghai Super Factory can produce 8,000 cars per week.
According to the latest report from the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission, promoting the start of the second phase of Tesla is also one of the important projects in 2021.
The catfish effect brought by Tesla is also constantly driving China’s electric car brands to move forward with all their strength. Throughout 2020, many well-known electric vehicle companies have gone bankrupt and closed. This pressure has also been passed on to traditional car companies. The automotive industry has not undergone such drastic changes in decades as it is today.
The good news is that China’s local governments and companies are actively embracing change. On January 8th, the Hefei Municipal Government, which once focused on the success of NIO, announced a strategic cooperation with Leaper Motors. Leaper will build a second factory in Hefei. The Hefei City Government also participated in the Series B financing of Leaper.
On January 25, Reuters reported that Faraday Future, an electric car company founded by Jia Yueting, plans to open a factory in China to produce some electric cars and invite Geely to provide manufacturing services. It is also reported that in Faraday Future’s latest round of financing, state-owned assets from Zhuhai City invested 2 billion yuan in FF.
We should not only pay attention to the digits of Musk’s wealth, but also pay attention to where Musk will invest these wealth in the future.
According to Musk’s usual style, he will once again push himself to the brink of failure, once again fleeing wildly. Just like a spaceship, it continuously gains acceleration between the planets.
As Musk’s ex-wife said, “He keeps moving forward, only in this way can he survive.”