Some of them are eccentric, some conventional in style and others extremely humble and low profiled, but none come close to matching Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.
The South African-born entrepreneur has been present on the tech horizon for a good 15 years now, during which time he has managed to set himself apart from his competition. Let's see what this 42-year-old has that other tech leaders don't.
Investing In Dreams
While he made his initial money through typical online companies like Zip2 and PayPal, Musk has since changed his entrepreneurial directions completely. He now spends his time investing and perfecting technologies that once seemed an idea out of science fiction movies. High-speed trains that can outrun airplanes, space transport services, electric cars and solar energy solutions are just some of the futuristic technologies his companies are working on.
Musk made headlines on June 12, 2014, by making his company's technology patents free for all to use in order to entice rival automakers into making more electric cars. Open-sourcing of patent rights of such a high-end product is an extremely rare move, if not unprecedented.
$1 Annual Salary
Musk holds multiple positions in both Tesla Motors as well as SpaceX. Even though both are his own companies, he should be getting paid at least a couple of million dollars each year for the services he renders. Instead, his remuneration stands at a nominal $1 per year.
Suing The U.S. Government
Musk is one of those rare personalities who took the U.S. government to court. Even those with more money and resources than him don't take such risks, but our man Elon is nothing like the rest.
Reviving A Great Forgotten Hero
The entire world knows the great American inventor Thomas Edison, but rarely does anyone remember the guy who masterminded so many of his great inventions. Nikola Tesla was that man. The Serbian-American physicist was the brains behind several technologies for which Edison took credit.
Tesla also took the task of improving Edison's inefficient motor and generators for the promise of getting paid $50,000. He successfully did what was promised, but when the time for payment came, Edison allegedly told him: "Tesla, you don't understand our American humor."
Musk's naming of his company after Tesla is a tribute to a great futuristic inventor who never got the recognition he deserved and whose work fell into relative obscurity after his death.
Henry Ford Of This Generation
Henry Ford is credited for transforming automobiles from an expensive curiosity into an affordable form of conveyance. Musk could do the same for electric cars.
Concerns For Environment
Musk's real drive for making electric cars comes from his concerns for environmental pollution and the depletion of the Earth's energy reserves.
The Giving Pledge
In 2012, Musk joined the Giving Pledge – a campaign that encourages the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. It means that Musk's $12 billion personal assets will be dedicated to charities once his spirit departs his body.
Inspiration For Iron Man
Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. have both admitted that they based the superhero Tony Stark on Musk's personality to make the character seem more real.