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10 interesting facts about SA tech gurus, Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

10 interesting facts about SA tech gurus, Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth


10 interesting facts about SA tech gurus, Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworthhen it comes to technology, there’s always something new on the horizon, and we at Auto & General can’t help but wait and wonder what technological marvels are coming next.

While we wait, we enjoy learning about the key players in the field of technology. Two such players hail straight from South Africa, and they have made ground-breaking inventions and contributed to quite a few ‘first’ for both South Africa and the world at large.

The billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has become one of the richest and most prolific people in tech, and he has his sights set on changing the way we live, from Tesla’s electric cars to his dream of colonizing Mars. His background, fittingly, is full of surprising and unexpected turns.

Mark Shuttleworth’s love of technology, innovation, change and space flight resulted in him being the first African in space in 2002. Since then, he has been an active member of the Ubuntu community, working to create a universal, freely available high quality desktop software environment for everyone.

Here are 10 things interesting facts about South African-born Tesla founder, Elon Musk, and the very first African to go to space, Mark Shuttleworth:

Elon Musk

  1. When Musk was a child, he would often gaze into the distance while his parents were speaking to him, which led them to believe that he might be deaf. Doctors removed his adenoids, but it made no difference. It turned out he was just daydreaming. 
  2. He wrote and sold a video game when he was just 12 years old. It was called Blastar, and Musk received $500 in 1984 when its source code was published in the South African magazine PC and Office Technology.
  3. Musk enrolled at Stanford University to study physics in 1995, but dropped out within two days to found Zip2, a company that provided maps and directories to online newspapers.
  4. While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk would throw house parties and charge a cover fee of $5 to help him pay his rent. 
  5. He owns one of James Bond’s cars. In 2013, Musk spent $866,000 in an auction for the Lotus Esprit submarine car from the 007 film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). 

Mark Shuttleworth

Here are 5 interesting facts about this extraordinary entrepreneur:

  1. Shuttleworth created Thawte, a company specialising in digital certificates and cryptography, when he was only 22 from his garage in Cape Town. The firm went on to produce the first-ever full-security encrypted e-commerce web server that was commercially available outside of the United States, before he sold the company in 1999.
  2. He obtained a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Finance and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town. As a student, he became involved in the installation of the first residential internet connections at the university.
  3. Shuttleworth is the second self-funded space tourist in the world. He paid $20 million and trained for a year, with much of that time spent in Russia, before joining the Soyuz TM-34 crew that visited the International Space Station in 2002.
  4. After years of careful consideration Mark decided to remain childless. His decision not to father any children was a personal lifestyle choice. Put simply, parenthood would restrict his ability to undertake the many other activities he loves.
  5. The South African businessman owns a private jet which has a dragon emblazoned on the side of the plane which he calls Norman, the HBD Venture Capital mascot.

Just like Musk and Shuttleworth’s influence in the tech industry, Auto & general has been an influential player in the short-term insurance industry, displaying tremendous growth over the 32 years since its inception. Over the years, Auto & General has introduced a number of firsts in South Africa; such as the launch of paperless insurance in 1986 when the trend was unheard of in our line of insurance.

Because we understand that in today’s age, great customer service often goes hand-in-hand with technology, we have tailored our products and offerings to suit everyday South Africans as well as businesses. Read more about how we can better your life with our insurance products today.

Information obtained from:

Infographic: Elon Musk - Profile of a prolific entrepreneur
Mark Shuttleworth
Elon Musk - 10 things you didn't know
12 things you didn't know about the South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth

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