Elon Musk has already cemented his place as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in human history. He’s changed the face of many industries, created many pioneering companies, and has become the richest man in the world. But this potential was spotted early by his mother, Maye Musk.
“I would say from the age of three, I thought he (Elon Musk) was a genius,” says his mother, Maye Musk. “He would reason with me, and his reasoning was sensible. And how do you even do that when you don’t really have much experience?” she remembers.
“I wanted him to go to nursery school,” Musk says. But his teachers weren’t keen, because Musk was just two days over the cutoff to join, and his school in South Africa thought that he could have a hard time adjusting with kids who’d be much older than him. “They (the teachers) said, well, he makes it by two days, but you really should keep him back a year, because otherwise he’ll be a little socially challenged,” Maye Musk says.
“And I said, you don’t understand. I have a genius son. He needs to talk to someone besides me,” she says. “Then, of course, they rolled their eyes, because every mother thinks their child is a genius,” she laughs.
“As a teenager, Elon didn’t have many friends, but he read all the time through the night. I couldn’t get him up in the morning. He read a lot of science fiction. He would read through the night until he saw me getting up, and then he would go to sleep. And then, of course, I had to dress him while he his halve asleep and get him to school,” he says.
Apart from his mother thinking he was a genius, Musk had displayed early signs of his abilities in other ways. When he was just 12, in 1983, he’d coded a game called Blastar, which was published in an industry trade magazine called PC and Office Technology. He’d also been paid $500, a handsome amount in those days, for developing the game.
Musk would go on to develop a lot more things. He’d launched his first startup, named Zip2, which was acquired by Compaq in 1999. He’d then launched X.com, which was merged with PayPal, and eventually sold to eBay in 2002. Musk had made nearly $200 million from the deal, but put it all into launching Tesla and SpaceX, two companies which dominate their industries today. In the meantime, Musk has also launched OpenAI, Neuralink, and The Boring Company, and most recently, has taken over the reins at Twitter, which he’s rebranded to X.com. And if Musk’s mother is to be believed, she’d seen signs of what he would end up doing when he was just three years old.