If you are first hearing about Elon Musk for the first time recently, you must not have been plugged into the world of electric cars, space, and tech industry. (Did you catch the pun?)
A question that comes up for many people is: why is he so influential in that industry?
We see how his presence and backing can make cryptocurrency and stock (specifically Tesla: TSLA) surge or fall - but what is making it happen?
Frankly, it comes down to the cult of personality a bit. Cult of personality is loosely defined as a situation in which a public figure is presented in such a way that they should be admired. When a product is tied to the personality of its creator/sponsor and less so independent in its own right, we see the fluctuations based off the popularity score, if you will, of the personality.
That being said, I think that an addendum to the cult of personality around Elon is also his passionate mission to get humans to Mars. If that's news to you, I highly recommend Ashlee Vance's biography on Elon Musk. This guy (Elon) has had a unique upbringing and mixes innovative ideas with a swindler's hustle to bring us some wild, unique, and lucrative products; from the first online banking/paypal concept, to Tesla, to SpaceX. His ultimate self-proclaimed goal is to get humans on Mars, mostly because he thinks we have jacked up Earth, possibly beyond repair.
But, he isn't the only one out there surfing the cult of personality wave in the space industry. Richard Branson, a British business magnate, runs Virgin Air and has been trying to get aircraft into space for a while. His ostentatious interactions and media profile fit the similar mold as Elon. Right now, you may still be able to buy Virgin Galactic seats for flights for zero-gravity experiences or for a trip to the moon (date to be decided).
Now, the outlier to the cult of personality in driving space and tech, but no less influential, has been Jeff Bezos. Using the success of Amazon, he funded Blue Origins, another civilian based space program. While using a different approach, he has also made headway in space flight - albeit more quietly.
As of yesterday, SpaceX has the sole contract with NASA. But, a US congressman is proposing an increase to the space budget to include Blue Origin flights. We shall see where that goes. Either way, together, all three of these men and their companies have propelled the tech and space industries. Let alone that of crypto currency.
If any of this interested you, definitely check out both the Elon Musk book recommended above or Space Barons by Christian Davenport.
If you enjoy real hard-copy books, but not the price, I recommend checking out Thriftbooks.com - I get all my books second-hand. This typically helps out smaller local bookshops and economy.
Stay safe and successful!