Earlier this week, Elon Musk pipped Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world with a net worth of $203.4 billion. Musk had done something similar in January this year when he was the richest person for a brief interval. This time though, Musk chose to see the funny side of things.
In an email conversation with Forbes, Musk wrote, “I’m sending a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B. (Bezos), along with a silver medal.” Bezos’ wealth had crossed the $200 billion mark earlier but it now stands at $192.5 billion.
Along with competing for the top spot (which has LVMH’s Bernard Arnault in the race too), Musk and Bezos have been locking horns with each other in space research too. In reply to Musk’s mission to go to Mars, the Amazon founder had remarked in a private lecture that he should try living for a year on Mount Everest first. “My friends who want to move to Mars? I say, 'Do me a favor, go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first, and see if you like it.' Because it's a garden paradise compared to Mars,” he said.
When Musk’s SpaceX landed the lunar lander contract worth $2.9 billion from NASA, Bezos wasn’t happy. His company Blue Origin filed lawsuits and tried to derail SpaceX’s mission. Sarcastically, Musk remarked that if lobbying and lawyers could get you to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto right now.
Despite their rivalry, they do have a lot of respect with each other. Musk wished Bezos during his space flight in July. The latter returned the favour during Inspiration4’s successful mission last month.
The extraordinary life of Elon Musk
Elon Musk has publicly admitted that he had a difficult childhood where he faced instances of bullying. At one time, he was admitted in the hospital for two weeks because a bunch of boys had thrown him down the stairs.
Despite this, Musk became interested in technology and entrepreneurship. He developed a video game at the age of 12 which he sold to a computer magazine.
Even though Musk is known for dropping out of college, he did complete his under graduate degree in Physics and Economics through University of Pennsylvania. It was only while pursuing his PhD at Stanford University that he opted to quit.
The Tesla founder hit the big league after selling his two companies – Zip2 and PayPal for a fortune. He didn’t stop there and along with amassing wealth, he became famous for courting controversies. In an episode of Joe Rogan’s podcast series, he smoked marijuana on camera that affected Tesla’s stock value.
Despite that incident, Musk made it clear that marijuana was not the secret to his success. “Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned.’ You just sit there like a stone on weed,” he said in an interview with The New York Times.
What’s next for the multi-billionaire?
For the next few years, Musk is planning big things. He plans to send astronauts to Mars very soon and is also involved with Hyperloop – a new form of transport that can potentially help people commute at the speed of sound (which is 500 km/h).
He’s also working on something called Neuralink which aims to implant a chip in people’s brains. The chip can record activities and even stimulate them to treat problems like Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and addiction.