First, in news that brought joy in Mudville--actually, Fremont, Calif., and much of surrounding Bay Area, Toyota announced that the company will be investing in Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk’s electric vehicle startup, Tesla Motors, and selling NUMMI’s recently shuttered Fremont manufacturing plant to Tesla.
Then Musk’s other current venture, SpaceX, successfully launched its first Falcon 9 rocket into orbit. This was a key step on the way to the company’s plan to make money carrying cargo into space, but wasn’t necessarily expected to go so perfectly on the first attempt, first launches often fail.
And Musk is featured in the current hit movie, Ironman 2. The main character, genius billionaire/superhero Tony Stark is at least partially based on Musk, and Musk himself appears on screen briefly as an entrepreneur pitching his startup idea. The filmmakers even shot some scenes at the SpaceX headquarters.
So far, Musk is a guy whose dreams are coming true—dreams he told Spectrum about last year. (You can listen to that discussion here.)
Of course, nobody’s life is perfect, and Musk is reportedly out of cash (with the fortune he made on Paypal locked up in his current startups) and couch surfing. But, in a way, he’s following in the footsteps of Steve Jobs, who, in the early days of his now legendary career was also known to ignore the home front—when Apple was in the process of going public, Jobs slept on a mattress on the floor of a barely furnished house in Los Gatos; he later bought a house in Woodside but, in the throes of building Next and Pixar, never really furnished that house either; people who attended meetings sprawled on bare floors.
And those aren't bad footsteps to follow.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.