What Is Elon Musk?• https://nymag.com By Lane Brown
In January 2018, Tesla announced details of a new contract with its CEO, Elon Musk, that sounded less like an executive-compensation package and more like the premise of a game show. Under the deal, Musk would take no salary but could earn large bundles of stock options each time he raised the company's value by $50 billion. If it went up by a mere $49,999,999,999, he would leave empty-handed.
The contract's top prize could be unlocked only if the company's market cap hit $650 billion by 2028, a 13-fold increase. Tesla was bleeding so much money — it was among the most shorted stocks on Wall Street — that growing its value that significantly in a decade, or ever, seemed hopeless. The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin described the feat as "laughably impossible." And then, in December 2020, with seven years to spare, Tesla's value blew past the target, lifting Musk's personal net worth to $185 billion and making him the richest person on the planet.