How I Became the Real 'Iron Man'

How I Became the Real 'Iron Man'

2014, Biography  -   23 Comments
Ratings: 8.15/10 from 272 users.

Big dreams and the determination to make them come true - these are the trademark qualities of Elon Musk. Creator of PayPal, sustainable energy champion, alternative automotive innovator and space technology explorer. A man who challenges to change the mindset of many industries and whose visions are literally out of this world! As a boy in his native South Africa, he was the typical 'nerd'. Preferring to read anything he could get his hands on, including encyclopedias, he was picked on quite a bit at school.

He even admitted in an interview that he was afraid of the dark, but overcame this fear by rationalizing that dark is only the absence of light and said "It was silly to be afraid of lack of photons". However his brilliance shined during computer classes, where he knew more than the teacher! He showed signs of early entrepreneurship by designing a computer game and with his brother tried to start a local computer arcade.

He made his way to the U.S, therefore eluding compulsory military service in his home country as he believed "America is where great things are possible, more than any other country in the world".

PayPal changed the way people buy things over the internet and is now the leading payment system in the world. It's perhaps something we take for granted now and quickly replaced the traditional paper process of mailing checks in the post. Eventually he would sell PayPal to EBay for $1.5 billion, being only 30 years of age.

Elon moved on to the alternative energy sector and started SolarCity which provides solar power to commercial and private consumers. His ongoing dream is to end the world's addiction to fossil fuels. It is now one of the largest solar energy providers in the U.S.

It's not surprising then that he moved on to another 'green' sector launching Tesla - an electric car company. "It's about sustainable energy consumption" he says and the plan was to introduce a high priced, beautiful sports car to attract high end buyers. Tesla needed to break the mould and change the perception that electric cars were boring but could be hot and desirable. Tesla has had quite a rough beginning, surviving the worst financial recession since the Great Depression, bad reviews by TV show Top Gear and controversial government funding.

However Musk's vision to change the future is enduring and he even injected all of his own personal capital into the business. This huge risk showed the belief in his dream and paid off when Tesla was awarded Motor Trend's 'Car of the Year' and also eventually paid back the government loan with interest 9 years ahead of schedule. A phenomenal achievement.

But his dreams aren't confined to just earth, his company SpaceX became the first commercial company to send cargo to the International Space Station. This is a man with determination, a sense of adventure and above all big dreams.

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23 Comments / User Reviews


    His achievements start and end up with PayPal. His companies and persona are a decoy, created by the Pentagon in cahoots with other major players, born to enable the transition of US government branches' technology to move into the private sector, creating a profit for a handful alone, while being created with public money from every tax payer. Share costs and losses, privatize profits. Pure capitalism. Meanwhile we argue about his naivety in the Mars colonization affair when the true point is that it does not matter: the Red Planet is NASA's exclusive playground and will remain so for quite a while, cause its costs are very far from being overtaken by any profit, ergo it will still remain in the public sector up until then. Musk is just a CEO in the low orbit cab company that charges NASA (your tax money) a lot more than his competitors such as Russia and ESA would. And one cannot help noticing the irony that is that SpaceX's any poor (though expensive) achievement this far is due to Russian tech.
    It is all a scam.

  2. Brian

    A true inspiration.... thank you Mr. Musk for showing us what it means to have dedication & the fruits of believing in one's self. A real life testament to the law of attraction- what do you want from life? Never lose site of this goal, believe u will attain it, do not fret about how just know it will be true & life will fulfill whatever you can put your mind to.

  3. Gabriel Alberoni

    what an amazing history!! I enjoyed it.

  4. frank

    A rich narcissist. who needs to be back on his medication.

  5. menckensman

    This 'real iron man' has a couple of unrealistic notions which he should be aware...but isn't. Space colonization is one of them. Musk may be 'well read', but he missed a great thinker & writer, [Loren Eisely] . A clear, brief and simple explanation of why this, constantly recurring theme, is an impossibility given our present understanding of physical laws is given in his marvelous work; 'THE INVISIBLE PYRAMID', [chpt.two], "The Cosmic prison".
    In there you will find his , factually convincing explanation.

  6. bobby

    We love you bro but leave Mars alone. That will happen when we discover and apply anti gravity. Now there's something to research without spending a fortune....

    1. Anon

      Finally, someone gets it

  7. Thomas

    Elon Musk is a hero of mine. What an inspiration. That douche bag Noble of car lab is a sh*ll and id*ot and he should be publically scorned. Same with Mad money guy who also said Bears and Stearn is fine keep your money in, the day before their bankruptcy. Don't trust the "experts" but root for the visio aries. Thanks Elon for your vision and commitment to making the world a better place. You rock dude!

  8. David

    Seems like the researcher for the documentary didn't do his homework. Queen's College in Toronto ? Elon attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

  9. FollowTheFacts

    ...if one is fascinated with Elon Musk then this documentary is well worth watching...he is certainly a fascinating individual, but I gave the documentary 7, since that would be enough in my opinion...
    Well done, explains many things, gives you an insight into his journey...a good documentary...
    He is of course an "exceptional" individual...not just "fascinating"...

  10. James B. DiGriz

    "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

    - Calvin Coolidge

  11. Horst Manure

    All we need now is a net that works 24/7

  12. UnderSiege

    Pity that ego, money, or ignorance has led this very bright, well meaning young man to squander enormous resources on SpaceX.
    The delusion that men will colonize Mars or any of our nearby planets is absurd. I know many will scoff at my words as arrogance or ignorance.
    A little knowledge of the insurmountable problems of space travel/colonization can be gathered from a slight familiarity with Astronomy, Mathematics, and human physiology. The impossible challenges were illuminated by Loren Eisely's 'THE INVISIBLE PYRAMID", in a chapter aptly named 'The Cosmic Prison', pg.31.
    I hope at least some skeptics will read this enlightening book. I must add, the severe limitations of humans in space were not even well known when he published his work in 1970. There is no doubt that politics and greed has played a large role in ignoring the truths about space travel & colonization.
    Here, is a paragraph from Chapter Two: "To escape the cosmic prison man is poorly equipped. He has to drag portions of his environment with him, and his life span is that of a mayfly in terms of the distances he seeks to penetrate. There is no possible way to master such a universe by SPACE FLIGHT ALONE. Indeed, such a dream is a dangerous illusion. This may seem a heretical statement, but its truth is self-evident if we try seriously to comprehend the nature of time and space that I sought to grasp when held up to view the fiery messenger, (Halley's Comet) , that flared across the zenith in 1910. "Seventy-five years" my father had whispered in my ear, "seventy - five years and it will be racing homeward. Perhaps you will live to see it again. Try to remember."
    And, the facts of his story just get more interesting.

    1. Bozman419

      I do not scoff at your opinion, but I will say that mining mars seems like a good excuse to start shipping off the un wanted and saving life on earth for the egotistical, rich, ignorant ones!!!

    2. Fabien L

      You are correct unless we find a way to bend space to make the distance shorter or a way to create wormholes, space travel will be restricted to our solar system. . I am unsure if you would include these as space flight or space manipulation.

      I disagree that colonization of Mars and/or Venus is impossible. They both have the potential to sustain life and we could probably engineer microbes that could survive there to change the atmosphere.

      It wouldn't be a short process but the earth didn't have a breathable atmosphere either a few billion years ago. Early Earth probably had an atmosphere dominated by
      carbon dioxide similar to the atmosphere of Venus today. Without photosynthesis, our beloved earth would be as dead as the other 2.

    3. UnderSiege

      Sorry if this sounds harsh, but you might be a victim of "Cultivation Theory"? Fictional stuff like' A SPACE ODYSSEY 2001', Star Trek fantasies and so on, have rented 'space' (pun) in your head.
      Corporate profits, cushy jobs, nice salaries, and careers [physicists) rest upon the continuation of this 'impossible dream'. Sagan and the Japanese physicist (name?) keep the myth alive.
      Google :" physiological limitations of space travel", and read about all the realities you seem ignorant of, or choose to ignore, viz., gravity, weightlessness,
      radiation, logistics, ad infinitum.

    4. Fabien L

      I am aware of the limitations and these problems will take time to crack. But who knows what we will be able to engineer in 100 000 years or 1 million years?

      We are already able to build materials on the atomic level in the lab, create super computers and manipulate the genetic code and we've been doing scientific research only for a few centuries.

      No one in their right mind would have believed man would go to the moon someday only 200 years ago, yet nowadays we have a constant presence on the international space station. It's not interstellar space, but it's a giant leap ahead from the Wright brothers plane, 110 years ago.

    5. Bozman419

      Star Trek fantasies? Many of the things that were used as " fantasy " have now become reality. ie: wireless communication, scanners, and so on. If we don't dare to do the Impossible we would still be hunting with spears and walking not flying!

    6. James B. DiGriz

      If people throughout the human history followed exclusively your "logic", we would still be at the caveman level.

      Human mind is capable to bend all the limitations you've listed and even more. Elon Musk just proved you the old truth that determination and persistence are omnipotent, and you keep hiding in your shell. The only way to innovate is to challenge what seems impossible and then make it possible.

      Don't be lazy and start studying history of the mankind: everything EVOLVES, and even a theoretical idea, which has limitation at this very moment, will gradually evolve into a technology sometime in the future.

      Who is ignorant now? (A rhetorical question that has been answered in my post, as well as in this inspiring documentary.)

  13. Kansas Devil

    It would have been nice to see the more vicious nay sayers publicly admit they were wrong.

    1. James Thomas

      Perhaps. but their douche-bag-ness being exposed is pretty sweet on its own.

  14. oQ

    A nerd (according to his mom) with a BIG vision.

  15. Fabien L

    Nice bio-doc, good to see a rich guy with a vision.