Updated: Apr 25
Thirty-nine years later, Musk has parlayed that $500 into a fortune estimated to be worth $273 billion!
That total making the founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX Musk the world’s richest person.
Musk’s fortune is so vast that recently, when a poll he tweeted showed that than 70% of users felt that Twitter does not “rigorously adhere to principals of free speech,” he offered to buy the social media platform for $43 billion.
And though $43 billions seems like a lot of cash to have laying around, the 51-year-old South African has the dollars to spare. Musk’s net worth has increased nearly 1,000% since the beginning of the pandemic.
But it’s not Musk’s acuity as an investor which put him at the top of the list of the planet’s 2,662 billionaires. Musk known more as a great inventor than investor and his remarkable ability to understand and design solutions to industries’ most complex challenges.
At Tesla, in addition to acting as the company’s CEO Musk leads the product design team in their effort to deliver on his promise to make gasoline and drivers obsolete!
At SpaceX, Musk is both CEO and chief designer responsible for both envisioning and manufacturing the rockets which will launch his Starlink satellites into orbit.
And the spaceships which Musk intends to use to colonize Mars by the year 2030.
Musk finds fortune in expanding existing technologies beyond their current capabilities as the automaker did in designing the batteries which make his electric cars possible.
And in creating new technologies!
Such as the Artificial Intelligence or AI, which makes Musk’s Tesla the leader in self-driving technology.
When Benjamin and Robert Moore began making paint in Brooklyn in 1883, they did so by blending similar raw materials which current Benjamin Moore & Co. CEO #DanCalkins keeps on hand today at THE company’s five manufacturing facilities.
To wit; resins distilled from petroleum, blended with earthen pigments, primarily titanium dioxide (TiO2), ground from rocks and metals mined from the earth’s surface.
Meaning that despite enormous advances in technology and science over the last two-centuries, the raw materials used to make paint remain primarily unchanged since the early days of the Industrial Revolution.
What Would Elon Do?
While preferred by most paint manufacturers, petroleum-based resins are not needed to make paint. Milk, egg yolks, plant and animal waxes as well as naturally occurring oils were all replaced as paint resins by the acrylics, esters, thanes and amines in use today.
And while most paint manufacturers would tell you that TiO2 is irreplaceable in the paint making process, they told Musk the same thing about gasoline and drivers!
But desperate shortages and ballistic inflation caused by turbulence in the petroleum and TiO2 markets should be a flare in the night sky warning paint makers to end dependence on the carbon footprint-heavy, capital intensive, time consuming to bring to market and non-renewable resources as feed stock to your manufacturing processes.
It’s easy to understand why paint manufacturers desire the status quo. They have vast fortunes invested in the manufacture of coatings using current resin and pigment packages and supply chains. And the effort required to out-think the problem of petrochemical and titanium dependence will costs tens if-not hundreds of millions of dollars to resolve.
And for what benefit to them? They're all setting records for earnings despite the challenges of today's market conditions.
But in a world which can change in a tweet, what stops the world's richest man from bringing his vision to the world of paint manufacturing by tweeting the question which is on everybody's minds: “How much should a can of paint cost?”