For Elon Musk, nothing seems impossible. The eccentric billionaire is currently ranked as the world’s second richest person. Many call him a genius. Others say he is crazy. Some say he straddles the line between the two.
Analyzing Elon Musk’s Investments
Could Musk actually become the world’s first Trillionaire? I’ve looked at the numbers, and it is definitely possible. However, unlike many billionaires, Musk probably cares far less about his bank account than his primary goal of colonizing Mars. I’ll get to that later, but first let’s take a look at Elon’s major investments.
Tesla’s stock (TSLA) closed at $705 a share today, with a market cap of about $668B. Musk’s 193 million shares are worth about $135B. Musk’s stake in Tesla makes up the vast majority of his current $155B net worth.
Tesla Solar Roof
Tesla Solar venture is worth mentioning because the solar industry is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. If Tesla can lead the charge on that front, Musk could add billions to his net worth from the solar business alone.
Experts predict that by 2030, more than half of all cars on the road (at least in the United States) will have self-driving (autonomous vehicle) features. Even some startups, like Comma.ai, believe that Tesla will reach the level 5 milestone (Full self-driving that is safer than a human driver) before anyone else. The autonomous vehicle market could soon be worth over a trillion dollars.
SpaceX is Musk’s dream project. He famously refused to let the company go broke in the late 2000s, when he was rapidly running out of funds; instead splitting his remaining wealth between Tesla and SpaceX.
Musk has famously stated that he wants to die on Mars. The wannabe-space pioneer may get his wish, as SpaceX has grown at an exceptional pace. SpaceX is currently valued at about $46B.
Starlink is tricky. It’s part of SpaceX, but seems to have earth-centered goals; connecting those on the ground via satellite internet access. This makes sense for SpaceX, as relying on NASA or private investors for funding can only go so far.
As we are all aware, internet prices are expensive. Worse off, much of the developing world simply lacks access to it. Starlink is a big gamble, but has the ability to compete in one of the world’s largest industries, telecom.
Neuralink is probably Musk’s most ambitious project. The idea is to change neural circuits in the brain. The primary goal appears to be to use implanted devises to increase intelligence and to cure or manager diseases. Professional scientists have understandably cast doubt on the company’s ambitions, with the idea of a brain implant sounding more dystopian to humanity, like in the young adult novel Feed (2003), than beneficial.
Part of the fundamental problem with Neuralink is that we, as a society, have yet to fully map or understand the human brain. It’s hard to look at Neuralink as more than a pet project for Musk.
It’s tough to put a value on Neuralink, but it is likely not worth much. The firm only has about 100 employees. Of course, a company that successfully creates a device that increases intelligence or cures diseases could conceivably be worth trillions.
The Boring Company
The boring company only has two current tunnels, one in LA and one in Las Vegas. At present, it does not have much value. The Boring Company’s biggest success seems to be the sale of 2,000 flamethrowers, a cheap publicity stunt.
Conclusion – Elon Musk and a Trillion Dollars; Does He Even Care?
It’s easily to imagine a world in which Musk is the first trillionaire. In many ways, Musk deserves this feat far more than some on the billionaire list, such as the Koch brothers. But in other more realistic ways, no one needs all that money. One can also ponder if anyone who runs a company that takes billions in tax credits truly deserves to be a trillionaire.
The media likes to play up the world’s richest list like it’s some sort of race to the top. But humanity has been here before. It’s easy to see a resemblance between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and the past mega-rich. Recall from your high school history class that over 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie, who controlled steel, and John Rockefeller, who controlled oil (and later railroads), were more powerful than any person had ever been.
However, Bezos and Musk seem far more ambitious, stretching into as many industries as possible. Do I think that both men are looking to improve humanity? Sure, I believe that at least Musk holds this value front-and-center. But I also think Musk knows that colonizing Mars is no easy feat, currently an idea that oscillates between insanely ambitious and downright crazy, just like most of Musk’s ventures.
Barely three years ago, Tesla was on the brink of collapse, and before Musk reaches Mars, he would face many more tests. But if there is one thing that everyone should know, it’s to never count Musk out.
Could Elon Musk become the world’s first billionaire? Sure. Does it matter? No.