Lists & Rankings

Winners & Losers 2013: Dear diary, it’s me, Elon

A year in the life of Elon Musk, super genius

He’s the mad scientist who launched PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. In his free time, he dreams up schemes to solve traffic gridlock. What makes Elon Musk’s wildly inventive mind tick? Read on:


January 1

Business idea: Launch HangoverPal, a company that markets a wearable artificial liver (wristwatch? helmet? glittering unitard?) that filters ethanol out of the bloodstream.

February 7

Eureka moment: while watching carp in fish tank at Chinese restaurant, come up with solution to cold fusion. Over fried rice, ponder post-global-warming future of cheap and limitless clean energy.


February 8

Disaster! New York Times rips Tesla S in scathing review—car winds up on back of tow truck with dead batteries. Idea: Use 0.5% of net worth to purchase New York Times and shut it down.

February 10

Due to rage caused by New York Times review, forget solution to cold-water fusion. Note to self: invent anger-channelling robot that punches wall in frustration.

June 14

Jubilation! SpaceX Grasshopper, my vertical-takeoff–vertical-landing vehicle, achieves highest ever flight and returns to rocket pad for precision landing. While popping bubbly, consider possibility of champagne cork that returns to partially drunk champagne bottle for precision landing.


August 12

Publish alpha design for world’s first Hyperloop: high-speed transport that’s a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table. While calculating partial vacuum coefficient, ponder why air hockey is so much less violent than traditional hockey.

November 21

Solar City becomes first ever company to sell bonds backed by solar energy panels. Sell $54 million in first week. Wonder: Is it me or is this whole saving-humanity-from-itself thing, like, stupid easy?


November 25

Career objective No. 743 realized as SpaceX enters commercial satellite market with planned launch of satellite into geosynchronous orbit from Falcon 9 rocket. Look in mirror and for first time think: Bond villain?

December 24

While showering get struck by lightning bolt of insight: invent soap that dangles from small rope looped around shower faucet.


December 25

Receive soap-on-a-rope from son for Christmas. Berate self for not patenting idea sooner.

December 31

Still fuming over soap-on-a-rope debacle, curse self for not launching HangoverPal or self-landing champagne cork. Decide 2013 was a wasted year of squandered ideas and missed opportunity. New Year’s resolution for 2014: try to get something done for a change.