If you don’t know who Elon Musk is, you might have been living under a rock. The South African-born business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor is richer than Donald Trump and more of a visionary than the Dalai Lama.
Elon Musk, who brought us Tesla, The Boring Company, SpaceX, and more — now has a new venture. Elon Muskis selling flamethrowers. Yup, you read that right. Read on to find out what the heck he’s thinking.
1. Get your flamethrower here
- The flamethrowers cost $500.
Musk’s startup, The Boring Company, announced in January that it was taking preorders for flamethrowers. They were priced at $500 — and they came with a free fire extinguisher, according to The Verge.
Next: You can’t even buy one right now.
2. The flamethrowers are sold out
- Only 20,000 flamethrowers were available.
There were 4,000 initial preorders when the news broke, and by Feb.1, 2018, all 20,000 available flamethrowers were sold. You do the math. Hint: The preorders alone brought in a cool $2 million.
Next: Check out the product.
3. Picture the flamethrowers
- Unlike some of Musk’s other creations, these flamethrowers aren’t very high-tech.
The flamethrowers are simply made. They consist of actual roof torches that are strapped to Airsoft rifles. Sounds super safe, right?
Next: Flamethrowers got a funny start.
4. How they came about
- It all goes back to hats.
According to Business Insider, in December 2017, Musk tweeted that he would start selling a flamethrower if he could sell 50,000 Boring Company hats. Guess he meant what he said. His follow-up tweet said, “It’s a little off-brand, but kids love it.”
Next: Trouble ahead?
5. Musk’s idea hits a bump in the road
- Some politicians want to extinguish flamethrower sales.
Currently, there is nothing that states the flamethrowers are illegal, but California assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) plans to introduce legislation that would prevent their sale, according to Fortune. If Santiago’s bill passes it will only impact California sales of the flamethrowers but it could influence other states to follow suit.
In addition, New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to ban civilians from possessing of any sort of incendiary flame cannon. According to Musk, the flamethrowers meet all requirements for legality set by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Next: The power of social media
5. Flamethrowers: genius marketing
- A flamethrower would be handy in a crisis, Musk pointed out.
When Musk decided to release the flamethrowers, he took to Twitter to announce it. He jokingly tweeted, “When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be glad you bought a flamethrower. Works against hordes of the undead or your money back!” That certainly significantly boosted marketing efforts.
Next: So many companies, so little time
6. Musk’s other ventures
- Rockets, electric cars, and more
Musk’s portfolio of companies is mind-boggling. In 2016, he started The Boring Company, which aims to construct large networks of tunnels in major cities to fix traffic congestion issues. Musk serves as CEO of The Boring Company and Tesla, and chairman of his cousin’s company, SolarCity.
SpaceX, which he founded in 2002, built the first privately developed, liquid-fueled rocket to orbit Earth. He also has a hand in a number of other companies, including London-based DeepMind, San Francisco’s Vicarious, OpenAI, Neuralink, Surrey Satellite Technology, NeuroVigil, and online payment system Stripe.
Next: Musk — quite the earner
7. Musk’s net worth
- Musk is worth more than $20 billion.
According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Elon Musk is the No. 41 on the list of the wealthiest people in the world. And according to Money, his worth has doubled since 2017. And, according to Forbes, that figure currently exceeds $20 billion.
Next: A day in the life of Musk
8. What Musk actually does day to day
- He splits his time between Tesla and SpaceX.
Elon Musk is currently spending his work time on two major projects. For part of the week he’s in Fremont, Calif., serving as CEO of Tesla. The rest of week Musk uses his time to focus on SpaceX, which is headquartered in Los Angeles.
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