Email us at to talk to a financial advisor today!

Email us at

Unplugged: Elon’s Untold Story

By John S. Heneghan and Grok


In the grand tapestry of human history, few figures have woven a hero’s journey as electrifying as Elon Reeve Musk. Born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa, Musk’s life has been a relentless pursuit of the extraordinary, a cosmic dance between ambition and innovation that has reshaped several industries and redefined the limits of human potential.

I’m listening to Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography, “Elon Musk.”  The book is a fascinating tour de force.  Musk’s life story through 2005 in the book has noticeable similarities with the “Pinky and The Brain” cartoon and the book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Elon has been applying the Brain’s mission to “take over the world” in each cartoon episode on an industry-by-industry basis. Unlike the Brain, Elon has successfully executed his business strategies to dominate one innovation-starved industry after another.  After world domination, Elon’s galactic aspirations may end up being his final chapter as he dreams of humanity’s future inhabitation of Mars.

Elon’s accomplishments in his first 53 years are a testament to the power of human ingenuity and the limitless potential of the human spirit. Here are five electrifying facts about Elon Musk (through 2005 in the book) that might just make you see him in a whole new light.

1. Musk the Gamer: Elon was a tech whiz from the get-go. At the tender age of 12, he developed a video game called “Blastar.” Blastar was a simple space shooter game reminiscent of classics like “Space Invaders” and “Asteroids.” The game’s objective is to pilot a spaceship and destroy alien freighters carrying deadly hydrogen bombs and “status beam machines.” Elon sold Blastar to a computer magazine for a whopping $500 but talk about an entrepreneur starting at a young age!

2. Musk the Survivor: During his childhood in South Africa, Elon had a very tough time. He was socially awkward and was often bullied and beaten up as a smaller child in his youth. Elon’s father Errol sent him and his brother Kimbal to a wilderness survival camp known as a “veldskool” when Elon was 12. In the camp, the children were given small portions of food and water and were encouraged by camp counselors to fight over their meager provisions. The bigger and older kids took advantage of the Musks. Elon was once thrown down a flight of stairs by a gang of classmates and kicked into a bloody mess.  Elon proceeded to train in judo, karate, taekwondo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, briefly, to be able to better protect himself and Kimbal.  The bullying stopped at around age 15.

3. Musk the Space Enthusiast; SpaceX: “Launching rockets and dreams, one Falcon at a time.”: Elon’s fascination with space isn’t just a recent thing as you might have discerned from his development of Blastar. Musk’s love for science fiction as a teenager extended beyond “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” He read the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov. This series explores the fall and rise of a galactic empire, showcasing the cyclical nature of civilizations.  Dune by Frank Herbert, the epic tale of political intrigue, religion, and ecology on a desert planet, is also a favorite of Musk’s. The novel’s themes of human survival and adaptation resonate with Musk’s business ventures.  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is another Elon favorite. Although not strictly science fiction, the themes of heroism, friendship, and the struggle against overwhelming odds resonate with the challenges he’s faced “taking over the world.”

In his early days, Elon was so obsessed with space exploration that he even tried to buy a rocket from Russian sources before founding Space X. In fact, Elon and his team traveled to Russia to purchase and repurpose ICBMs. As Musk tells the story, the Russians agreed to sell him two missiles for $16 million.  After Elon agreed to the Russian’s terms, they quickly upped their asking price to $21 million for each rocket.  This lesson left a mark as Elon vowed to make his own rockets with Space X and would further pursue a vertical integration strategy for Space X and other subsequent ventures.

4. Tesla “Where the S, 3, X, and Y come together to electrify the world”:

In 2008, Tesla was on the brink of bankruptcy. Elon stepped in and invested $40 million of his own money to save the company. He then took over as CEO and turned Tesla into the electric car giant it is today. Elon Musk’s business strategy at Tesla is a fascinating mix of innovation, risk-taking, and maniacal focus on products.

They’ve spent very little money on advertising at Tesla. Instead, they focus on making the best possible products. Tesla has vertically integrated virtually all aspects of its business, including battery production, software development, and even the construction and development of its own charging network and Artificial Intelligence supercomputer, called DOJO, for autonomous driving. Vertical integration allows Tesla to control the entire customer experience and maintain its high level of quality. Musk also has a clear vision for the future of Tesla and the role it will play in the global transition to sustainable energy sources.

Elon is not content with simply making electric cars; he wants to create a sustainable energy future for the world through renewable energy applications.  Tesla’s growing energy generation and storage segment represents 10% of total revenues and is the company’s highest-margin business. In fact, Elon wrote a paper in college about the importance of the world embracing solar energy. The paper discussed the idea of using solar-powered satellites to capture solar rays and convert the energy into microwaves to beam to Earth as an energy source.

5. Musk the Rebel: Elon’s relationship with his father, Errol Musk, was far from rosy. In reality, it was downright offensive. According to Walter Isaacson’s biography, Errol was verbally abusive and often told Elon he was “dumb” and “would never amount to anything.” Can you ever imagine telling your son or daughter that, let alone the boy who would become the richest man on the planet?

As we close this hero’s rousing tale, we are reminded that the future belongs to those who dare to dream, to those who are unafraid to challenge the status quo, and to those who never stop reaching for the stars.  You can continue to follow future attempts by Elon to “take over the world” on X/Twitter.

“One small step for man, one giant leap for Elon’s ego.”