Zip 2 and X.com Startups | Elon Week
Zip 2 and X.com
Elon after Pennsylvania, moved on to Stanford university, where he dropped out just after 2 days to become part of internet boom. His first being Zip2. A Google Map of that time. THough it not being as advanced as Google Maps, it was great for that time.
Elon himself told, “At Zip2, I wrote entire V1 of software for drawing vector maps & calculating point to point directions anywhere in US (first ever company to do so), as well as white pages & business listings w reviews (an early Yelp). Also wrote V1 of classifieds, autotrading & real estate apps.” He further said, “Zip2 also built a newspaper publishing platform that brought hundreds of regional & city papers online for the first time, and made major functionality advancements to the NY Times, Boston Globe & Knight-Ridder websites. NYT, KR & Hearst were all major investors in Zip2.”
There were many difficulties faced on management end also. Internet being new concept it was difficult for pursuing businesses to get listed. They had to keep site live during day and they coded at night. Initially when they shifted to a new office, they didn’t even have internet connection for few days, till one of their known cabled it to them without permission of the provider.
Despite their difficulties they were far ahead their competition. There hard work was tremendous, and Elon many a times used to re-write a code of his team, just because he though that was the better way. These features allowed to be sold to Compaq for $307 million. Elon and Kimbal netted $22 million and $15 million respectively.
The cash he netted was used by Elon to reward himself with McLaren F1. He bought it and unlike others who keep supercars for special occasions, he drove it in streets. He few days after buying it was on a highway when he lost car’s control and met with accident, and car was wrecked. This didn’t matter to newly made millionaire and he bought another McLaren F1
They used it to fund X.com, if you have not heard it today it runs in the name of PayPal, now you know it. Elon started X.com to allow people send their money over internet or email. The brand was renamed PayPal
They merged with a company called confinity, and Musk became CEO. Though soon he was removed to make Peter Thiel co-founder of Confinity the CEO.
He was still the largest Shareholder of the brand, and when Ebay acquired PayPal, for $1.5B, he gained $165 Million from the deal.
Sitting on pile of $165 million, he wondered what he could use it for…
“The People Who Love The Journey, Are The Ones That Reach The Most Beautiful Destinations”