Elon Musk is one of the most famous people on earth today. He has achieved so much even before reaching age 50, which is mind-blowing. However, everything in his life is not a success story. There’s a lot of things he did but failed to become successful. In this article, we’re going to show you some of the failures of Elon Musk. At the end of this article, we also included some famous Elon Musk quotes and explanations.
This list of failures shows how persistent Elon Musk is to achieve success. It teaches us, everything we do will not be successful. However, if we keep moving forward persistently with our effort, success will come.
Elon Musk did not want to be an entrepreneur. At first, he tried to get a software job. In 1995 he applied at Netscape. Netscape was a web browsing software company. It was very popular at the time with significant market dominance. However, Netscape did not hire him. In an interview, Elon Musk clarified that he had a bachelor’s degree in physics and economics. Maybe that’s why Netscape did not hire him.
Though he failed to get an internet job, he was not deterred. That’s why in 1995, Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal Musk formed a company named Zip2.
Zip2 was an online directory website. Similar to Yellow Page. They went to the owner and CEO of Yellow Page for funding for Zip2. The CEO not only refused to fund Zip2, but he also humiliated Elon Musk and Kimbal Musk. The CEO said that there’s no way people will stop using the Yellow Page. This humiliating experience did not intimidate Elon Musk.
In 1996, he was ousted as CEO from his company Zip2.
After the successful sale of Zip2 to Compaq, Elon Musk created x.com. It was an online payment system that later transformed into PayPal.
In 1999, PayPal was voted as one of the worst business ideas in history. However, after two decades, we now know online payment is the best idea Elon Musk ever had.
It shows that most people do not have a clue about the future. They always look at innovation from a negative perspective.
In 2000, Elon was fired from PayPal while he was on a honeymoon. But he never gave up on PayPal. He held all his shares because he believed in the PayPal business model.
In 2001 and 2002, Elon Musk visited Russia multiple times to buy an ICBM. Elon wanted to send a small greenhouse to Mars. However, Russia refused to sell him an ICBM.
The whole story is a little bit weird. At first, Russia wanted to sell decommissioned ICBMs to Elon Musk for 7 million dollars each. Musk went to Russia to buy three decommissioned ICBMs for 21 million dollars. However, when Elon Musk met the ICBM sellers, they said that one ICBM is 21 million dollars. Because of this bad experience, Elon decided to form SpaceX, a rocket company.
In 2003, Elon Musk formed SpaceX. According to Elon’s calculation, he had money to launch only four rockets before going bankrupt.
His first SpaceX launch in 2006 was a failure.
In 2007, he tried but failed again.
In 2008, his rocket launch failed for the 3rd time. But this time, there was a NASA satellite on board. Thus this failure made Elon’s failure more painful.
Musk’s SpaceX was on the brink of bankruptcy. He had only one chance to be successful. In 2008, he tried again, and this time his SpaceX reached orbit successfully.
In 2008 the stock market crashed. The US economy was in shambles. His both companies Tesla and SpaceX, were on the brink of bankruptcy. Even in this hardship, Tesla did not file for bankruptcy protection. Elon said, if Tesla goes, I’m going with it.
In 2013, Elon Musk tried to land his rocket on a barge in the ocean but failed.
In 2014, Tesla was in several controversies because of the car’s battery fire.
We have to remember that not everyone likes Elon Musk. He’s making battery electric vehicles, which is a threat to the gasoline vehicle business. Besides traditional carmakers, energy producers such as BP, Shell also will face a massive problem in the future if battery electric vehicles become successful.
Moreover, not everyone believes in climate change. What Elon Musk does is not popular among a lot of people. That’s why many people want to see Tesla fail. Whenever there is a small problem in the Tesla vehicle, it gets enormous news coverage, even though internal combustion engine cars catch fire more. But we don’t see that news.
In 2015, Elon Musk had three failures while they tried to land their first stage booster. In 2015, SpaceX also failed to deliver a payload to orbit successfully. The rocket exploded after a few minutes into the flights.
In 2016, the delivery of model X was delayed for 18 months. Tesla was struggling to ramp up Model X production.
In 2016, SpaceX had another failure. This time the rocket exploded at the launch pad with a Facebook satellite on board. The price of the satellite was $300 million. SpaceX had three more failures while trying to land their orbital-class booster at a drone ship in the ocean in the same year.
SpaceX had more than 12 failures to land their rockets before they became regularly successful at landing rockets.
In 2018, Tesla had a pretty hard time ramping up Model 3 production.
As you can see, Elon Musk had many failures throughout his life, but he never stopped trying to be successful. It’s because Elon follows some basic rules. There are some very famous Elon Musk quotes that are very inspirational for an entrepreneur. These quotes will encourage us to achieve the next successful things. Here are ten famous Elon Musk quotes with context and explanation.
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”
Elon Musk wanted to form an electric vehicle company. History tells us in the last hundred years there was no successful new car company. The possibility of Tesla’s success was 1%. Many companies tried but failed to become an established car company in the US after 1910. But Elon Musk believes in the future. He knows that soon we will run out of oil and gas.
Moreover, the more we burn oil-and-gas, the more we’re contributing to climate change. So, why are we running this expensive and costly experiment? Instead, we can transform the whole industry into a renewable energy source.
At that time, traditional car companies weren’t interested in making an electric vehicle. It is why Elon Musk started Tesla. He knew that Tesla, a battery-electric vehicle, is essential for this world. He also knew that the odds of becoming successful are very low. But he believes in the future; that’s why he started Tesla.
“If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.”
“There have to be reasons that you get up in the morning, and you want to live. Why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? If the future does not include being out there among the stars and being a multi-planet species, I find that incredibly depressing.”
“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.”
People don’t like change. They are happy with whatever they have.
When the first mobile phone came out, people asked why we need a mobile phone? We can stop our car on the side of the road at a Payphone, and call anyone in the world. Why should we carry a mobile phone in our car? It does not make any sense. However, when the mobile phone came out, people soon realized the benefit of this new technology.
Same as the first motor vehicle. At the time, everyone had a horse and horse carriage. They said that the motor vehicle would fail because it does not go everywhere like a horse, it makes a lot of noise, emits smoke with an awful smell, it needs gasoline, whereas a horse does not need gasoline. A horse can eat grass. They thought their horse carriage is better than a motor vehicle. They deemed that a motor vehicle is dangerous for society. People said that who is going to make roads for those Motor Vehicles. It’s entirely unrealistic.
However, soon people realized a motor vehicle is far superior to a horse and a horse carriage.
Elon Musk is implying that the customer survey is not crucial. If you think a product will make someone’s life more comfortable, you should make that product. Even the customer doesn’t know what they want. It is why Steve Jobs did not like the customer survey. Even the prominent CEO’s sometimes don’t understand what customers want. Which product will become successful? Not all of them are visionary.
When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, everyone laughed at Apple, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. He said at that time, who would buy this $500 iPhone that does not even have a keyboard? He said no one would purchase this expensive toy, which is not an effective email machine. Now ten years later, the iPhone is dominating the world’s phone market, and Microsoft Windows mobile operating system is dead.
“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”
Elon musk’s SpaceX failed several times to deliver a payload to orbit. Up until 2019, Tesla was on the brink of bankruptcy. But Elon Musk never gave up. Elon Musk never quits. In several interviews, he said that he never gives up.
Now, SpaceX routinely carries humans to the International Space Station. However, when SpaceX announced the first time they would ferry humans to the International Space Station, numerous astronauts and scientists, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, opposed Elon Musk’s idea. They said that SpaceX would never be successful in carrying humans to the International Space Station safely. However, fast forward five years, SpaceX is carrying humans to and from the International Space Station safely. Not only that, they are doing it cheap compared to any other rocket company in the world.
“It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.”
“If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic-being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.”
Rocket engineers and scientists said that landing an orbital class rocket is impossible. There’s no way SpaceX will ever be able to land a rocket. However, Elon Musk’s SpaceX company not only did it successfully; they did this more than 60 times in a row.
Rocket engineers said reusable rockets are a pipe dream. Elon Musk proved that a reusable rocket is possible.
People said that going to Mars is impractical. Humans can’t live there. Now, Elon Musk is making a Starship rocket that will one day take humans to Mars. When SpaceX successfully sends humans to Mars, it would seem like a dream.
“We’re going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I’m hell-bent on making it work.”
“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”
Elon Musk is creating Starlink. Starlink is a satellite internet company, which provides low-latency fast broadband internet to rural areas. Before Starlink, HughesNet and other satellite companies provided internet to rural areas, but their service is completely useless. It’s expensive but too slow to do any practical work on the internet.
Starlink also intends to provide fast internet to emerging countries such as Africa. Some companies tried to provide low-cost internet to those areas but failed, for example, Google’s balloon internet project.
Elon Musk came up with the idea to provide low latency, high-speed Broadband satellite internet with low earth orbit satellites. He came up with the idea and has already started establishing this network, and people are enjoying the fast internet in rural areas already, which they never dreamed of.
“I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”
Elon Musk says that anyone can become successful if they try hard enough.
“I could either watch it happen or be a part of it.
Elon Musk had numerous failures in his life. But he didn’t give up after those failures. We will face numerous problems, innumerable shortcomings in our life journey, but we should not give up on achieving a dream. As Elon Musk said, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”