Sunday, September 04, 2005

Who is Elon Musk?

Thank goodness for Carte Blanche (an excellent South African TV investigative journalism program - along the lines of the US' 60 Minutes). Without it, who would know that we have another South African dot com billionaire.


as photographed for

Elon Musk is a Pretoria Boys High alumnus who founded Zip2 and co-founded Paypal. He invented technologies used by The New York Times and others. He is listed by Forbes as one of the richest people under 40.

Elon seems really different from Mark Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth has used his money to go to space and is now building a Linux distribution called uBuntu. Ubuntu, incidently, has rocketed to the top of the Linux distribution popularity stakes. Shuttleworth has promised that Ubuntu will always be free and is instead planning to make money from its sponsoring company, Canonical. Why is Elon different? Carte Blanche asked him what he thought of Shuttleworth's trip to space. He responded that his motivation is to do something to advance mankind. He has founded Space X to make affordable space travel possible. Instead of paying hundreds of millions of dollars for a space launch, Space X will make a launch possible for a mere $16m. His plan is to take this further to passenger travel to space.

More details about Elon musk can be found here:

  • A 2003 Forbes story about Elon Musk and Space X

  • The Carte Blanche transcript

  • Elon Musk's Space X

  • Elon Musk is 34. This is making me feel very old. I'm 32 this month. I was one of those who dreamed of being the next Bill Gates when I was a kid.

    Watching Elon Musk and Shuttleworth, especially at this point in my life while I am deciding on my future career directions, I wonder whether to choose the road less travelled and go for glory. Or to play it safe and be comfortable. Writing it like that makes the choice seem obvious. More thinking to do.

    October 5, 2004 - Falcon I at SpaceX launch pad, Vandenberg Air Force Base
    Picture: SpaceX

    Incidently, Forbes has many more lists than just the richest people. Find, for example, the world's most overpriced places here.


    chitty said...

    Saw the insert on Carte Blance last night. Inspiring story and good to see another Sa-affrican boy-tjie make good.

    kyknoord said...

    I know that a lot of Safricans have emigrated, but this space thing is starting to worry me.

    harvard_snob said...

    Who are you? Is this a secret?