Musk made headlines in May 2012, when SpaceX launched a rocket that would send the first commercial vehicle to the International Space Station. He bolstered his portfolio with the purchase of SolarCity in 2016, and cemented his standing as a leader of industry by taking on an advisory role in the early days of President Donald Trump's administration.
He didn't grow up very wealthy.
Although not poor, but generally not wealthy. He started Zip2 with his brother in their garage, simply because they thought that it could change the world. He says he never expected to make money from it and sold it Compaq for $307,000,000. He pocketed around $20,000,000. But he didn't stop, when you make that amount of money at such young age, the ideology is you start party, develop a cocaine addiction and end up on the news because you pissed on your neighbors lawn. But he bought his dream car and moved on.
His ideas revolutionized the world we live in.
SpaceX, Tesla, PayPal, Solar City. With the money that he made from Zip2, he went on to make PayPal because he saw a demand for it, and he wanted to be a fundamental part of Internet history. Let's face it, without PayPal, would anyone today have the trust to make online-transactions? SpaceX, he was the first rocket company to bring back a rocket safely. This saves an incredible money in space exploration. Barrack Obama, congratulated him on this matter. If the average Jo is ever to go to space, it'll be thanks to Elon for cutting the cost of space travel. Solar City, holds a monopoly over household solar panels in the US, cutting costs of electricity, carbon and all other environmental aspects. Tesla has proven that an electric car can be as convenient as a traditional petrol cars.
He is a huge risk taker.
When Tesla was going under in 2008 due to the economical climate, along with internal problems that the company had such as the design fraud from the car's designer, no investors wanted to put money into the business. But he went off at a board meeting one day, and said that he will, himself put in the $40,000,000 I think it was, into the business. Which he drained through until he finally made it big just before the company was about to run out of funding again. When Tesla went public, he's initial IPO gained 60% in one day. Giving Elon his billionaire status.
He doesn't give up.
Many billionaires retrench on their investments when the going get's tough or unpredictable. But he genuinely believes in the businesses that he runs and the staff within those organizations. SpaceX failed 3 times to reach the atmosphere of earth. But yet, he tried again and again until he made it. And Tesla, with the $40,000,000 funding he put in out of his own pocket.
He's not in it for the money.
He made his $20,000,000 when he was very young. He said he could've gone and bought an island and lived his dream. But instead he went off and made another company, and another.
He is the only Billionaire to be the CEO of 3 Billionaire dollar companies (or at least was), he's companies don't have a lot in common, either in business models or customer base. He taps into any market that he finds interesting and which he believes is looking for a change. When he started SpaceX, he said that space travel hasn't seen a major change since WW2, so he went off and made that change happen.
He's incredibly intelligent.
He learnt fundamentals of rocket science through reading books at a young age. Like many entrepreneurs, he didn't fit in school and with other people, so he read books. He read and read and read. What, to answer your question, is the most important thing he probably learnt though, is you don't have to know everything. That's what other people are for. With Tesla, he paid designers, engineers, and other contractors to do the specialist work for him. That's what a good leader does. He doesn't need to know everything. In fact, it's the fact that he doesn't which makes him different. He doesn't lie to himself and say he knows everything.