But he wasn't always such a media darling.
At one point, the lack of attention made him feel "incredibly insulted, " as evidenced by emails he sent to Tesla employees in 2006.
Musk was so affected by the lack of recognition that he threatened to fire a senior member of the Tesla team if he didn't get him more press.
To understand why he was so upset, let's go back in time.
He founded SpaceX and also started investing, most notably leading the 2004 Series A round for electric car company Tesla Motors, founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Musk came on as chairman of the board.
The company stayed in stealth mode until 2006. That July, it came out of hiding. Tesla invited some 350 high-status people to a debut party for the Tesla Roadster in an aircraft hangar in Santa Monica, California.
Michael Eisner, Ed Begley Jr, and then-governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger all came out to take a test drive in a prototype of the Tesla Roadster, the high-performance electric car that would become the startup automaker's flagship vehicle.
Back then, Eberhard was the face of the company, and he did dozens of interviews at the Roadster reveal.
You can see it in the emails Musk sent to members of the Tesla team, pasted from court documents below.
he would "like to talk with every major publication within reason."
The way that my role as been portrayed to date, where I am referred to merely as "an early investor" is outrageous. That would be like Martin [Eberhard] being called an "early employee."
Apart from me leading the Series A & B and co-leading the Series C, my influence on the car itself runs from the headlights to the styling to the door sill to the trunk, and my strong interest in electric transport predates Tesla by a decade. Martin should certainly be the front and center guy, but the portrayal of my role to date has been incredibly insulting.
I'm not blaming you or others at Tesla — the media is difficult to control. However, we need to make a serious effort to correct this perception.
Two days later, the New York Times published its report of the Tesla debut party, which in its original form referred to Eberhard as the chairman of the company and left Musk out entirely.
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