Like legendary American entrepreneur Thomas Edison, Elon Musk’s path to success was also lined up with hardships and failures.
From getting rejected in companies to going bankrupt to pursue ambitions, the world’s great men — the likes of Elon Musk — have seen it all before reaching unimaginable heights. In the 20th Century, legendary American inventor and industrialist Thomas Edison ushered in the new age of electricity powered industries. Edison has been called the greatest American inventor in history. In 21st Century, it seems like Elon Musk has taken up the tag, leading the global economic and technological progress with his inventions, innovations and visions for great companies of the future. However, his road to the top was bereft with hurdles and failures. Here is the complete timeline of Elon Musk’s failures during his journey.
The Bed of Failures on which Elon Musk built his Success
1995 — Rejection from Netscape
No matter what the potential and abilities of a person be, we live in a world where a college degree matters more than anything. If you don’t believe this, here is what will ascertain the fact: Elon Musk’s job application at Netscape was rejected because there was no computer science degree and experience in his CV. The same guy later went on to become the CEO and founder of some of the most innovative and successful companies that the world has ever witnessed.
1992 — Removed from CEO position from his own company Zip2
Elon Musk founded Zip2 in 1995 and served as the CEO of the company for a year when in 1996, the Board of Directors ousted him from the position. They held Musk’s inexperience and difference of thoughts in operational matters responsible for the big step. However, Elon still remained on the board of directors and received $22 million on the acquisition of the company by Compaq.
1999 — PayPal product rated as top 10 worst ideas
Elon Musk was the CEO of PayPal in 1999 when the first-ever product of PayPal was declared as one of the worst ideas ever. Though the product was not directly created by Musk, he still was responsible for the leadership.
2000 — Ousted from the position of CEO, PayPal
It happened again with Elon Musk. This time the board decided to remove him from the position of the CEO of PayPal. You know what hurt more? He was on his honeymoon when he received the news.
2001 — Failed attempt to procure Russian Ballistic Rockets for Space Missions
The idea to form SpaceX wasn’t first-hand. It was the result of a reality-check that Elon Musk received when he set out to meet Russians to buy rockets for his venture. He discovered that the ballistic rockets were not only expensive, but the Russians weren’t easy to do business with. He recalls, one Russian whom he met to buy the rocket, even spat on him. But that’s when he decided to not buy, but create his own rockets that will be cost-effective and reusable.
2006-2008 — Multiple SpaceX Launch Failures
After the foundation of SpaceX, the first rocket to be launched in 2006, not just failed after 33 seconds of lift-off, it exploded. This was just the beginning of the series of SpaceX failures. In 2007, it happened again when after the launch, the engine of the rocket failed prematurely and didn’t reach orbit.
One of the biggest setbacks happened in 2008 when Spacex didn’t go down alone, NASA was onboard too. Two of the Spacex rocket stages separated and then collided against each other, resulting in the craft spinning uncontrollably. This was the failure that almost wrote the end of SpaceX. By then, the company was bankrupt and had no resources left to continue. Fortunately, NASA signed a contract worth $1 billion with Spacex two days before Christmas, reviving the company once again.
Watch: Musk talks about his biggest failures in life
2013 — The first rocket that was successfully launched, failed
SpaceX was finally successful in the rocket launch but the Dragon spacecraft suffered failure in the orbit.
2014 — Tesla Model S battery explosion
Not just one but multiple cases of explosion in the battery of Tesla Model S were registered, negatively affecting the brand value of Tesla.
2015 — Rocket launch explosion
The fourth rocket launched by Spacex vaporized moments after the launch when NASA payloads were onboard for the International Space Station.
2016 — Tesla Model X Delay
The world was waiting for the launch of the Model X of Tesla. However, the product was delayed by 18 months.
2016 — Rocket explosion, again.
This was the fifth rocket by SpaceX that exploded. But since then, SpaceX has had successful missions to the ISS and bigger partnerships with NASA are underway.