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The Top 10s Guy Presents:
Elon Musk, often dubbed the real-life Tony Stark, is one of the most innovative and influential figures of our time. As the driving force behind companies like SpaceX, Tesla, and Neuralink, his ventures are well-publicized. However, behind the spotlight, there are lesser-known facts that paint a more comprehensive picture of the man. Here are the top 10 things most people don’t know about Elon Musk:

1. Born in South Africa

Born in South Africa

While many associate Musk with American innovation, he was actually born in Pretoria, South Africa. He moved to North America in his early twenties, first to Canada and then to the US, where he attended the University of Pennsylvania.

2. Sold a Video Game at Age 12

Sold a Video Game at Age 12

Elon’s knack for technology was evident from a young age. While most kids were engrossed in playing games, Musk was designing one. At the age of 12, he created a basic space-themed video game called ‘Blastar.’ It wasn’t a graphical marvel by any standards of the time, but it showcased Musk’s early understanding of coding and his entrepreneurial spirit. He went on to sell the game’s code to a computer magazine called “PC and Office Technology” for approximately $500. In retrospect, ‘Blastar’ was a precursor to Musk’s later interests: technology, space, and entrepreneurship.

3. Phobia of Germs

Phobia of Germs

Though it may seem surprising given Musk’s fearless approach to business and innovation, he has a pronounced fear of dirt and germs, known as mysophobia. This fear often dictates certain personal habits and preferences. For instance, those who’ve had meetings with Musk have noted his penchant for fist bumps over traditional handshakes. The fist bump, besides being seen as a modern greeting, reduces the spread of germs. This aversion to germs is an interesting contrast to a man who isn’t afraid to take on colossal business challenges or aim for other planets.

4. Musk Almost Died from Malaria

Musk Almost Died from Malaria

In 2000, after securing initial successes in the US with ventures like Zip2 and (which later became part of PayPal), Musk decided to take a vacation. He visited South Africa, his birth country. However, what was supposed to be a relaxing trip quickly turned life-threatening when he contracted a severe case of malaria. The disease had him bedridden for weeks, and he had to be hospitalized multiple times. The experience was a grim reminder of the unpredictability of life. Musk has since mentioned this episode in interviews, noting how it gave him a renewed perspective on health and the urgency to achieve his larger goals.

5. Attempted to Buy Russian Rockets

Attempted to Buy Russian Rockets

Before SpaceX came into being, Musk tried buying decommissioned ICBMs from Russia to send payloads to Mars. When this endeavour proved too expensive, he decided to manufacture affordable rockets himself, leading to the birth of SpaceX.

6. No Formal Training in Rocketry

No Formal Training in Rocketry

Despite founding and leading SpaceX, Musk doesn’t possess formal training in aerospace engineering. Instead, he’s largely self-taught, having read many textbooks and consulted with industry experts.

7. Musk’s Salary at Tesla

Musk's Salary at Tesla

Elon Musk takes a minimum wage salary from Tesla, reflecting his commitment to the company’s mission over personal gain. Most of his wealth is tied to stock in his companies, meaning his fortunes rise and fall with their successes and failures.

8. Inspiration Behind Iron Man

Inspiration Behind Iron Man

The character of Tony Stark in Marvel’s “Iron Man” movies, played by Robert Downey Jr., was partly inspired by Musk. Downey Jr. even spent time with Musk to get into character, and a SpaceX facility was used as a backdrop in “Iron Man 2”.

9. Hyperloop Concept

Hyperloop Concept

In 2013, Musk introduced the concept of the Hyperloop – a high-speed transportation system using near-vacuum tubes. Instead of commercializing it himself, he open-sourced the idea, inviting engineers and entrepreneurs worldwide to make it a reality.

10. Passion for Sustainable Energy

Passion for Sustainable Energy

Musk’s commitment to sustainable energy goes beyond Tesla’s electric cars. He envisions a world where homes and businesses harness solar energy efficiently. To this end, he acquired SolarCity, a solar energy services company, and introduced innovative products like solar roofs.

Elon Musk, beyond his headline-making ventures, is a complex individual with a myriad of experiences, interests, and quirks. While many know him for his ambitious goals like colonizing Mars or making electric vehicles mainstream, the lesser-known facets of his life provide a more holistic view of the visionary entrepreneur. His journey, filled with both triumphs and tribulations, serves as an inspiration and testament to what relentless drive and innovation can achieve.

“We’ve reached the end of our Top 10 countdown, and we’d love to hear from you! Do you agree with our choices, or is there something we missed that you feel deserves a spot on this list? Let’s start a conversation – comment below with your thoughts and ideas. Your input might just influence our next Top 10!”

If you like this you might like The Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tesla

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