The History of Elon Musk: A Timeline

Elon Musk portrayed in blue and orange, smoking pot with a serious expression.

Since he was a child, Elon Musk has been doing some really impressive stuff. To describe Musk as a visionary would simply be an understatement. Many people (especially the Redditors on r/wallstreetbets) are huge fans of Elon, but it can be difficult to map his life, let alone his success. As with both magnates and tech visionaries, the easiest way to get the full picture is to start at the beginning.

 

Elon Musk: the 70s through 90s

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June 18, 1971:

Elon Musk’s legacy begins when he’s born in Pretoria, South Africa.

 

1981:

At just 10 years old, Musk begins teaching himself computer programming.

 

1983:

Two years after his quest to master programming, Musk creates a video game written in BASIC called “Blastar”. He sells it to a company for $500.

 

1988 – 1989:

At the start of his adulthood, he dodges the mandatory South African Military Service by moving to Canada where he studies at Queen’s University.

 

1992:

Wanting to pursue the American Dream, Musk transfers to the University of Pennsylvania and studies both Physics and Economics.

 

1995:

After receiving his two Bachelor’s degrees, Musk co-founds and codes a software called Zip2 with his brother Kumbal.

1999:

Musk sells Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million and gets a 7% cut leaving him with $22 million.

Later in 1999:

Looking to start the next big thing, Elon creates an online bank named X.com

 

The New Millenium

Elon Musk portrayed in color blocks of various shades of blue with abstract lines and dots in background.
Image Credit: foxtierdesigns on Deviant Art.

March 2000:

X.com proves to be successful when it merges with competitor Confinity. The two ultimately form PayPal, and Musk is designated as CEO of the company.

 

Sep 2000:

Elon marries his first wife, Justine Wilson; however, due to a disagreement on how to code the online bank, his honeymoon goes sour when he gets removed from his CEO position at PayPal.

 

2001:

Looking for his next endeavor, Musk discovers his interest in rockets. He conceptualizes the grandiose Mars Oasis, a project that involves putting a greenhouse on our sister planet. His first step was to look into missiles, so he travels to Moscow, Russia to explore intercontinental ballistic missiles.

 

February 2002:

Following through with his rocket ship fascination, Musk makes plans to buy the ICBMs but ultimately thinks they’re too expensive.

 

March 2002:

After his excursion to Russia, Elon forms Space Exploration Technologies (aka SpaceX) with the hopes of developing affordable rockets that will be used to advance rocket technologies and explore space. Musk assumes the CEO and CTO positions.

 

October 2002:

PayPal gets purchased by eBay for a whopping $1.5 billion in stock. As a result, Musk receives $165 million.

 

February 2004:

Musk joins Tesla Inc. as the Chairman on the Board of Directors after he leads the Series A investments.

 

Later in 2004:

Musk and his wife Wilson give birth to twin boys through IVF.

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2006:

2006 is a busy, but successful, year for Musk. SpaceX finds success after earning several contracts with NASA to deliver cargo to the International Space Station – this was the start of the Falcon-9 project. Later, he begins SolarCity with two of his cousins. Towards the end of the year, his wife gives birth to triplet boys via IVF.

 

March 2006:

SpaceX attempts their first rocket launch but fails.

 

March 2007:

SpaceX attempts their second rocket launch and fails again.

 

Early 2008:

Musk and Wilson separate and share custody of their five children. SpaceX attempts their third launch, but they fail and destroy several satellites in its demise.

Later in 2008:

As SpaceX and Tesla are running out of money, Musk steps up to become CEO of Tesla, Inc. In a last-ditch effort, SpaceX launches a rocket for the fourth time and finally succeeds. Just barely escaping bankruptcy, SpaceX is awarded a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. Tesla also receives funding just moments before it goes broke.

 

2010 to Present

Elon Musk portrayed as a cyborg, black and white with a red robotic eye.
Image Credit: mx-x-dream on Deviant Art.

June 2010:

Tesla launches its IPO at $17 per share and closes the day at $23.89 – a 40.53% increase.

 

Later in 2010:

Musk marries actress Talulah Riley after two years of dating.

 

2011:

Elon Musk announces his biggest plan thus far: to send humans to Mars. He intends on accomplishing this goal by 2031. Additionally, SpaceX unveils a revolutionary concept: reusing rockets to make space travel cheaper.

 

March 2012:

Musk and Riley divorce.

 

May 2012:

SpaceX makes great progress as Dragon docks with the ISS.

 

June 2012:

Tesla begins shipping out their Model S vehicles at $75,000.

 

Later in 2012:

SolarCity and Tesla come together in an attempt to stop global warming by using electric car batteries instead of energy-consuming rooftop solar panels.

 

July 2013:

Musk and Riley remarry.

 

August 2013:

Once again, Musk has a new groundbreaking project. He reveals his plans and designs for Hyperloop, a high-speed underground transportation system.

 

April 2014:

Elon Musk and the SpaceX team attempt to land (from orbit) a rocket onto a ship.

 

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December 2015:

The SpaceX team reaches a milestone for reusing rockets when they successfully land a rocket from orbit. Musk starts a new project, with others, termed OpenAI that aims to advance artificial intelligence for the world’s benefit.

 

2016:

Tesla, Inc. acquires SolarCity and becomes a subsidiary. Musk co-founds yet another brilliant company called Neuralink, whose goal is to connect the human brain and artificial intelligence. Elon’s goal of colonizing Mars progresses as he releases details of the architecture.

 

May 2017:

Elon Musk starts another company that would support his Hyperloop project: The Boring Company. Its main purpose is to dig tunnels.

 

July 2017:

After forming PayPal, X.com was essentially dissolved; however, Musk purchases the domain from PayPal for an undisclosed amount citing that it has sentimental value.

 

August 2017:

Musk and Riley divorce for the second time.

 

February 2018:

Musk decides to leave the board of OpenAI due to potential conflicts that may arise while he operates Tesla, Inc. Elon also launches a Tesla Roadster into space via a SpaceX rocket.

 

March 2018:

The Boring Company sells 20,000 flamethrowers cleverly named “Not a Flamethrower.”

 

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May 2018:

Elon Musk begins dating Grimes, a Canadian singer/songwriter.

 

July 2018:

Shortly after the Thai soccer team gets trapped in the Tham Luang cave system, Musk attempts to save the day by designing a mini-submarine that ultimately went unused.

 

September 2018:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges Musk after he posts a tweet falsely claiming that Tesla will go private at $420. As a result, Elon has to step down from his chair position and pay a fine of $20 million. Additionally, the visionary was seen on the “Joe Rogan Experience” smoking a blunt.

 

October 2018:

Elon and his foundation donate $480,000 to install new water filtration systems in Flint, Michigan schools.

 

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November 2019:

The Tesla Cybertruck is revealed, leaving many Elon fans in awe and many more in confusion, especially when the unbreakable windows break during a demonstration.

 

December 2019:

Musk tweets out “Woah … the stock is so high lol” as TSLA trades above $420 for the first time.

 

May 2020:

Musk makes waves in social media when he and Grimes’ son, X Æ A-XII, was born. Later in the month, Tesla and NASA pair up for a historic launch of astronauts to the ISS.

 

November 2020:

With a net worth just shy of $130 billion, Elon Musk dethrones Bill Gates for the title of the second richest person in the world.

 

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For more, check out the complete guide to Tesla, the history of the east and west coast rap battles, or Joe Rogan’s best episodes and guests.