Talk:Elon Musk/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2



He sold the F1 according to

I'd agree that something needs to be done about at least the intro. Currently reads that he "invented" the roadster and "designed" Falcon/Dragon as a "successor to the Space Shuttle"... Summarizing is one thing but those descriptions of his involvement in the projects (and their goals) are just inaccurate. Bureaucromancer (talk) 17:39, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

An anonymous writer changed B.S. in Physics to B.A. in Physics under education. I have never known physics to be a B.A. degree, but does U. Penn. do it differently? Dschmelzer 15:54, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC) Similarly, I mentioned below that Wharton currently offers only a B.S, NOT a B.A at all.

Does he really have a B.S. in Physics from Penn at all? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Is Elon Musk Jewish?

Elon is a Jewish name. Could he be Jewish? What is his earlier history?

Well? Is he? Being South African with a name like Elon Musk, I would say there is a 90% chance that he is Jewish. Why doesn't someone ask him? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

His religion is irrelevant to the article. Petershank (talk) 19:01, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

It is not irrelevant to his biography. Religion is a commonly marked subject on wikipedia biographies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:14, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

His mother's Haldeman line is definitely not Jewish. I doubt his father is Jewish either. He gets his name, "Elon", I would assume, from his maternal great-grandfather, John Elon Haldeman, who was not Jewish. All Hallow's Wraith (talk) 06:52, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

This article says that while "Elon" is Hebrew for oak tree, he is of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. tharsaile (talk) 12:15, 26 May 2012 (UTC)


(Click on the tenth video titled "Going to Mars") There are 22 videos all together.

Religion would be classed as atheist:

10 of 22 Going to Mars: (Denying belief in master intelligence)

It's almost like part of a grandness.[Do] you think there is some kind of destiny involved in this? Or is it just physics
Well, I do. Do I think that there's some sort of master intelligence architecting all of this stuff? I think probably not because then you have to say: "Where does the master intelligence come from?" So it sort of begs the question. So I think really you can explain this with the fundamental laws of physics. You know its complex phenomenon from simple elements.

10 of 22 Going to Mars: (Accepting the theory of evolution)

You have to go hundreds of millions of miles across extremely hostile environment to a planet which is completely unlike anything you've evolved to live on. And that's just really an extremely difficult problem. In fact, I think it's an impossible problem without the advent of consciousness. So consciousness is a necessary precursor for that.


(Click on the tenth video titled "Going to Mars") There are 22 videos all together.

Just because you don't believe in a "master intelligence" does not necessarily make you an atheist, see Pantheism for example. What has evolution got to do with anything? Many Christians accept the fact evolution happens, evolution says absolutely nothing about god and it has no bearing on the question unless you believe rigidly that everything in the Old Testament is "fact".
Your assumptions are based quite squarely on Christian (and a minority of it at that) concepts of religion. Btw I'm not commenting either way on his religion or lack thereof, just that these quotes don't prove anything, certainly not enough for it not to be considered original research. ChiZeroOne (talk) 16:22, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Read after the bold writing: "So I think really you can explain this with the fundamental laws of physics. You know its complex phenomenon from simple elements." Panthiests use god to relate to the unviverse. Elon clearly states he uses the laws of physics to relate the universe; therefore he is not pantheist. Elon says he doesn't believe in a "master intelligence architecting all of this stuff". So he clearly says there is no higher being or greater intelligence. He then continues "Where does the master intelligence come from? So it sort of begs the question." further stating his discontent with the idea of a infinite lasting omnipotent being. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

"Panthiests use god to relate to the unviverse. Elon clearly states he uses the laws of physics to relate the universe; therefore he is not pantheist.". Nonsense. I guess you missed Naturalistic pantheism, linked to from the "Varieties" section of the Pantheism page. Again you are making assumptions based on purposefully limited interpretations of theology. There is not a single quote you mention that for certain means he is an atheist. In the end unless you have a reliable source stating that he is an atheist (perhaps even a quote from Elon himself?) then it is still original research. ChiZeroOne (talk) 11:56, 26 February 2011 (UTC)


This is definitely not related in the article. This topic was just made up and something put under it. Delete the heading ? --Dtox 15:53, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Citizen of?

Can we call him a South African-America.. or American or Canadian-American etc.. what are his citizenships? -- Stbalbach 04:15, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

According to this, he's a naturalized American citizen. Not sure if he retained South African citizenship though. --Josh Atkins (talk - contribs) 17:35, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
I've added the South African part of him into the intro. (Gryffindor (talk) 23:37, 29 October 2009 (UTC))
Why "South-African American" and not simply "African-American?" (talk) 01:17, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
He is African-American if you think about it. The fact that he's caucasian is beside the point. (talk) 20:41, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Donations to Wikipedia?

Does anyone want to look and see his donations to wikipedia? I see a recent one for $1000, and I'm sure there are more.-- 05:54, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

That's great (cheers Musk), but I don't think it would be appropriate to mention it in the article. -- Stbalbach 13:46, 12 June 2006 (UTC)


We have had two versions of his birthday: June 28 and November 7th (both 1971). Which is correct? --Stbalbach 21:03, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Anon editor User: removed the reference to Nov 7th from the article (it said "Born Nov 7th or June 28th"), so I assume this editor on good faith knows what they are talking about. -- Stbalbach 12:32, 11 October 2006 (UTC)


How do we pronounce "Elon"? Adriaan90 ( TalkContribs ) ♪♫ 17:41, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

  • On 60 Minutes on October 5, 2008 they pronounced his name like the Israeli name, Ilan. -NYC2TLV (talk) 00:23, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Tesla Motors

i am far from an expert on Mr. Musk but i wonder at the lack of detail on Tesla Motors. Does he own it? What is it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:41, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

This section is factually incorrect. Mr. Musk was one of the initial lead venture capitalists behind Tesla Motors, but he did not found the company. Tesla was founded by Mark Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard. A quick check of the Tesla Motors wiki page referenced with both Mr. Tarpenning and Mr. Eberhard's pages seems to confirm this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:24, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Re: Who founded tesla? Elon is a co-founder. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:37, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Does anyone have a link to the original incorporation documents for Tesla Motors? Before Eberhard was ousted, his Oct 2007 slide show at Stanford (search for pressguild.swf and audio podcast) told the story of how Eberhard and Tarpenning incorporated Tesla Motors in July 2003. They met with Lotus and had 3 employees by Jan 2004, and a complete business plan in Feb, all before April of 2004 when Elon Musk led the Series A funding and they finally reached the 5 employees considered "co-founders." It seems to me that those incorporation documents might shed some light on the significance of those 10 months before Musk. BrianWilloughby (talk) 10:18, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Tesla - viable?

Ok - Tesla indeed made an interesting automobile. But to call a vehicle which sold around 600 units a year - globally - viable is an extreme stretch, compared to - for example - the Nissan Leaf, which has sold significantly more. To be viable - surely must mean 'viable in the market'. When the vehicle sold around the same as some tiny UK independent makers - surely this is a stretch? --Speedevil (talk) 15:41, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Viable doesn't mean everyone and their mom gets one, it means it is profitable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


martain's forced resignation, Elon's taking credit, etc. it all should be in the article. TrevorLSciAct (talk) 18:15, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, it is done. And to spice things up, there is also the memo leak entrapment plot. - Jacob Poon 20:36, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

After 7 years participating in Wikipedia, I finally understand why people complain about its accuracy. This article should be used as an example of how revisionist history can be strong-armed into a supposedly public resource. This article reads more like 'spin' than an encyclopedia. BrianWilloughby (talk) 23:18, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I am confused by the reference to "the source of the company's reported financial status". Does this mean the source of the leaked report, or the source of the financial trouble - i.e. the man who took the money? The article certainly implies - but does not clarify - that the shortage of funds was due to theft or mismanagement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Chess master?

I think he is.--Jrm2007 (talk) 09:14, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Is the movie stuff lede-worthy?

The lede currently states that

According to Jon Favreau, director of the Iron Man movies, Musk is the inspiration for his and Robert Downey Jr.'s interpretation of Tony Stark.(reference here)

My initial take is that this is not something that is worthy of being in the lede in Musk's biography since the man's notability is overwhelmingly related to accomplishments in his life, not what fiction writers may have done that was inspired, in part, by his life. What do others think? What criteria have been established in Wikipedia policy that might help us think about this? N2e (talk) 01:40, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to User:Gribeco, the movie trivia has been moved out of the lede. N2e (talk) 04:41, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Recent news media articles

Here are two interesting, fairly thorough, Musk biographical sources (August 2010):

Several facts about Falcon 1, Falcon 9, SpaceX, Dragon, including the origin of the names for Falcon and Dragon, could be sourced from these articles as well. Cheers. N2e (talk) 04:37, 4 August 2010 (UTC)


The article lists Musk's occupation as an engineer and categorizes Musk as an aerospace engineer. Honorary degrees aside, he may be involved in engineering businesses, but he is not an engineer. Would someone running a pacemaker business be considered a doctor? HyperCapitalist (talk) 02:31, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Musk is clearly doing work as an "engineer"; he is practicing "engineering." This is attested to by numerous verifiable, reliable secondary sources. One of the standard definitions of engineering is applied technology development work; i.e., applying the more basic science of pure research or pure science (if such a thing exists) to the use of technology to accomplish human goals. To me, it smacks of credentialism to worry about what specific degrees one holds before using the term "engineer". Moreover, it would violate WP:NPOV to pull it out of Wikipedia, despite what some labor organizations of "engineers" might like. Now, if the article were to declare that Musk is a Professional Engineer, a specific credential—and in the United States, a State-issued license—then that would be an unverified claim and something we should not assert in Wikipedia. Full disclosure: I say this as an engineer, and one who just happens to have the State credential as well (licensed PE); but I've never put much truck in credentialism personally. Cheers. N2e (talk) 18:31, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Your make good points. I'm on the fence on this one. Much of what you say though, I'm not sure of. For example, what work is Musk personally doing that can be called "engineering?" Is he performing stress analyses? Is he designing the batteries? Or perhaps he is just doing engineering economics. I haven't seen any citations from any sources for this. Don't get me wrong -- I think perhaps he is. Additionally, in full disclosure, I am an engineer and I am probably guilty of credentialism. At what point can I publicly claim I am an engineer? More importantly, by what standard can the occupation of engineer be applied to a Wikipedia entry? HyperCapitalist (talk) 05:16, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your open and thoughtful response to my argument. I'll leave further comment on most of what I've said and what you've said to other editors. However I will here make just one additional point. The engineering process consists of many phases, each dealing at different levels of abstraction to the final technology product that utilizes the basic scientific characteristics of materials, chemical components, electronics, software, etc. For example, early in my engineering career, I did mostly detailed design and detailed "implemention" (drawings, flow charts, code, etc.). A few years later, with more experience, I did more high-level design of larger subassemblies involving the work of multiple engineers. Later yet, I did even higher-level design, or product "architecture", and much less of the sub-component-level and component-level design and "implementation". Later, as a development engineering manager, I did only architecture, and also a critically important piece of work that is a yet higher level of abstraction: product requirements, and even "business requirements" (less geeky: how is the technology solution going to solve a "business" problem, not just the technical stuff like how much speed, or thoughput, or technical bells and whistles we can put on the product). I maintain that at each of these phases of my career, and my contributions to the projects I was on, I was practicing engineering. I believe the situation is exactly analogous with Elon Musk: he has no doubt always done much more "requirements engineering" and "product architecture", or "high-level design" -- even while perhaps doing no stress analysis or battery design. This is all engineering. Hope this additional perspective is helpful. N2e (talk) 19:36, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
So we are in agreement on what we would call an engineer. The only issue that I'm left with is that we call Elon Musk an engineer with a link that defines an engineer as someone practicing a profession founded upon specialized educational training -- which Musk does not have. HyperCapitalist (talk) 21:00, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
I have been wondering why Elon Musk's occupation was listed as an Engineer, because he is not an Engineer even with the above arguments. Even considerding the argument of Credentialism and saying a degree is not required to be an Engineer, Elon Musk is still not an Engineer. His profession is not one of Engineering, and being called one has requirements. Webster's defines Engineering as "a person who is trained in or follows as a profession a branch of engineering" neither of which fit Elon Musk. The Engineering article on Wikipedia also presents several definitions, but Elon’s involvement is not low level enough to meet the definitions of Engineering. Someone with a high level idea does not always have the knowledge to make the idea become a reality and you would not call them an Engineer; perhaps a businessperson, inventor, or investor, but never Engineer.
Sometimes touching the line of a topic of Engineering does not make someone an engineer just like using a meat thermometer everyday as a professional chef would not make someone also a meteorologist.
Nor is his current level of involvement one that would warrant the title of Engineer. Though a project has many levels as mentioned above, it does not mean each level requires an engineer or warrants them to be titled Engineer. Those doing the design and their managers are obviously doing engineering. Each level above those levels the technical knowledge decreases and you move into management. Keeping project on target, on budget, and settling arguments between teams is not engineering. With Elon being at the top, there is some technical knowledge required, but its like the knowledge the president of Bunny Bread has about baking. He knows what he needs to know to manage and make business decisions. It is not engineering; it is management. Elon is doing high-level design (think Architect), feature design (think marketing), and management (think MBA), but none of these qualify him an Engineer.
At what point do you call a fabricator an Engineer? There are many better examples in the industrial world, but when would someone like Paul Teutul, Sr. ever be called an Engineer? The work he does can be and is done by engineers. At what point would you call an Architect an Engineer? They do high level design, product requirements, and feature specification? Marketing departments commonly have product requirements, but it is marketing, not engineering.
More so, the work Tesla Motors and Space X does would require Licensed Engineers, which Elon Musk is not so he would not partake in that work. Having a good product idea and vision of what you want in your product does not make you an Engineer. Elon is not an Engineer; he is a businessperson and Entrepreneur. (talk) 18:18, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Actually, he is nothing less than Delos D. Harriman which, I might add, puts him in the category of "Great Man." It does not matter where he came from or what his religion is. What matters is what he has done and today, he pulled off something that no other person ever has. Brothernight (talk) 21:53, 8 December 2010 (UTC)


I heard Mr. Musk on a recent interview with Charlie Rose on PBS stating that he was born in Israel, not in South Africa.. Elon is seemingly an Israeli Name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:47, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Educational credentials questioned

The founder of Tesla motors has sued Elon Musk. Interestingly, the complaint states that Elon Musk lied about attending graduate school at Stanford and a second degree in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Here a link to the complaint:

If these allegations are true then perhaps a section outlining this controversy should be included in the article, certainly the legal battle itself has become international news.

Note: I see someone already beat me to the punch, so the only question is whether we should modify his educational background and mention the allegations of actively lying about them?

Lordvolton (talk) 20:38, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I added some additional information regarding the complaint against Elon Musk. We should probably remove the false educational information if we can independently verify it was in fact a lie.

Lordvolton (talk) 20:49, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Also, the article states he received a B.A in Economics from Wharton, check out Undergraduate degree program: . I believe it should be a B.S —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:49, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Are the initial different in the US from the UK? BA in UK would suggest an arts subject, which seems wrong for a physics qualification. (talk) 08:54, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Net Worth

Elon Owns $613.57 million worth of tesla motors shares ($23.86 each share).

Note: Tesla shares are now worth $32.31 per share.

Source: SEC Filing:

"Amount of Securities Beneficially Owned Following Reported Transaction(s)"

Following the 23rd Feb 2011 transaction after he aquired $381k worth of Telsa shares for $0.

Use this section to make a list of sourced assets to derive net worth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

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Musk is audaciously stating rather novel ideas on the technical capabilities and costs of missions to Mars

This BBC interview, with BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos, contains substantial additional details from Elon Musk about the technical possibilities (physics) and current projections of costs (economics) of SpaceX missions to Mars; it also provides a timeframe: no sooner than ten years but likely before 20 years. Significant and audacious statements! Whether someone thinks any of this is possible or not, this source will certainly be a valid Wikipedia source for supporting the history of such claims by Musk as this article evolves in the future.

Mars for the 'average person', Jonathan Amos, BBC News, 20 Mar 2012.

I believe, but am not certain, that this is the first news source with this rather high degree of detail and specificity on the Musk's Mars transport thinking. And I should perhaps point out that Musk is fairly careful to clarify that just because something is technically possible (physics) does not mean that the task WILL be carried out. So I did not read this, or hear the interview, as Musk stating emphatically that SpaceX would be carrying humans to Mars in nn years for $dd; but his views are likely notable in the context of a Wikipedia biographical article about Musk. Cheers. N2e (talk) 04:22, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

This is making the rounds in mainline media sources. The magazine Nature has picked this up, and has other secondary source backup of the future plans of Mr. Musk. Backing up the biosphere, Nature, 7 Apr 2012. N2e (talk) 04:15, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
There are always those who vigorously defend the impossibility of achieving something as fact. Funny thing, they are usually ultimately wrong, and history never remembers their names either. (talk) 16:01, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Musk is going BIGer on the Mars project as the year progresses: Inside Elon Musk's Mars Math, Big Think, 29 Nov 2012

What's the Big Idea?

"Musk is throwing out a bunch of numbers here, but they are not as random as they may seem. In order for his project to be economically feasible, the cost of space travel will have to be drastically reduced. So here's what needs to happen. An initial group of 10 colonists will need to pay $500,000 a pop for the one-way trip to Mars. As the colony becomes increasingly self-sustainable -- and fewer resources need to be transported from Earth -- that will free up more space for additional human cargo. Transporting more and more paying customers, and relying on a "rapid and reusable" rocket, is key to Musk's price improvement strategy."

Cheers. N2e (talk) 03:39, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
"The colony, which Musk says he would like to be a public-private joint venture (far from alien territory for Musk’s SpaceX) would have up to 80,000 inhabitants. The first group of adventurers would include fewer than 10 people, with each paying $500,000 for the ride on a reusable rocket fueled by liquid oxygen and methane. The first colonists would land with equipment to begin generating crops, leveraging the nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere as well as subsurface ice. According to Musk, the venture would require approximately $36 billion in funding."

Musk quotations in the article

Per WP:BRD, starting a discussion here. User:Calliopejen1 made a Bold edit in good faith to improve the article, by removing a section of about a half dozen Musk quotations. I'm not so sure that the quotations are inappropriate for a WP:BLP article; each one is sourced with an inline citation, are not defamatory, are relevant to the broad sweep of Musk's life and philosophical outlook, etc. So I Reverted. Let us now Discuss. What do others think on the matter? Cheers. N2e (talk) 14:43, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree with you totally New worl —Preceding undated comment added 14:46, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't think they should be in the article unless they can be integrated fully into the narrative content rather than be added as a list of unrelated quotations at the end (this is no better in my view than a list of trivial miscellany). I don't think there is a single biographical featured article with a list of quotations (though please feel free to prove me wrong), showing that this is not the optimal way to write an article. There is Wikiquote for the collection of quotations, and the best solution might be to start a page at Wikiquote (if none exists yet), and to link to it in the external links section. Calliopejen1 (talk) 19:22, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm not against a process of increased integration of the quotes into the descriptive prose of this BLP article. But I do think that, on balance, those specific quotations represent a good cross-section of some of Musk's own, sometimes provocative and unique, world view—so they ought not to just be deleted out of the article.N2e (talk) 05:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Any other views from other editors on this matter?


I believe Inventor should be removed from Occupation. Elon Musk has not invented anything that I can find. All his businesses use know technology unless someone can find a unique item he did, in fact, invent. (talk) 22:11, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I believe he has a couple of patents to his name (I found some in a quick search of the USPTO database) and he has been instrumental in the design of the Falcon rockets. Does that qualify as an "inventor"? It might even be a nice idea to list those patents in some fashion. --Robert Horning (talk) 23:14, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
In regards to patents, I just did a search and all of them are ideas from his former company, Zip2. They are all based in software and none appear to be things he currently uses. Having the patents could classify him as an "Inventor", but the question is, Should it be listed as his occupation? I would argue that it should not be included as his occupation is not inventing, and his wealth did not come from inventions but his business and entrepreneur sense.
In regards to the Falcon, I would say that would not justify the title because it is not an invention (unless I am missing something). It is the application of known technology. Any novel ideas used in the design were probably designed by employees at his company, unless proven otherwise.
I am not trying to discount what he has done, but I just do not think the title "Inventor" accurately reflects his occupation. (talk) 22:01, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
One of the patents was for a modified automobile door (I think it is the gull-wing door for the Tesla Model-X), and he has been instrumental in some of the design decisions for the Falcon 9. While it is admittedly a refinement of existing technologies, the Merlin engines aren't just a rebuild of the J-2 engines and there are some other design choices that could be patentable... although I just read a comment by Elon Musk stating he won't patent any of the SpaceX designs because he doesn't think his competitors are going to care about patents... being that they are sovereign countries (aka Russia and China).
In the past Elon Musk has called himself the "Chief Technology Officer", where he as been very much involved in the design rather than being necessarily a manager (but does plenty of that too).
I think you are simply splitting hairs here. It doesn't need to be an either/or situation, and the fact is that he is busy "inventing" things.... no different than what Thomas Edison was doing with his various companies even though Edison also was a manager and had a large laboratory staff working for him as well. If anything, I'd say Elon was a better entrepreneur, but that doesn't disqualify the title "inventor" from being used. There are also several 3rd party reliable sources which give him that title... so I suppose one of those sources could be used explicitly in the infobox? --Robert Horning (talk) 23:47, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
In the main, I would agree with Robert Horning. All inventors utilize existing technology of others, the embedded knowledge of other's advancements, to then make further advancements beyond what exists. That is, they "stand on the shoulders of giants." Musk is doing the same. Even if the basic rocket engines and RP1/LOX liquid-fueled rockets have been done before, it would appear to be Musk's vision and implementation that has knocked so much cost out of the traditional process for building and flying them; this includes the highly-fault-tolerant designs in the booster engines and in the computer control systems, as well as the super quick-turnaround time SpaceX has demonstrated for launch recycle after rocket anomalies on the launch pad.
On the newer technology, it's pretty clear that it is Musk's vision for the whole "fully and completely reusable" objective, and for the methods SpaceX has been trying to get there, now in phase 2. The current try is a funded effort to to build a VTVL booster (and, eventually, a VTVL second-stage) which requires a whole set of new technologies to be developed and tested before he has a hope of being successful—although partial success has already been achieved with the low-altitude/low-speed vertical landing aspect. Musk is behind many aspects of this, including the high-level system architecture to make the fully and rapidly reusable launch system possible.
Having said all that, there is someone writing a biography now, so I'm guessing we'll see other sources soon, in addition to the large number of secondary sources that already attest to all of this. Cheers. N2e (talk) 03:45, 23 May 2013 (UTC)


he did not co-found it. he co-founded a company that acquired it.

that should be made clear. (talk) 16:31, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Paypal didn't exist before Confinity and joined together, so it was the result of this merger. Or did you have information that clarifies your assertion? (talk) 04:29, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

he oversaw the construction of the first electric car of the modern era, the Tesla Roadster?

How can this unreferenced statement remain part of the lede of this wiki? Wishful thinking if not a grandiose statement. Especially given that the EV1 began development in 1990 (while Musk was still in high school) and brought to market in 1996? Both cars were produced in volume far below typical "mass produced" totals but even so the EV1 predated the roadster by 10+ years! Is this someone's twisted definition of "modern era"?? I'd just change it but I thought I'd discuss it first, in case some editor here has some other text of automotive history they would like to employ.WopOnTour (talk) 20:33, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

While I agree this statement could likely be reworded in a more NPOV manner, I would like to point out that the Tesla Roadster was the first electric automobile that was licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation for serial production for some time, having performed safety & crash tests and other similar tests needed for such a production license. That is not trivial and certainly does need some sort of distinction.
Arguably the EV-1 never really even achieved that standard, and it should be noted that the EV-1 was never really offered for sale either (General Motors leased all of the vehicles for many reasons too numerous to go into here). Yes, that would require some sort of modifying of the statement, and it would take some additional research to find reliable sources of information to back up how long it had been since a major automobile manufacturer offered a serial production automobile for sale to the general public, but it is something that is factual and verifiable at that point.
I would suggest something like this wording (fill in the dates and models to something appropriate):
Elon Musk oversaw the development of the first serial production electric automobile for sale to the general public since the introduction of the 1959 Henney Kilowatt.
Alternatives and fact checking might be worth doing here, but I think this is a start. --Robert Horning (talk) 20:58, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Concur with Robert Hornings start, assuming the fact-checking is done. It would be more NPOV if that is the correct take. N2e (talk) 01:46, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
these statements are still flawed given that the Tesla did not actual manufacture these chassis,as the roadster chassis were all produced by Lotus.The term "serial production" doesnt change anything. All of the EV1s were "serial production" vehicles as well. So all that's left is "1st EV offered for retail sale" I suppose. It's all poorly referenced and far from NPOV in any case WopOnTour (talk) 07:17, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I can find reliable sources which show that the chassis for the Roadster was original. Elon Musk did admit in a recent interview that his original intention with the Roadster was to simply put an AC Propulsion motor into a Lotus Elise, but by the time they were through with the certification process and trying to conform to U.S. Department of Transportation regulations that they essentially had a brand new vehicle. I think the only thing in common with the Elise was the headlights and just a few other minor common parts like the cigarette lighter. That Lotus was the manufacturer is irrelevant in this context and certainly not a reason to be dismissive of the vehicle.
In terms of trying to make this neutral, offer some reasonable alternative instead of simply culling this sentence. --Robert Horning (talk) 13:26, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Every car is a combination of many components engineered and manufactured by other companies. Tesla is still the OEM of the vehicle. -- (talk) 21:56, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to add "Hyperloop" section

The Wikipedia Hyperloop entry currently contains only rumor and speculation supported by no reliable references. I have proposed in the talk pages for that article (see: Talk:Hyperloop#No_encyclopedic_value_whatsoever) that a Hyperloop section be added to the current Elon Musk article, and the Hyperloop page itself be edited to a tiny one that says that no reliable information is available about Hyperloop, but there has been great media coverage quoting Elon Musk, and then refers the user to the new Hyperloop section on the Elon Musk page. The reasoning is: The only importance of "Hyperloop" is that a well-known person Elon Musk is talking about it, and other than that, no reliable information whatsoever can be found about it. Comments are welcome. Rahul (talk) 02:23, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

With a public announcement with much more detail for the concept having been announced to occur on 12 Aug, I think we can just wait and see what it actually announced to be, and then the articles will take care of themselves as long as editors add only reliable-source sourced and cited statements per the news coverage of whatever is announced. After that, the speculation will be behind us and I would imagine the main Hyperloop article will be improved, and maybe this article would warrant a summary of Musk's involvement in it. Cheers. N2e (talk) 03:02, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Family member names

Musk's children's names and images have been published, in Forbes Life in April 2012, here. Per WP:BLPNAME, it would be within policy to list the names, since there is a reliable source. However, it may be better merely to note the public media source here for now, and wait until a second or third public source, when the children are older, before listing any names. N2e (talk) 20:24, 12 August 2013 (UTC)


Werner von Braun is described in Wikipedia as a German. Why is Musk described as an American, and not a South African? (talk) 05:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Seconded. Born and raised in South Africa = South African. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:04, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

He holds both RSA and USA citizenship, and permanently resides in the USA. So he is both American and South African. Usually on wiki the way this is dealth with is simply referring to the indiviudal as both via hyphenation. So I've changed it to 'South African-American'.-- (talk) 15:51, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Pennsylvania Dutch?

This is usually a reference to Americans descended from early German and Dutch colonists, this may be the case on his mother's side, but his father is South African? Many South Africans have Dutch (Netherlands) roots from the 19th century, but obviously do not call themselves Penn-Dutch. This should be clarified. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:34, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

This heritage ("Pennsylvania Dutch heritage") was mentioned on the Talk page in May 2012, along with a source. See the Talk page "Archive 1". Cheers. N2e (talk) 11:55, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Another correction

Many South Africans have Dutch ancestry dating from the late 1600s after the VOC landed its ships at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. It does not make them Hollanders and 12th generation South Africans have no connection with the Netherlands or their Dutch ancestry. It is in fact derogatory to call South Africans with Dutch surnames 'Dutchmen' or 'Dutchies'. ```` — Preceding unsigned comment added by ElleZinsser (talkcontribs) 21:26, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Off topic info

I don't believe that info like (see below) this belongs in this article. Its a bio not a report on a company, no matter who is CEO or chairman. If its not something Musk did, it shouldn't be here. Comments?

  • In August 2013, Tesla Motors' Model S broke the safety record rating given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, attaining a 5-star rating overall and a 5-star rating in all subcategories.[35] -- KeithbobTalk 15:39, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Agreed, removed. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 17:21, 30 August 2013 (UTC)


I'd like to clarify my changes, Wikipedia's policy is that an article is not one sided, it must show both the brilliant parts of someones like but also the very personal embarrassing parts of someones life, Marie Clare is a reliable source. Therefore I used it as a source to put information regarding personal life on the wikipedia page. Taking it off would be wrong. Wikipedia states the personal embarrassing parts must be listed too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CHARLIEPHILLIPS00 (talkcontribs) 14:09, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

German descent?

There's a category "South African people of German descent". -- (talk) 01:29, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Biography profiles and interviews

Here is another Musk biography profile that might be of use in improving the article:

...and a few more recent (or recently published) interviews:

Edit April 2014

I have provided reasons for all my edits, all of which do deleted any of the article merely add to it, creating a better quality and more detailed article, completing he story instead of something that can be misinterpreted such as the fact that he was involved with the company prior to its incorporation I have listed a source Market Business News, a reliable Online Business Newspaper. This does no reject that he is a cofounder but rather gives the full detail of the story. You seem to think he is not an investor even though I provided a source to Forbes VC Midas 2014 list, a very reliable source the fact that CNMall41 has deleted this source and removed investor is vandalism. To reiterate from above Inventor' is removed from occupation, if not this implies he is inventing on a day-to-day basis. This is hugely untrue. The only this he could be considered for in terms of inventing is Hyperloop, when in actual fact all he has done is conceptualise it, while announcing it as an open source project. This means that even if it could be classified as inventing it would be more of a hobby that a occupation. Introduction titles 'Business Magnate, investor' should be noteworthy... 'inventor' is not because of the reasons above. And the fact it implies he has multiple inventions which he has NOT. Therefore reverting this without giving a relievable source listing INVENTIONS, is vandalism.

Dirac740 (talk) 10:23, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Dirac740, it seems that you misunderstand what vandalism is, as defined here on Wikipedia. Vandalism is defined as a "deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia. Examples of typical vandalism are adding irrelevant obscenities and crude humor to a page, illegitimately blanking pages, and inserting obvious nonsense into a page." First of all, you need to stop making accusations of vandalism, when what we have here is an ordinary, garden-variety content dispute. When you say that something is "hugely untrue" then you need to back up your claim with a reliable source that says "The claims that Musk is an inventor are false" or something like that. The same thing goes for every single change you propose to make to this or any other Wikipedia article. Those changes must be based on what reliable sources say, and you must cite those sources. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:58, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Tesla section incomplete

The Tesla Motors section of his biography, it states "The company was co-founded by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, JB Straubel, Ian Wright, and Musk." While this is correct it does not give the full picture and is misleading, as Musk was not part of the original team. (And he is only considered cofounder because, he won a court case). Musk came in as after the original team was formed AND had incorporated the company in July 2003. He then became involved with the company in series A round of funding as a INVESTOR. reliable Source: (market business news is an online newspaper). I propose 'The company was cofoun.....Wright and Musk, however the company was incorporated by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003 prior to Musk's involvement. Musk became involved with the company in 2004, as a Series A investor. Other Series A investments groups included.... ' Dirac740 (talk) 17:54, 19 April 2014 (UTC)


He is an investor in Solar City, Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal etc. He was also listed on Forbes 2014 Midas List of investors. And other sources... Therefore investor should be added to occupation and i introduction titles. Dirac740 (talk) 17:54, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Fixed Dirac740 (talk) 19:24, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

I shall remove one or two of your references from investor. Four seems excessive. CHARLIEPHILLIPS00 (talk) 19:31, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

15 April 2014

The article starts with 'Elon Musk is a south african born Canadian-American business magnate, inventor....'

Firstly I ask that investor is added. He is an investor in Solar City, Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal etc. He was also listed on Forbes 2014 Midas List of investors. - This fully qualifies him as a investor. Which leads onto my next point that, in the Tesla Motors section of his biography, it states "The company was co-founded by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, JB Straubel, Ian Wright, and Musk." While this is correct it does not give the full picture and is misleading, as Musk was not part of the original team. Musk came in as after the original team was formed AND had incorporated the company in July 2003. He then became involved with the company in series A round of funding as a INVESTOR.

SOURCES: Mainly (But also

After a court case, it was declared he is in fact entitled to the 'cofounder' title, however this does not change the fact that he was not part of the original team, and that the company existed before his involvement. Rather that delete anything instead when listing cofounders simply add '.....Wright and Musk, however the company was incorporated by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003 prior to Musk's involvement.' This is also keeps Wikipedias neutral point of view.

I ask that 'inventor' is removed from occupation, this implies he is inventing on a day-to-day basis. This is hugely untrue. The only this he could be considered for in terms of inventing is Hyperloop, when in actual fact all he has done is conceptualise it, while announcing it as an open source project. This means that even if it could be classified as inventing it would be more of a hobby that a occupation. However I also ask 'inventor' to be removed in the introduction titles Business Magnate, investor etc. This is again fro similar reasons above, but that compared to his activity as a entrepreneur and investor, conceptualising a SINGLE technology does not seem noteworthy or significant, for a introduction title. Yet he still did conceptualise it therefore should be noted somewhere later in the introduction, like it has been. However bearing it mind it has been as 'Musk conceptualised the Hyperloop, a high speed....' in the current situation (with inventor listed as well as conceptualiser of hyperloop) this implies he has invented a device which is not the Hyperloop, this is false, and there is no evidence of such a feat.

In conclusion I ask the introduction titles to ...Canadian-American 'Business magnate and investor.' Change occupation to 'entrepreneur, businessman, investor' And change the Tesla Motors intro to one similar to that on the Tesla Motors page... 'Tesla Motors was cofounded by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, JB Straubel, Ian Wright, and Musk, however was incorporated by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003, one year prior to Musk's involvement.

Thank you Dirac740 (talk) 20:40, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Per your own comment, "After a court case, it was declared he is in fact entitled to the 'cofounder' title" your arguments are counter productive. Please read WP:NOTTRUTH. This comes down to what it says in the references which is that he is a co-founder. It does not matter what you surmize. Wikipedia requires verification which we have from the abundant number of reliable sources. As far as the request for adding the content, I believe that "Market Business News" and "Tesla Rumors" are not going to meet the threshold of being a WP:RS. Also, please do not blank sections of the talk page. It is important for other editors to see the discussions on talk pages as Wikipedia runs by consensus and as such it is useful for editors to have a full history of what is being discussed. --CNMall41 (talk) 03:23, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't think NOTTRUTH can be used to defend leaving information on the page that is verifiably untrue—it probably isn't so useful to keep linking to it in these discussions; WP:ASSERT might be more relevant here. We have plenty of reliable sources that make it pretty clear that Musk didn't found, e.g., PayPal the product, so we certainly can not leave that statement in the article. We have a few other choices: (1) we can clarify everywhere that he was a cofounder of Paypal Inc. but not the product or (2) we can just explain the history: Confinity developed Paypal, later merged with which Musk cofounded, Musk was the chairman and later CEO of the combined entity which later became PayPal, Inc., and he had an enormous role in developing the product/company or (3) <something else>? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:16, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I think (2) is probably best. CHARLIEPHILLIPS00 (talk) 19:32, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

It is not counter productive at all, i did not once day he is not a cofounder but the article is incomplete and would be misinterpreted, Market business News is a reliable source an online business newspaper, i have not deleted or vandalised the page, i have added detail, therefore improving the quality. Furthermore, just because you disagree personally with an edit is not a reason to undo the edit completely along with all my other edits, all of which have good reasons and sources! Dirac740 (talk) 11:32, 18 April 2014 (UTC)


Given Musks' controversial press history, his divorce, and other incidents shouldn't there be a controversy section on this page? Spinezzle (talk) 13:15, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

I Agree Dirac740 (talk) 19:22, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. Please include Eberhard v. Musk lawsuit over founder status and the fact that it has gone to mediation.[1] -- Eric - 20:33, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

South African American?

It should be mentioned that Musk is a South African-born American. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:23, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

It has already been mentioned that he was born in South Africa. Just because he was born there does not mean his nationality is South African. --Farquezy (talk) 01:50, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Just because he lives in America doesn't mean his nationality is American. He was born and raised in South Africa to a Canadian mother and a South African father. He is an immigrant to the United States, how does the make him more American than the other nationalities? He has citizenship in South Africa, Canada, and American. So all 3 should be mentioned, not 1 getting priority over the others, familiarise yourself with Wikipedia's Manual of Style. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:20, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Can you source that he has South African citizenship? Based on SA citizenship law, it is likely that he surrendered his citizenship by appyling for US citizenship. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Indented line I'm speaking as an immigrant myself. I am unsure about what wikipedia guidelines dictate. Can we please get some admin to clear this up? Personally speaking, I know many people, such as myself, who have dual citizenship and were raised in another country. But I would never say my nationality if of that country and I could never want to be known as a _____-America. But I shouldn't be letting personal biases get in the way. Can someone clear this up? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Farquezy (talkcontribs) 23:28, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Inventor status

'Inventor' should be removed from occupation, this implies he is inventing on a day-to-day basis. This is hugely untrue. Its not a matter of providing a source that he does't, because there would never be, its the fact that the article has failed to provide ANY source or article that states he does, or even list an invention other than hyper loop, even the esquire article that is linked, does not once call him an inventor. And even They did just mean hyper loop, which one mean it would be taken down from occupation anyway, Hypelroop has not been built, and all musk has done is conceptualise the project. You wouldn't say Leonardo da Vinci invented the helicopter, he conceptualised it. Therefore providing none can provide a list of multiple inventions, then 'inventor' should be taken of occupation, as should engineer, as there is no evidence of this also. I also think inventor should be taken off introduction titles as it is additional to 'conceptualised Hyperloop' and therefore implies he has inventor something other than conceptualising hyperloop, which is untrue and no one has provided any evidence of such a feat. it should therefore read 'Business Magnate and investor. Musk conceptualised the Hyperloop, a high speed...' Dirac740 (talk) 17:52, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

I have looked, an failed to find evidence of any invention other than hyperloop. Which as you say he merely conceptualised. I think it should be taken off occupation therefore, and probably introduction titles as they are supposed to be 'noteworthy' only. I think 'Business Magnate and investor' followed with 'Musk conceptualised the Hyperloop' as you proposed would be best. CHARLIEPHILLIPS00 (talk) 19:30, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Okay, with fear of being accused of vandalism, I will wait 24hrs for more opinions before making any edits. Dirac740 (talk) 19:36, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

You're seeking to make a pointless distinction here. Somebody invented the hyperloop. Who? You don't have to actually make a thing to invent it - having the idea is enough. Otherwise 90% of patent applications would fail because they were merely "conceptualisations". Musk could patent the thing if he wanted, which makes him the inventor. andy (talk) 21:19, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

And while I think about it, if his occupation isn't inventor because he doesn't do it every day (arguable, since he heads up a company that strives for innovation) then he's also not an investor unless he invests in something every day. This is a silly point and it sounds to me that you're very keen to do the guy down and are reaching for some pretty abstruse and scholastic arguments. andy (talk) 21:53, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

From my prospective, it just seems the article is portraying him as some ingenious inventor who has invented multiple devices. This is untrue and the actual fact is that he has merely conceptualised the Hyperloop, maybe it's just me, I don't know. Dirac740 (talk) 23:39, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Being an inventor would mean he has patents. What patents does he have? Otherwise, I thought this was a fascinating article and well sourced. (talk) 16:17, 8 May 2014 (UTC)31jetjet
Here is an Interesting news article about Musks opinion on patents!K66WM . (talk) 16:27, 8 May 2014 (UTC)31jetjet
Elon Musk actually has had several patents granted by the USPTO. See also the archived discussion here about this topic: Talk:Elon_Musk/Archive_1#Inventor?
This is IMHO an already resolved issue, so I don't know why this has been brought up again. Elon Musk has invented several things, thus the distinction of being called "an inventor" is appropriate. He shares several of these patents with presumably other employees of his, but he certainly participated in the development process and is named by the USPTO on those patents.
Perhaps the solution here is to follow the pattern I've seen on some other articles and list the patents as a separate section with reference to the ideas being invented. I assume that the USPTO counts as a reliable source here? --Robert Horning (talk) 20:37, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I would have argued that he isn't an inventor, as he only oversees development at SpaceX (unless we can verify that he invents things there) and the Hyperloop definitely isn't an invention (it's unpatentable, for one thing), but if he has patents in his name it should be a simple matter to add references. Robert? nagualdesign 00:42, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Try this link for a list of his patents:
What I'm asking for is an example for citing individual patents as some sort of list of patents. I don't see anything in WP:MOS to suggest a reasonable way to get this done, so any suggestions or examples from other articles would be recommended. The patents he has been granted relate to the work he did with both Zip2 and later on Tesla Motors. Apparently the design of the Model X gull wing doors are specifically something that the USPTO has recognized as novel enough to give Elon Musk a patent. Most of those patents are joint with other co-inventors, but his name is none the less on those patents. --Robert Horning (talk) 03:18, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Hmmm... Perhaps we need a patents specialist to look over those results. To me it looks like 3 patents for specific designs, not inventions (the person who patented Beanie Babies didn't invent the teddy bear, for example), and 4 patents for novel search engine methodologies that might be worth selling to Google/Bing (although they only represent specific ways to proverbially swing a cat, of which there are many). I don't see any inventiveness, per se, but that's just my opinion. I think you're right about finding examples from other articles. Regards, nagualdesign 18:08, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

The Oatmeal, Tesla Museum, etc.

Looks like Musk is going to donate money to help with the Tesla museum championed by The Oatmeal. I know little about the topic, but page followers might know more and are able to add it to the article. See 1 and 2. EvergreenFir (talk) 20:19, 14 May 2014 (UTC)


I think the 'Interest's' section could be moved into the 'personal life' section, with the exception of Iron Man 2 SpaceX filming which can be moved into the 'SpaceX' section.

Dirac740 (talk) 10:03, 14 April 2014 (UTC)


Why has Stanford been put under alma mater? He did not graduate from there, and attended for literally less than 48hrs, it is hardly noteworthy enough to be included on top of already being included in the early life section.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 20:23, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Elon musk salary partially unsourced

Elon Musk salary is listed as being 1$, and the source is citing that this is his salary as CEO at Tesla. But he is also CEO and CTO on SpaceX, and there is no source claiming that his salary there is 0$ for it to be true. Should I add a "citation needed" tag? Caroliano (talk) 17:09, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Good catch. I've changed the info box to specify that the $1 salary is only for Tesla.-- KeithbobTalk 17:28, 22 July 2014 (UTC)


Ongoing Debate As of April 2014

There is unresolved contention on this issue related to Tesla and PayPal. I believe Musk is a founder of both and make that case below. Looking at the London proxy server edits, I think there may be unreasonable contention to come. We'll see. I also see reasonable, credible editors who believe he is not a founder of either.

Disclaimer: I joined this debate yesterday as anonymous poster Registered this morning to pursue the debate as a registered user.

Here is my case for why we should consider Musk to be a founder of both Tesla and PayPal:

  • Tesla: I previously referenced the cnet article ([1]) that was published after the Eberhard lawsuit. In that article all five founders agreed to founding status for each.
  • PayPal: As I note below Musk founded which had the rights to the name PayPal and changed it's name to PayPal. Eric, I believe in good faith, below asserts that this indicates he was not a founder of PayPal. I believe this indicates the opposite. PayPal today was born as an amalgam of several companies. We still think of Warren Buffet as the founder of Berkshire Hathaway. That the company existed prior to his takeover is irrelevant. The company he built in that name is all him. I believe PayPal shows the same level of ownership/founding from Musk.
  • Good Faith This morning @ ~11ish GMT anon user (I believe this is a proxy server hosted at pro-net in London) removed my valid reference to the CNET article i link above. Not a crime, but let's get out of anonymous changes without explanation. I am going to put my reference back in, and I would appreciate any changes to be accompanied by reasoned arguments that address the bullets above (Tesla, PayPal) and for good faith to be demonstrated in the changes. Lovbiz (talk) 17:32, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Outside sources call him a founder/co-founder The overwhelming weight of reliable sources refer to Musk as "founder" or "co-founder" of Paypal, Tesla, and SpaceX. That should be the end of the matter per WP:NOR. Even beyond that, the objections to PayPal are odd. Many sources confirm that two companies were founded around the same time to address online payments. There's no doubt that Musk was a founder of, which later purchased a company called "Confinity." Confinity had started the "Paypal" brand (along with many others), but was not known as "Paypal." (which Musk founded and was still involved with) then renamed itself "PayPal" and became what we know today as PayPal. Musk was the founder of the company that became and the surviving legal entity.

Here's a sampling of reliable sources for PayPal:

"Better known for founding PayPal and Tesla Motors, Musk has spearheaded recent efforts to get Americans back into space."

The same goes for Tesla:

And SpaceX:

The list goes on. Long story short, an overwhelming weight of third-party sources refer to Musk as a "founder" or "co-founder" of each company. Our own personal judgments as to what constitues a "founder" are irrelevant in light of such clear outside judgment that he is such. TwinkleVain (talk) 09:54, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

The point is that this is a common mistake and has been for a while. The fact is that the company WAS NOT cofounded by Musk and he came in as a series A investor, now some may argue that that classifies him as a cofounder since he has invested a lot of his own money and time into it, but the fact is that it is the rare case of an early investor and CEO. However he came in approx. a YEAR after the company was founded, hence officially not making him a cofounder. But as Eric has said due to wikipedia's Neutral point of view it should be kept Early investor of Tesla Motors & Paypal (o keep neutral point of view) & Founder of SpaceX.

Further more this is a direct wrote from the Tesla page "Tesla Motors was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who financed the company until the Series A round of funding. Both men played active roles in the company's early development prior to Elon Musk's involvement." ....Musk then became part of the company when he became a series A investor. There should be no dispute here. He was not a cofounder of the company but instead an early investor.

Unfortunately, your logic is flawed. For Wikipedia, it is not about what we can conclude from a source, it is what the source says. You state that the company "WAS NOT cofounded by Musk" but fail to provide a reference that states such. You can find references that state he was an early investor, but you are simply concluding that he was not a co-founder as the source only stated he was an early investor. The majority of sources out there state that he is a founder or co-founder and as such this should be the content that is kept. I cannot even find a source that says there is a controversy as to whether he is a co-founder or not. As such, the co-founder language should remain in the article.
Consensus is also something that is not in your favor if you do not agree that the article should cite what the sources say. Consensus is what governs article content hence the reason for deletion discussions, talk page discussion, etc. A random check of the article's history shows that the consensus is that he is a co-founder. Here is one from 2013 which states "He founded SpaceX and co-founded PayPal and Tesla Motors." Here is one from 2012 with the information box stating co-founder of the various companies. Here is one from 2011 with the same information in the info box. So I am not sure why this is a discussion, but I believe the co-founder status has been established through consensus as well as the references that state such. To argue otherwise, I would suspect there would need to be more than random IP editors editing from proxy servers in order to overturn such consensus. --CNMall41 (talk) 01:45, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Wording "co-founder" is misleading

Hi, Elon Musk enthusasts. Going to chime back in here.

Verifiable facts from our list of sources: Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, and Luke Nosek were the three people who incorporated Confinity, and together they created the PayPal brand. Elon Musk was not on the Confinity team at the time the PayPal product was created, though he did join a year later as a result of's acquisition of Confinity. Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning were the two people who incorporated Tesla Motors. Elon Musk was not on the Tesla team when the company was created, though he did join a year later as a Series A investor. Elon Musk did incorporate (which later acquired Confinity, after the PayPal product was created) and SpaceX. Please let me know if any of these facts are under dispute.

Given the above facts, I believe the current wording ("a co-founder") is misleading, since common definitions of the word "co-founder" do not include investors and acquirers who join 1+ year after the establishment of a company. That said, it's an improvement from original description of Musk as "the founder" of these companies - which was dangerously inaccurate, as it implied sole creation, and I don't think anyone is arguing for it anymore. My preferred language has already been suggested above: "an early investor at Tesla Motors and PayPal, as well as the founder of SpaceX." But if we're willing to clarify the point in a controversy section about "Eberhard v. Musk" and Musk's attempts to manufacture a founder story, I won't object to "co-founder." -- Eric - - 21:48, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

I am glad that you used the words "verifiable" and "facts." If you familiarize yourself with WP:NOTTRUTH, you will see that you actually proved my point in different comments I have left on this talk page. It is not about what is true or not true, it is what van be VERIFIED. The term co-founder can be verified by many reliable sources and as such deserves inclusion in the article. Here is a direct quote from the policy (I used bold to emphasize the part that is the most appropriate in my view):
"Not truth: It is not good enough for information to be true, and it is definitely not good enough for you to (perhaps wrongly) believe it to be true. Wikipedia values accuracy, but it requires verifiability. You are allowed and encouraged to add material that is verifiable and true; you are absolutely prohibited from adding any material that is un-verifiable, with zero exceptions—even if the un-verifiable material is true."
So, with that in mind, there is nothing that needs "clarified." In fact, if you are referring to this lawsuit, then I am not sure what information you want clarified as the lawsuit appears to have been dropped. Regardless, the reliable sources verify that he is a co-founder. What you believe or logically conclude from connecting the dots in whatever way you want is not something that belongs in Wikipedia. Quite simply, verifiability is the trump card.--CNMall41 (talk) 00:35, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Proposed solution. It seems like there are two schools of thought here. One says that if the New York Times thinks that Musk is a "founder" of all three companies, then he is a founder of them based on WP:NOTTRUTH or because the lack of concrete standards for what constitutes a "founder" (on the incorporation papers? the next day? within a month? the surviving company or the surviving product?) mean that "founder" is a title more than an objective thing. The other thinks that there is a set of objective criteria that must be fulfilled to be considered a "founder" even if the New York Times calls him a "founder." I've made an edit to split the difference by saying that he is considered a founder by reliable sources (which is true). This acknowledges that sources like Forbes, the New York Times and the 20 others sources listed above call him "founder" of each company, but without taking a direct position on it. It's not perfect, but can we call a truce on it?TwinkleVain (talk) 08:05, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Love this, thanks Lovbiz (talk) 00:29, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that's fine by me given the multiple definitions of "founder" that seem to be going around here. I'd still like to see a Controversy section that draws attention to Musk's campaign to be called a founder (and the Eberhard ouster), with appropriate citations. Not everyone agrees that he's a "co-founder of Tesla and PayPal", and his Wikipedia page needs to reflect that. Good talk, everyone. -- Eric - - 20:20, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
That's not a bad solution. While I think he probably (probably!) doesn't qualify as one of the founders of Tesla, the situation is much more complex. I'd go so far as to say it's a matter of opinion and interpretation whether or not he could be considered a founder of paypal. He didn't create that particular product, but he was definitely a founder of the company that owned it (and it was developed by that sub-company after acquisitionmisread an ambiguous sentence on the PayPal page), so... difficult situation. It's a grey area due to the ambiguity and near meaninglessness of the word "founder".
It's kind of like wondering to yourself if Larry Page is a founder of the YouTube's Music Pass. Well, he definitely didn't found YouTube, but he did own the company when it developed Music Pass, so... yeah. Personally I think that's the wrong question to ask. Page didn't "found" Music Pass any more than Musk "founded" PayPal. He owned and ran the company that developed it, during its entire development period. But there isn't really a single word for "the guy that ran the company when it developed a product". Even "investor" falls short, as it doesn't encompass the running of the company. English needs a new word. — Gopher65talk 02:20, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I mean, did Musk "found" the Falcon Heavy? Did Henry Ford "found" the Model T? PayPal was initially a *product*, not a company. But, on the other hand, was renamed PayPal. So, if you wanted to look at it that way, Musk definitely, without any doubt, co-founded the company that became known as PayPal, regardless of whether or not he had any hand in developing the product, PayPal. Right? It's just a weird way to phrase things. — Gopher65talk 02:33, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Alright, my rambling argument with myself is over. I've decided. Musk didn't develop, the product, but that doesn't matter, since you don't found a product, you found a company. = PayPal, the company (not, the product), just renamed. Musk was a founder of, so he can be considered a founder of PayPal. I should have had this argument with myself before posting:P. — Gopher65talk 02:38, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Good Faith

I think there are two reasonable sides to this debate. I would really like for both sides to be reasonable and use absolute good faith and logic as we continue to has this out. erictj: I appreciate you looking for a reasonable compromise. I am a little worried when you are saying things like "...Musk's attempts to manufacture a founder story..." which seem pejorative to me. I believe CNMall41 is acting in good faith Let's stick to facts and reason. CNMall41, I am in agreement with you that Musk is clearly a founder of both Tesla and Paypal. I am also glad that you referenced Wikipedia policy which is what the debate should be grounded in. I am frankly a little bit confused about "verifiability" here as a "trump" in that both you and erictj are referencing seperate verifiable facts and drawing opposite conclusions. You have separate facts and you don't directly engage erictj's argument. We should. Erictj - you also avoid CNMall41's argument that the overwhelming body of sources we can refer to consider Musk to be a founder. I think we all have to, fairly, address each other's logic directly. Lovbiz (talk) 08:01, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

I have no objection to CNMall41's assertion that we can find sources that refer to Musk as a "co-founder" (most of them say "co-founder", not "the founder"). I also don't believe I'm being pejorative when I claim that Musk has attempted to manufacture a founder story. His most recent interviews (e.g. CBS 60 Minutes [2]) make no mention of the original product team and portray him as Tesla's sole creator, which is something any of us can verify as false. It's not the purpose of Wikipedia to provide another PR platform for Musk's "lone hero" media approach. We need to present objective, verifiable facts about when Musk joined the company if we want to maintain NPOV. -- Eric - - 21:05, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

I do not agree with Erictj's argument that to be a cofounder you must be present at incorporation

Erictj - keep me honest if I am mischaracterizing your argument. Looking at definitions of cofounding, there is grey area. I don't think I can find anything we could call "generally accepted" that supports your definition. I believe it's demonstrable that a founder is a founder if all the founders say they are. For example, here is a Forbes article explaining to founders how to find co-founders. [3]. I have referenced above and will again here the article specific to the Tesla lawsuit's settlement. One of the things that came out of it is that all the five founders agreed that they were all founders. The article is in cnet and is titled "Tesla Motors founders: Now there are five"[4]. I think you at least have the burden of referencing an article that in good faith can be seen as similarly definitive. I can't imagine anything more definitive than that. I think it is a smoking gun for Musk as a founder of Tesla. I don't think this is overwhelmed by the technicalities of who was present at incorporation. I don't think incorporation defines founding. But I do believe a legal agreement from a settlement can.

I do not agree with Erictj's argument that the company that first bore the brand determines what was founded

PayPal is the Ship of Theseus. I've made this argument elsewhere but it pertains directly to a point Erictj is making. Erictj, you said that because a company named PayPal was created without Musk that Musk therefore can't be the founder. I think that is a reasonable argument but I don't agree. I think it is more reasonable to acknowledge that Musk founded a company,, that then acquired a company with many assets, one of which was the brand PayPal. Musk then took that brand and and used it as the brand for the company he founded. and PayPal had significant overlap in their function. Unless there is evidence that the new company abandoned all the assets (code, contracts, etc) of and was wholly, actually, just PayPal, then we have to say that Musk was then running a company he had founded and that company was now named PayPal. I know it's Thesueusy be it's also plainly true. If we deny that Musk is a founder of PayPal then we have to say that the company he founded,, disappeared. But it didn't. That's PayPal. He founded it, acquired a company with a brand, and put that brand on the company he founded. Right? I think mine is the correct argument. I acknowledge it isn't the simplest but it seems to me to be the most true.


I think the page can definitely have a controversy section. I think it would say (perhaps among other things) that there was a lawsuit with Tesla. And I think it would note that the lawsuit ended w/ Musk as, officially, a founder.

Agreed. I support a controversy section which clearly lays out the Eberhard v. Musk lawsuit. -- Eric - - 20:30, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Disagree. The Tesla lawsuit already has a long section about lawsuits at Tesla Motors#Lawsuits and it would be redundant to duplicate it here. The suit with Eberhard was more about Eberhard's connection to Tesla than Musk -- the central contention was whether Eberhard was being given enough credit as a co-founder after his separation from the company; Musk was named but was not the focus. The Tesla page seems the best place for it.TwinkleVain (talk) 07:18, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Archived Debate Prior to April 2014

I don't understand why it says he is founder and CEO of SpaceX in the second sentence, but not Tesla Motors. Does SpaceX take precedence of tesla? [5]

Elon Musk is not a founder of Tesla Motors. He was a financier to the company in its early days.
Tesla Motors was incorporated in July, 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who financed the company until the Series A round of funding. Elon Musk led the Series A round of investment in February, 2004, joining Tesla's Board of Directors as its Chairman. (Eberhard and Musk then entered a court battle, where the ruling pushed Eberhard out of the company.)
Elon Musk is also not the founder of Paypal (though this is subject to semantic debate). He founded, a payment services company. His company acquired Cofinity, a company that operated a person-to-person payment service called PayPal. The merger gave Musk rights to the name, so he named the entire operation PayPal, which took focus on the person-to-person payment service as we know it today.
As far as I am aware, he actually did found SpaceX, though.
-- Broc
I've verified sources for Broc's notes and they are accurate.
I'm going to go ahead and make the change to "an early investor at" rather than "the founder of" the listed companies for the sake of Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. Depending on your definition of a founder, it might be accurate to call Musk "a co-founder of SpaceX, PayPal, and Tesla Motors", but in the case of both PayPal and Tesla he did arrive after the original product team. Musk made an attempt to simplify the founding story of PayPal with the "Deletion of References to Founders" clause [6] (p.42) and has also avoided public mention of the initial Tesla team[7], so keep that in mind when choosing your sources. I'm not sure if it warrants a Controversy section, but we should make a special effort to avoid portraying him as a lone wolf entrepreneur.
--EricTJ (talk) 19:22, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Eric - I think this is incorrect. ####wrong####PayPal was a renamed ###should be#### was renamed PayPal (see SEC docs: and this cnet article ( removes all contention around Tesla founders as all five agreed to agree on founder status. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:12, 12 April 2014 (UTC). Identity disclaimer: is me... as this page is in some dispute I am registering so as not to be anonymous so that I can see the dispute through to a logical/factual resolution. Lovbiz (talk) 15:50, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Paypal being renamed to (??) doesn't imply that he founded Paypal. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 18:36, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Eric I wrote it backwards. What I meant to say: - which had acquired PayPal, renamed itself as PayPal. The company included the DNA of several companies but was named PayPal. The company we know today as PayPal began as was founded by Musk. Ergo Musk founded PayPal. Much in the way that Warren Buffet founded Berkshire Hathaway. Does that make better sense?
It's misleading, though. Sure, I guess he founded the corporate entity that was for a period of time an independent company named "PayPal", but he didn't found Paypal. Paypal isn't even independent anymore; there's nothing today at least called "Paypal" that he founded, is there? I don't think Buffet is a good analogy here, and I don't think people would normally say he founded BH anyway! ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 20:52, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Actually, there is nothing misleading about it. In fact, let's look at Donald Trump instead of Buffett. He is called a magnate, real estate investor, business executive, and billionaire. If there is a source that leaves out calling him a billionaire should we remove that wording from his article? Absolutely not. So, we cannot hold on to a single reference that calls him an "early investor" without calling him a co-founder and use that as a basis to remove such from the article. Everything else is coming from people drawing conclusions from what is said in the media. Again, Wikipedia is not about our conclusion, it is about what the sources say. The overwhelming number of sources out there state that he is either an early investor, founder, or co-founder and as such all three would apply to be included in the article. So instead of concluding what PayPal was or is or could be, we simply need to stick to the sources. If stating he is a co-founder in Wikipedia is misleading, then so is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other articles from reliable sources that call him such. --CNMall41 (talk) 16:43, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

That's true, they are misleading as well. Unfortunately, news stories occasionally get details like this wrong. This is a short, important-sounding snippet that bios which are controlled by Musk tend to use: for example, or, so others copy and copy it in articles about some other aspect of Musk and it takes on a life of its own. When in doubt, we can turn to sources that are more reliable for the claim being made. I don't think you'll find any detailed or credible history of Paypal that calls him a "cofounder of Paypal". He thinks of himself that way, obviously, but it's a tough case to make when the name and brand were invented at a company that you were not yet a part of. This doesn't detract from his contribution to what Paypal is today, it's just not true that he is a cofounder. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 21:19, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree that news stories are prone to print wrong or misleading information. However, the sources provided above clearly show that the term co-founder is verifiable from reliable sources. WP:NOTTRUTH should be the guiding principle here. --CNMall41 (talk) 00:35, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Sources need to be evaluated for how reliable they are for the claim being supported. An offhand comment from a news article that used the bio from that Musk controls to describe him in background as a Paypal cofounder wouldn't be as accurate as a reliable article detailing the history of Paypal. You'd agree that one that talked about how the Paypal name, product, and first million users all happened before Musk was even a part of the company would call this into question, wouldn't you? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:28, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Musk and Paypal

There's a whole paragraph (which begins with "Musk strongly favored the PayPal brand over the X brand." that goes into how much Musk supposedly supported the PayPal branding from the beginning over The only problem is, according to The PayPal Wars, this is totally backwards. According to that book, Musk wanted everything rebranded and even after the cobranding was proving to be a failure, had to be forced to give up on it and go back to just PayPal. Kindzmarauli (talk) 18:52, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Elon Musk interview from 1999, following the sale of Zip2

Here is an interview that I had not seen mentioned previously of Musk in 1999, following the $400 million sale of Zip2, while he was working on building a new company Includes interview snippets by both investment banker Steve Jurvetson and also Justine Wilson, his then fiance, and later wife (Justine Musk). LOST: Elon Musk, Before Paypal, CNN, 1999 video interview.

Might or might not be of use to improving the Musk article, since most of the Musk sources are from the later days of Tesla and SpaceX. Cheers. N2e (talk) 19:15, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Biography profiles and interviews

Here is another Musk biography profile that might be of use in improving the article:

...and a few more recent (or recently published) interviews:

[Musk:] ‘I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary,’ he told me, ‘in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, “Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left.”’ Musk has been pushing this line – Mars colonisation as extinction insurance – for more than a decade now, but not without pushback. ‘It’s funny,’ he told me. ‘Not everyone loves humanity. Either explicitly or implicitly, some people seem to think that humans are a blight on the Earth’s surface. They say things like, “Nature is so wonderful; things are always better in the countryside where there are no people around.” They imply that humanity and civilisation are less good than their absence. But I’m not in that school,’ he said. ‘I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future.’

and this:

I asked Musk if he’d made peace with the possibility that his project could still be in its infancy, when death or infirmity forces him to pass the baton. ‘That’s what I expect will be the case,’ he said. ‘Make peace with it, of course. I’ve thought about that quite a lot. I’m trying to construct a world that maximises the probability that SpaceX continues its mission without me,’ he said. I nodded toward a cluster of frames on his wall, portraits of his five sons. ‘Will you give it to them?’ He told me he had planned to give it to an institution, or several, but now he thinks that a family influence might be stabilising. ‘I just don’t want it to be controlled by some private equity firm that would milk it for near-term revenue,’ he said. ‘That would be terrible.’ (emphasis added)

N2e (talk) 16:11, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Inventor? Engineer?

From time to time the issue crops up as to whether Musk is really an inventor and/or engineer, or just a guy with money. Interestingly enough the issue is usually raised by the same people who deny that he ever even founded any companies at all. So, for the next time we have a Musk-as-parasite discussion, can I mention Google Scholar. This search brings up a serious quantity of hits including peer reviewed articles and patents, right up to the present day. Just saying'. andy (talk) 19:33, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

I'm collapsing this post. It raises no specific points about existing or proposed text or specific sources. I'm sure it was made in good faith but it only serves to stir up emotion and controversy. It is especially inappropriate now when the group is in the midst of other controversial discussions.-- KeithbobTalk 17:22, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Well I've uncollapsed it. I placed the comment here long before the above discussion grew to its present ludicrous length with the obvious intention of being helpful by reminding editors to check Google scholar. Nothing wrong with this. It is unhelpful to make such snarky criticisms, verging on a personal attack. andy (talk) 17:51, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
I think you should assume good faith more often. If people raise a concern with an article, particularly the wording, it's probably because they genuinely think it is misleading for the reader, and do no want the reader to gain incorrect information, rather than simply trying to be 'snarky' in such a way to be 'verging on a personal attack'. DocHeuh (talk) 17:28, 25 December 2014 (UTC)
Uncollapsing is fine. But I stand by my original comment that the post is unproductive. And as I mentioned in my original comment, I believe Andy was acting in good faith so no need to make derogatory comments. Have a happy new year.-- KeithbobTalk 16:07, 31 December 2014 (UTC)-- KeithbobTalk 16:15, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Musk's pending divorce

Musk filed for dissolution of his marriage ("divorce") on Dec. 31, 2014. (The original IP edit in this regard had an edit summary with a link to the RS.) Filing for a divorce is the first step in the legal process. He remains married until the court grants the divorce. In this case, because of his wealth, the legal proceedings may take a year or more. Accordingly, it is WP:NOTCRYSTAL to say he was divorced in 2015. – S. Rich (talk) 18:19, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Chief designer or CTO of SpaceX

Is Musk the Chief designer or CTO? Any sources supposably naming him as 'Chief Designer' specifically on the SpaceX Wikipeia page link to a a broken link from the SpaceX website. Secondly, Musk labelled himself as CTO not Chief Designer yesterday in a AMA session on Reddit. His exact quote 'I am Elon Musk, CEO/CTO of a rocket company' This seems to suggest that Musk is in fact CTO not Chief Designer. DocHeuh (talk) 21:12, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

  • it looks like they've revamped their website and dropped the entire leadership page. I've replaced that broken link with an up-to-date NASA/SpaceX press release that gives his title as Chief Designer. A Google site search of for "chief designer" shows plenty more examples. I'm sure that Chief Designer and CTO are synonymous, which is why he referred to himself as CTO, but the title on his door is Chief Designer. I also found this reference where he calls himself Chief Designer when he appears before a Senate Subcommittee, I imagine it's an ego thing, invoking a comparison with you-know-who! andy (talk) 22:16, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. You're probably right. DocHeuh (talk) 18:10, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

bottom of page error

Don't know how to fix. WikiOriginal-9 (talk) 00:32, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

Hello. Could you clarify what error you are referring to? Thanks. DocHeuh (talk) 18:13, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

"Justine Musk gave a controversial interview"

(Under Personal Life)

There is a reference for Justine Musk's interview in Marie Claire, but it would be good to have a reference showing controversy surrounding it. Otherwise "controversial" looks like a weasel word. (talk) 13:24, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Good point. I can't find this controversy so I'm removing the word. andy (talk) 17:39, 17 January 2015 (UTC)