Elon Musk talks about first job hunt

Musk started his first company, Zip2, after being snubbed by internet firm Netscape in 1995

Elon Musk is best known for his work as the chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla, but it turns out creating his own company wasn't always his original plan. 

According to a Twitter user Pranay Pathole, Musk originally applied to work at internet firm Netscape in 1995. The Pathole said Musk "sent his resume, tried hanging out in their lobby, but he was too shy to talk to anyone."

"So he started his own Internet company (Zip2) as he wasn't able to get a job anywhere," Pathole added. 

Musk confirmed the story, with the one clarification that he "could get a job, just not at an internet company (weren't many back then)."

Musk's reply received over 60,000 likes and 1,000 comments, including one user who supportively said "moral of the story: You gotta be shy to have a huge success" while another added "Now I bet they wish they hired you."


Musk's run with Zip2 lasted for four years, after computer company Compaq proceeded to purchase the technology company for roughly $305 million in 1999. Following the Zip2 acquisition, Musk co-founded PayPal, which was acquired by eBay in July 2002 for $1.5 billion. He then founded SpaceX in 2002, which nearly went bankrupt trying to get off the ground. 

"A lot of people really only heard of SpaceX relatively recently, they may think Falcon 9 and Dragon just instantly appeared and that’s how it always was. But it wasn’t," Musk told the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) conference in Adelaide, Australia, in 2017. "I messed up the first three launches. The first three launches failed. And fortunately, the fourth launch — which was, that was the last money that we had for Falcon 1 — that fourth launch worked. Or it would have been — that would have been it for SpaceX. But fate liked us that day. So, the fourth launch worked." 

Since then, SpaceX has reached a valuation of roughly $74 billion, according to reports. In addition to the development of SpaceX's Starship prototype, which will be used by NASA to bring astronauts back to the Moon and is expected to bring the first passengers to Mars as early as 2026, the aerospace company is planning to launch a global satellite internet service called Starlink, which is expected to offer global coverage sometime next year. 

In addition, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will transport the NASA's Crew 2 team to the International Space Station on Thursday and help launch the world's first all civilian mission to orbit Earth, Inspiration4, in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company has also lined up space tourism partnerships with Space Adventures in 2021 and Axiom Space in 2022, and will conduct the first-ever private commercial space trip to the Moon, dubbed dearMoon, in 2023.


In 2004, Musk invested $6.3 million in startup Tesla Motors, according to Wired. However, like SpaceX, the company had to fight to avoid going bankrupt by securing an additional $40 million in funding in 2008.

"That funding round completed 6pm on Christmas Eve in 2008. Last hour of last day possible, as investors were leaving town that night & we were 3 days away from bankruptcy," Musk tweeted in November. "I put in all money I had, didn’t own a house & had to borrow money from friends to pay rent. Difficult time."

He acknowledged in a separate tweets that it would've been "certain death" for Tesla had he not invested everything that he had and that, even with the additional funding, the electric automaker was nearly a month away from bankruptcy when it first brought the Model S to production.

But Tesla persevered and went public in 2010, and since then the company's shares have seen a meteoric rise, with the stock up more than 700% in the past year alone.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA INC. 190.41 -1.81 -0.94%

Now, the electric vehicle manufacturer is working on its second Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, which will be used to produce Tesla's Cybertruck pickup and serve as an additional U.S. manufacturing site for the company's Model Y small SUV, largely for distribution to the East Coast. In its latest quarter, Tesla delivered nearly 185,000 vehicles, citing a strong reception for its latest Model Y, S, and X vehicles.


In addition to Netscape, Pathole revealed in a tweet last week that Musk worked at a Palo Alto video game company, where he "wrote a multitasker for PC in C++ which could basically read video from a CD while running a game at the same time."

"The name of that videogame company was Rocket Science," Pathole added. "Fate loves irony."

"True. Ancient times," Musk replied. "Had to flip CPU registers explicitly, as computer was so slow."

Today, Musk sits at the top of Forbes' annual Billionaire list, trailing only behind Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. As of March 5, Musk had a fortune of about $151 billion, according to the media company.