In what seems like another time, Elon Musk was playing the Hollywood Playboy after his sale of Zip2 for $307 million in cash of which he pocketed $22 million. After becoming a multi millionaire, Musk was not afraid to spend money on toys such as a McLaren F1 for $1 million or invest in new startups like X.com with $10 million. X.com eventually merged with Confinity and became PayPal. Musk made another $165 million on that deal when PayPal was acquired by eBay in October 2002.
The Hollywood Playboy role was extremely important to Musk. So much so that he contacted CNN to do an interview with him while he was getting his new million dollar McLaren F1 delivered. This is the same McLaren he raced against Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. At the time there were only 500 in the world. Here is the CNN interview video with Elon Musk in 1999:
Obviously, in 2020, everyone knows of Elon Musk because of Tesla and his famed bipolar Tweets. Must surpassed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to become the richest man in the world with the Tesla stock up tenfold in the last two years.
If you would like to hear more about Elon Musk and the history of Tesla read the book Elon Musk and listen to the Acquired Podcast on Tesla. There have been many fascinating twists and turns in Musk’s life and it won’t come as a shock to many to know that Musk has an inferiority complex because he was ousted as the CEO of his first two companies. He also made it abundantly clear that even though he was not CEO of Tesla in the early years, he did have a great deal of power when it came to created the electric vehicles that could one day chance the world.
At the beginning of 2013 Google was going to acquire Tesla for $6 billion. Larry Page was good friends with Musk and Elon crashed on Page’s couch and told him that he didn’t think Tesla was going to make it. Imagine if Google had finalized the deal. Tesla is worth $615 billion today. Tesla has a miracle in the first quarter of 2013 and is net profitable and no longer needs Google’s backing to survive. The rest is history.
Instead of becoming a dentist in a town like Harrisburg, NC, Musk decided to go down a much different path. That said, there have been multiple times in which Musk has been on the verge of bankruptcy. He was trying to create a brand new car company during the financial crisis in which GM filed bankruptcy. There were many rumors that both Tesla and Musk were on the verge of bankruptcy in the fall of 2008. Oh, how the times have changed.