Who Elon Musk Really Is

The billion dollar CEO isn’t stupid, but he’s a normal person. Not a superhero.

I’ll start this off by saying something stupid like how Elon Musk is a moron just to get your attention. He isn’t. But I don’t know what Elon Musk is… or does.

Actually, no one knows who Elon Musk is, or what he is. His brain, his body, his figure.. he’s an enigma. For what it is worth, Elon Musk is Tesla’s CEO. He’s filthy rich and grew even richer under the COVID-19 pandemic. He was just given the infamous title “Richest Man in the World” this year.

25 years ago, he founded Zip2, a company developed and marketed city guides for newspapers. Musk and his brother Kimbal, along with Greg Kouri, sold Zip2 to Compaq in 1999 for $307 million. Musk received 7%: $22 million. Using the money from Zip2’s sale, Musk founded X.com, which was the company that later became PayPal. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion.

Over the next ten years, Musk became involved in both building electric-powered vehicles with Tesla, as well as SpaceX. Tesla launched their convertible in 2008, Model S in 2012, Model X in 2015, Model 3 in 2017, and Model Y in 2020. The new Roadster launches in 2022.

What isn’t so controversial with Elon Musk is that Tesla is building cars that run on sustainable energy. By industry standards, Tesla is millions of miles ahead of legacy makers such as GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Even Porsche built a savvy-looking EV, but with 200 miles less range than its Tesla counterpart. I’ll pass.

The waters being tread here shouldn’t be taken lightly. No one in the auto industry likes him. Dealerships hate him since most states have new car exclusivity rights. It’s illegal to sell a new car to consumers off of a dealer’s lot, making even online transactions a hassle since the price accumulates dealership fees, showroom cleaning, and the commission for a salesman.

Tesla has mixed it up and they don’t even have “dealers.” Anyone can walk into a showroom, learn more about the brand, and purchase a car online. But if you live in the several states with heavier dealer restrictions (like Texas), showrooms — if they exist — can’t even tell you the price… by law. By contrast, states like Illinois and California allow interested buyers to test drive and discuss pricing at their showrooms.

Give Musk credit here. He’s going after an entire industry that has allowed corrupt dealership laws to put a huge burden on families searching for a car.

What is controversial is privatized space flight (although they’ve done some really amazing things), or Neuralink planting chips in monkeys to “play games” with their brains, or the fact that so many of Musk’s workplaces have terrible working conditions.

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and other billionaire success stories have shown that they are successful for a reason. In the late-90s, Bezos was fielding interviews from reporters wondering when Amazon would file for bankruptcy. No one saw their pledge to consumers as a soon-to-be billion-dollar story. No one anticipated Bezos to be the richest person in the world.

Some could say the same about Musk. And often that’s the effect of billionaires we hear all the time — they are very good at one thing so they think they’re “geniuses” and it’s likely what led Musk into other ventures such as space flight, electric engineering, and placing chips in the brains of living things.

These people do not need to be idolized for doing something right, and they should be viewed as normal people with a lot of power. If we overlook that accountability, it just leads to less oversight and more corruption in the long run.

Elon Musk isn’t some war hero god-like person. He’s a normal human being with a ton of flaws. Let’s start treating him like one.

25, lives in Lansing. I write stuff about gadgets and video games.

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