Elon Musk, Baroque and visionary multi-entrepreneur

Elon Musk at his new Tesla factory near Berlin, March 22, 2022 (Patrick Pleul / POOL / AFP / Archives)

His head is among the stars, his wallet in electric cars, here he is now attacking Twitter: Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, plays on all fronts in the name of “environment” and “civilization”.

Born in South Africa, American and Canadian citizen, leader of SpaceX and Tesla, the extravagant entrepreneur has become a central figure of American capitalism with his extra-planetary ambitions and his political ideals.

His latest goal: to kidnap Twitter, which he accuses in particular of curbing freedom of expression. In two weeks, the tech planet learned that it had bought 9% of the shares, that he would join the board of directors, then that he would not go and, finally, on Thursday, that he wanted to buy back the social network.

Meanwhile, the 50-year-old opened Tesla’s new mega-factory in Texas, where he moved his main company’s headquarters from California, and his gem SpaceX sent the first all-private mission to the International Space Station.

His fortune is estimated by Forbes at nearly $ 274 billion, the equivalent of Finland’s GDP.

He amassed it thanks to Tesla, in particular, and uses it to finance his various adventures such as Neuralink, a start-up that aims to directly connect the human brain to the computer, and The Boring Company, which intends to revolutionize the city tunnel transport. .

Whatever the sector, it expresses its desire to save humanity, the environment or democracy. Interviewed on Thursday about the reasons for the acquisition of Twitter, he spoke of a “risk to civilization” if users lose faith in the platform.

“X Æ A-12”

Illustrative photograph showing Elon Musk's Twitter account, April 14, 2022, in front of one of his photographs
Illustrative photograph showing Elon Musk’s Twitter account, April 14, 2022, in front of one of his photographs (Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

Megalomaniac, workaholic, Elon Musk hates to follow the rules, especially on his Twitter account with 81 million subscribers on which he posts jokes, videos from SpaceX, news from Tesla and lots of provocations.

He recently challenged Vladimir Putin to a duel via Twitter or defended opponents of health restrictions in Canada by comparing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler.

In 2018, during a crazy two-hour interview broadcast live on the internet, we see him drinking whiskey, wielding a samurai sword and smoking cannabis – legal in California – while evoking the conquest of space, the end of the world and ape libido. bonobo.

In May 2021, he revealed that he has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

Divorced three times, Mr. Musk is the father of eight children, one of whom died at 10 weeks. His last child, which he had with singer Grimes, is called Exa Dark Sideræl Musk. She is the little sister of “X Æ A-12”.

The cult of Tesla

The man splits between an army of fans who adore him and secure his publicity and those who hate him. But it’s hard to deny Tesla’s success.

Long in deficit, the company is now an immense industrial and financial success, with a record profit of $ 5.5 billion in 2021 and an immense stock market valuation.

“I think I know more about industrial manufacturing than anyone else in the world,” Elon Musk boasted Thursday.

It was not won. From 2017 to 2019, the company was “constantly on the verge of bankruptcy,” he explained.

“Nothing was right for Model 3 production. (…) I lived in the Fremont factory, slept on the floor so the team could see that I wasn’t in my ivory tower,” he said.

Several complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination have been filed against this factory accused of “racial segregation” from California.

“Space civilization”

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 28, 1971 to a Canadian engineer and model father, Elon Musk studied in Canada and then in the United States.

Elon Musk at the grand opening of the massive Tesla factory in Austin, Texas on April 7, 2022
Elon Musk during the grand opening of the large Tesla factory in Austin, Texas on April 7, 2022 (SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP)

He then created Zip2, an online software company, and became a millionaire before his 30th birthday by selling it to computer maker Compaq in 1999 for over $ 300 million. The young entrepreneur then founded X.com, which was merged with PayPal, then bought by eBay in 2002 for $ 1.5 billion.

With SpaceX, founded in the process, it has had a number of successes, from an exclusive contract signed with NASA to build the next moon landing module for the US agency, to the first orbital mission in history without a professional astronaut ahead.

“The overall goal is to allow life to develop on different planets and make humanity a space civilization,” said Musk in an interview with Time Magazine, which named him at the end of 2021 as Personality of the Year.

bur-jum-ube-juj / rle

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