He’s one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet, the CEO of two of the world’s most innovative companies and has a net worth of $19.7 Bn. So, who would’ve guessed that he would master the art of successfully failing? A true 21st century creative visionary and founder of two of the most talked about companies in the world, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Elon Musk has changed the way we perceive the world and beyond, as he leads us in revolutionising transportation both on Earth and in space.
However, it’s safe to say it has been far from plain sailing for this innovator. In fact, some of Musk’s failures have been so catastrophic than just one of them could have been the end of his career or even himself entirely, and it’s likely to have been the end of many of us if we were in his shoes.
This timeline reveals a whopping 16 failures Musk has experienced since 1995 on his journey to tech fame. That’s nearly an obstacle every year, and at least one every other year. With Tesla Motors revenue reaching $11.8 Bn in 2017 and SpaceX valued at more than $20 Bn, this businessman has done remarkably well considering the challenges he has faced along the way.
Elon Musk’s Failures In The 90s
We’ve all faced a job rejection at some point in our careers and Elon Musk was no different back in 1995 when he was starting out. Musk applied for a job at Netscape, despite not having a background in computer science and unfortunately didn’t land it. Interestingly, Musk even went to the head office to follow up on his application, however, was too shy to speak to anyone.
A year later and Elon Musk faced another blow in 1996, and this one was personal. Setting up your own company is an amazing achievement and that is what Musk and his brother had done in the mid-nineties with Zip2, a business which provided city guide software. After founding your own company you wouldn’t expect to lose your job, right? Wrong, for Musk at least as he was ousted as CEO by the board of directors due to a belief he did not have the operational skill set of a CEO. Moving to the position of Chairman, it wasn’t all bad news for this entrepreneur as he held onto his shares which later made him $22 Mn.
In 2018, PayPal is known for being one of the largest companies in the world. But it wasn’t always this way. In 1999 when the company was founded by Musk and called X.com, the first product launch was voted one of the top 10 worst business ideas. Nearly 20 years on and Musk turned this failure and the business around entirely, successfully mastering that embarrassing moment in the early stages of the company’s existence.