This Friday, from a short head – 1.5 billion – Elon Musk became the richest man in the world. It is the soaring stock market to more than 800 dollars a unit of Tesla, of which he owns 18% of the shares, which led him to dethrone, perhaps temporarily, the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos. Until 8 years ago, Musk was on the verge of bankruptcy, bailing out his electric car business out of his own pockets. But at least from a purely speculative point of view, this bet paid off. Having sold 500,000 vehicles in 2020, Tesla remains a very small car manufacturer. But it weighs on the stock market more than 10 times the alliance PSA, Fiat, Chrysler and its 8 million registrations.
Elon Musk’s story is a founding myth in Silicon Valley. Born in 1971 in South Africa, he created his first video game at 12, sold it to a magazine and invested his income in the stock market where he quadrupled his stake. At 17, he fled military service to avoid taking part in apartheid and arrived in Canada. There he obtained two degrees in finance and physics and, in the mid-1990s, set out to conquer Silicon Valley, where he participated in the creation of PayPal. He left with nearly $ 200 million in his pocket, enough to lay the foundations of his new industrial empire. Today, he ensures that every business he owns is geared towards the sole purpose of saving humanity. Because, he preaches, “being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and looking straight into the depths of death”.
Convinced by the Terminator storyline that artificial intelligences will eventually emancipate themselves and seek to destroy humanity, he created Neuralink, whose goal is to connect the brain to integrated circuits with the aim of improving the human intelligence in order to resist AI. For now, only Gertrude, a peaceful sow, would have benefited, without noticeable effect on her cognitive capacities, but at least she seems in good health.
It prohibits teleworking
Another example, as Musk lives in Bel Air, the upscale neighborhood in the heights of Los Angeles, and works in Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay area, he is often stuck in traffic jams. So he created The Boring Company. It intends to dig tunnels in the depths between the two cities and connect them by autonomous shuttles. One way to give a “start-up” stamp to what remains at the bottom, a metro. His other flagship creation, SpaceX, combines impressive successes, resounding failures and disproportionate ambitions. His Starship rocket, with which Musk hopes to bring colonists to Mars, never managed to land. “To make Mars habitable, we have to detonate thermonuclear bombs there,” he warned.
Behind this image of eccentric entrepreneur cleverly maintained on Twitter where more than 41 million subscribers follow him, Musk remains a tyrannical boss who does not bother with morality. Despite the pandemic, he banned teleworking and was reprimanded by the Californian authorities for not respecting basic health safety instructions in Tesla factories. Even more serious, he would be wet in the coup that hit Bolivia in 2019. The dismissal of left-wing President Evo Morales, unmanned from the United States and Brazil by Bolsonaro, came about after the discovery of a huge vein of Lithium, necessary for the manufacture of batteries, on the Bolivian highlands. The country’s new foreign minister has already invited Tesla’s boss to come and exploit it.