Six quotes that take you inside Elon Musk's brilliant, eccentric mind

Elon Musk has had a futuristic mindset since he was a young boy, when he sold his first software — a game called Blastar — at age 11.

He went on to found and sell a startup to Compaq for $US300 million in 1999, and parlayed that into a major stake in PayPal, which eBay bought for $US1.5 billion in 2002.

He then got into three world-changing companies: Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City. And though Tesla and SpaceX nearly went bankrupt, each company is now shifting its respective industry.

Yet Musk — with his 100-hour workweeks, estimated $US13 billion net worth, and habit of never taking a note in meetings — remains enigmatic. So we went looking for clues to his vision, goals, and thinking process.

Here’s what we found.

This is an update of an article originally written by Drake Baer.

On his childhood experiments

'It is remarkable how many things you can explode. I'm lucky I have all my fingers.'

Businessweek, September 13, 2012

On his favourite book when he was a teen, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'

'It taught me that the tough thing is figuring out what questions to ask, but that once you do that, the rest is really easy.'

Businessweek, September 13, 2012

On Henry Ford and innovation

'When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, 'Nah, what's wrong with a horse?' That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.'

Inc., July 14, 2015

On aiming for Mars

60 Minutes

'There's a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that is a space-faring civilisation, that's out there exploring the stars … compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event.'

TED, February 2013

On the promise of America

Asa Mathat | D: All Things Digital

'The United States -- it's sort of like that comment about democracy -- it's a bad system but it's the least bad. Well, the United States is the least bad at encouraging innovation.'

National Press Club, September 29, 2011

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