Elon Musk launched the head of the Yellow Pages before the internet boom

In 1995, just before the dot-com bubble began, Elon Musk believed that “the internet was definitely on the verge of becoming a supernova,” he recalls in the Third Row Tesla podcast in January.

And as a result, Elon decided to create a web start-up called Zip2, with which he and his brother Kimbal Musk aimed to create an online version of the Yellow Pages phone book (which was a real book at the time. ). Zip2 made business directory data searchable and mapped, so users could get door-to-door directions to businesses.

The brothers had partnered with newspapers (listing online classifieds and things like that) to generate income, but they wanted to grow the business by partnering with the Yellow Pages.

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“I remember talking to the head of the [company] who owned the yellow pages [in Canada]”Kimbal said on the Third Row Tesla podcast.” We said, ‘We want to partner with you. Let us be one of your partners in bringing the Yellow Pages online.’

“And [the executive] picked up the Yellow Pages – this book, this big thick book full of ads, this risky multibillion dollar industry – and threw it at me and said, “You never thought you were going to replace it.” that ? “”

But the response was typical at the time, as “most businesses didn’t know what the Internet was” at the time, Elon said on the podcast. “Most people didn’t have an email address or had never been online.”

Maye Musk tweets a photo of her, Kimbal & Elon on Zip2.

“At that time, very few people were on the Internet [business], so it was really a question of “is the internet going to be successful?” “Which we believed in a lot, and these guys weren’t.”

When Elon and Kimbal were trying to get funding or partner with other companies, they were forced to explain the Internet.

“We said, ‘Look, this costs very little. You will still own all content and everything. And they just threw us out of the office, [saying] ‘No. How dare you even suggest that, ”Elon said.

“And we were like ‘OK, I guess we’ll just build it.'”

Zip2 ultimately conquered the New York Times, Knight Ridder and Hearst Corporation, who not only partnered with Zip2, but together invested a total of $ 50 million in the business, according to Ashlee Vance’s book, “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a fantastic future. “

In 1999, Elon and Kimbal would have sold Zip2 for around $ 300 million and Elon used that money for a second start-up X.com, which later became PayPal. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $ 1.5 billion.

Elon then started SpaceX in 2002, and became a Tesla investor in 2004 and CEO in 2008. In 2016, he founded Neuralink and a year later, he created The Boring Company.

In 2004, Kimbal changed industries and co-founded The Kitchen Restaurant Group, which owns three farm-to-table restaurant chains: Next Door, The Kitchen and Hedge Row. He also owns the Square Roots indoor farming company and started the Big Green Foundation, which teaches farming to kids.

Kimbal has invested and sits on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX.

Today, Elon Musk is worth $ 34.2 billion, according to Forbes.

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Calvin W. Soper

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