Elon Musk moved to America for 3 primary reasons, 1. To avoid conscription to the South African Army, which was helping the apartheid government, 2. He knew all the latest innovations taking place in America. He wanted to participate in it, 3. The odds of success in America were higher than in South Africa.
All the innovation takes place in America
Elon Musk was born and grew up in South Africa. He was a good student and avid reader from his childhood. During his adolescence, he was suffering from an existential crisis, and he was searching for the meaning of life.
Elon read almost all the books he could get his hands on. At that time, he realized all the innovation was taking place in America. So, he wanted to come to America to achieve something because opportunities in South Africa were very limited.
In a 2012 Kevin Rose interview, Elon Musk said, “It always seemed like when there was cool technology or things happening, it was kind of in the United States. So, my goal as a kid was to get to America basically.”
Elon has been an innovator since his childhood. Contrary to popular belief, his family isn’t poor. Elon’s father is a prominent Engineer, and they were rich. His father even had a private plane, and Elon visited several countries with his father in his childhood.
Elon is one of the first few people who used computers in South Africa. At the age of 12 he developed and sold a computer game for $500. Therefore, Elon wanted to innovate since childhood. And there’s no other country than America where innovation and innovators are appreciated. It’s the primary reason why Elon Musk moved to America.
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Wanted no Part in Apartheid
America has one of the great constitutions in the world that survived for more than 200 years. The First Amendment gives every American the right to freedom of speech. Except for a handful of nations, no other country gives this constitutional right to its citizens. Even though the South African constitution now has freedom of speech, when Elon grew up, there was none.
South Africa had an apartheid law. Every 18 years must join the army. The government used this army to suppress the black population at that time. The army was basically a racist military that was weaponized to marginalize the black race. Elon Musk didn’t want to take part in that conscription.
Therefore, since age 16, Elon Musk has been trying to get out of South Africa. At the time, his parents were divorced, and he was living with his father. Elon tried to convince his father to move to America. Initially, his father agreed, but later, he changed his mind. Elon then went to his mother.
Elon’s mother, Maye Musk, was a Canadian citizen by birth through his mother. Thus, Elon convinced her mother to move to Canada from South Africa, and she agreed.
As Elon’s mother was a Canadian citizen, Elon got his Canadian citizenship through his mother. Therefore, he moved to Canada at the age of 17 to avoid the South African mandatory conscription.
Large Talent Pool
Elon Musk knew about Silicon Valley from early childhood even though he didn’t know where it was in America.
Almost all the technology companies are situated in Silicon Valley. For a new tech company, the chance of survival and success is higher in silicon valley than in any other place.
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Since his childhood, Elon has wanted to invent. Thus, he knew that he would get all the engineers over there to create a world-changing company. Moreover, America is the country where all the talent wants to move. The odds of success in America are higher than in China, India, South Africa, or European countries. It’s why most of the major tech companies are in America. It’s why Elon Musk moved to America.
No other country except for America has a venture capitalist culture. These early investors invest in companies that don’t even have a product. They hear ideas and invest in companies. These investors are risk-takers.
Each year, these investors invest billions of dollars in various companies. Some companies become successful, and some don’t. It’s why those investors are called venture capitalists.
Creating any successful big business needs a lot of money. Only in America these types of investments and capital are available. India, China, UAE, South Africa, France, Germany, England, or any other country we name it, don’t have this type of venture capitalist culture.
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Therefore, anyone who is serious about world-changing technology and products must come to America to become successful. Elon Musk knew about this from his early adulthood. It’s why he wanted to come to America.
Even when he moved to Canada, he was looking for his way to get into America. Thus he got his admission to the University of Pennsylvania and moved to America. After the completion of his undergraduate degree, he went to Stanford.
However, he didn’t complete his education. He stopped his Ph.D. as soon as he got his chance to form a company named Zip2.
Therefore, Elon Musk moved to America because he knew about the venture capitalist culture where investors invest in cutting-edge technology, which was not present in South Africa or any other country.
Easy to do business
America is one of the best countries to establish and do business. There’s no corruption, extortion, or typical white-collar government crime that prevents and hinders individual businesses we see in other countries.
America is one of the most business-friendly countries in the world. American people have money, and they appreciate good products. If a product is good, it will sell for itself.
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The radio, television, mobile phone, internet, GPS, motor vehicle, Google, Facebook, and almost all the modern technology has been invented in America. However, the invention isn’t everything without proper intellectual property (IP) rights and protection.
America has one of the most robust intellectual property laws in the world, which protects inventors. Thus, the original inventors can market their products and make money.
Other countries have almost no innovator protection, or the laws are too complicated and convoluted. For example, China doesn’t honor any intellectual property and actively steals from other countries’ IPs.
Elon Musk knew that America has a culture of innovation and strong laws protecting innovation and innovators. Moreover, Americans have money to support those innovations. It’s why he moved to America.