According to Sobel (2008), an entrepreneur is a person who organizes, manages and takes up the risks of an enterprise or business. Entrepreneurship is that process by which a person discovers new methods of combining resources and making a profit. Based on this definition, there is one person who fits all the descriptions of an entrepreneur. That person is Elon Musik, a South African-born entrepreneur who has managed to start up a number of businesses. He is described as an inventor, investor and a business magnate. Under his name are businesses such as PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Musik was born in South Africa to a Canadian mother and a South African father. During his early years, he displayed talent for entrepreneurship and computers, and by age 12, Musik had created a video game which he sold to a computer magazine.
In the year 1988, he left South Africa for Canada due to his opposition to apartheid and seeking of better economic opportunities in the US. He schooled in Ontario at Queen’s University but later transferred to Philadelphia in the University of Pennsylvania and received bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics in the year 1995 (Gregersen, 2013). It was around this time that his innovative and entrepreneurial skills began to take shape when he founded Zip2. This was a company that sought to provide business directories and maps to online newspapers. The company was later to be purchased by Compaq in 1999 for $307 million. Musik then founded X.com, a company providing online financial services. The company would later become PayPal and it was about the transfer of money online. In the year 2002, eBay bought PayPal for about $1.5 billion.
At this point, Musik ventured into space technologies by founding Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in the year 2002. The motive was to make rockets more affordable. The first two rockets launched by the company were the Falcon 1 and Falcon 2 which first launched in 2006 and 2010 respectively (Wall, 2013). Their third rocket known as Falcon Heavy is to be launched in 2014. SpaceX has also developed Dragon, a spacecraft that can carry up to 7 astronauts and takes supplies to the International Space Station. In the year 2004, Musik became involved with Tesla Motors, a company aiming to produce electric cars. The Roadster was the first car introduced by Tesla in 2006. One his latest ideas is the creation of the hyperloop transportation system. Forbes (2013) puts his net worth at $6.7 billion.
Therefore, Musik fits every possible description of an entrepreneur. According to McGowen & Kelly (2011), there are 6 entrepreneurial characteristics which are vision, energy, self-reliance, confidence, tolerance of uncertainty and tolerance of failure. Musik exhibits each of these characteristics. He is a game changer. For example, in terms of vision, each of Musik’s ventures have been more of startups that have gone to become world changers. Another aspect is energy. Musik never tires to try new things. This is evident in his dream to build the hyperloop transportation system. Musik also exhibits tolerance to uncertainty and failure. For example, according to Ong (2013), when the first 3 SpaceX launches failed, Musik scraped together money enough to make a fourth launch. This is a show of the never-give-up attitude that is characteristic of most entrepreneurs. Therefore, as a pioneer of e-commerce,Musik is an entrepreneur who has made electric cars cool, has made space travel affordable and has big plans in the pipeline.
Forbes. (2013) Elon Musik. Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/profile/elon- musk/
Gregersen, E. (2013) Elon Musik. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2013. Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014 from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1676437/Elon-Musk
McGowen, J. & Kelly, M. (2011) BUSN. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Ong, J. (2013) Elon Musik on Fear and Failure. Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014 from http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2013/10/31/elon-musk-failure-fear/#!wWaEJ
Sobel, R.S. (2008) Entrepreneurship. Library Economics and Liberty, 2008. Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014 from http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Entrepreneurship.html
Wall, M. (2013) 6 Ways Entrepreneur Elon Musik is Changing the World. Live Science, 2013. Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014 from http://www.livescience.com/38880-elon-musk-is- changing-the-world.html