There are billionaires and there are eccentric billionaires, and then there is Elon Musk. The self-made South African entrepreneur who created Tesla Motors, Space X and SolarCity, is a rough-and-tumble individualist who doesn’t bow down or curb his opinion on anything. That kind of brash outspokenness, has made Musk one of the most talked-about billionaires in the world, and his brand of by-the-seat-of-your-pants management has captured the world’s attention. Here are some of the reasons Musk is the most interesting, coolest, badass CEO on the planet.


He’s Self-Made


Everyone loves a good up-by-your-bootstraps story, and Musk delivers. This is a man who was born in South Africa, but felt he needed to leave to claim his destiny. He first sought his fame and fortune in Canada, then ended up where many self-made success stories find their footing, the United States. The fact that Musk wasn’t born into a family of wealth is inspiring, and shows that hard work, determination and a willingness to believe in yourself no matter the obstacles, are still the prime ingredients for upward mobility.


He Co-Founded PayPal


How cool do you have to be to think about something as useful as PayPal, then make it come true? Musk first made his bones with PayPal, the payment and shopping tool that has revolutionized digital merchandising. PayPal is cool because it lets you have a bank account, without having to pay bank fees. Its instant transfers and payments are second to none, and it has become a verb, which is always the sign of world domination. “I’ll PayPal you,” is almost as ubiquitous as “Google me.”