Musk chose to squander his PayPal fortune on two Quixotic endeavors: an electric car company and a rocket company. He famously told 60 Minutes that he figured Tesla would fail. He said the same thing about SpaceX at the 2013 D11 Conference*. So why did he bother with either? The urgency. He saw mankind complacently painting itself into a corner in two ways:
1. Transportation industry: Destroying the planet’s atmosphere AND depleting a finite fuel source to do it — a double-shot of stupid.
2. Space industry: Ignoring the potential for Mars to become a backup Earth in case of an “extinction event” here.
Soon after a successful launch of Tesla’s gen III car circa 2017, Musk will deem Tesla a success and will hand off the baton, satisfied with the snowballing momentum. Free of Tesla’s daily minutia, Musk will throw all of his mental might at SpaceX, which currently shuttles cargo to the Space Station and installs satellites merely to pay the bills. The real goal is colonizing Mars. Musk seeks to personally set foot on Mars while he’s still in his 50s**, given the physical rigors required. Math alert: 2019, he will turn 48 . . .
* Go to 1:03.00
** Go to 1:15.00