Answer by Alex Lightman:
Because Quora is filled with smart people who want to get smarter about things that matter, and one of the smartest things you can do is to understand who, what, where, how and why of people who are doing amazing things over and over, and, with respect to Elon Musk, only a teeny tiny fraction of what he is doing or how he got to where he is has been documented in a way that can be easily found by Googling.
Because's he's the 100th richest man in the world, worth $12 billion, according to the recent Forbes issue.
Because he earned it by creating and/or funding companies that are interesting to most high tech college educated people, like the company that became PayPal, SolarCity, SpaceX, and Tesla.
Because Elon Musk is part of the famous "PayPal Mafia" that is changing the world, along with Peter Thiel, the first investor in Facebook, and we marvel and wonder at what they know and how well they get along.
Because Elon Musk gives away multi-billion dollar ideas like Hyperloop for free and we wonder how to take advantage of billion dollar ideas that billionaires are giving away for free.
Because he didn't have much money in college and it wasn't just handed to him (look at all the interest in Donald Trump, who inherited it, and just slaps his name on buildings for 10% – possibly the most boring and useless business life imaginable).
Because Musk takes technical risks, like putting all his liquid wealth into rockets that blow up once, twice, three times, before a nail-biting success on the fourth launch.
Because he takes political and business risks, like challenging the overly cozy rocket launch business that gets all the US government business without even a fraction of SpaceX's ass-kicking innovation, or seeking to step in where NASA has been too slow and too weak to go, and get us an exciting space program. Which is more interesting – a space program that takes us to live on other planets, or one that focuses on putting up satellites around earth?
Because Elon Musk is the first and so far only person to articulate a clear achievable plan for making it affordable ($500,000) for millions of people to sell their homes on Earth and to go to Mars, and thereby back up the biosphere, just in case one of those two dozen or so extinction events hits humanity, like a gamma ray burst, nuclear winter, unstoppable global warming, or a bioweaponry incident that kills everyone on earth.
Because we were told by the director of the Iron Man movies, which have generated billions of dollars and are wildly popular, as well as by the actor who plays Tony Stark, Robert Downey, Jr., that the real life model for Tony Stark's character is Elon Musk, and SpaceX's factory in Hawthorne was used by Whiplash to build all those war droids.
Because Elon Musk is taking on the oil companies and traditional auto companies, as well as Google, with Tesla electric vehicles that will soon be self-driving, and doing it in a very bad-ass way…by opening up Tesla's patents to his competitors. Now, when was the last time you heard of a billionaire doing that? When did Edison, J. P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Gordon Moore at Intel, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Irwin Jacobs at Qualcomm, or any technology titans ever do that? Never. Why did Musk do that? Well, the mainstream press didn't give us the inside story, so we have to keep asking on Quora.
Because Elon Musk's companies are all losing money, except for SpaceX, and Tesla has had to restate earnings, and we wonder whether this is a feature or a bug, and whether we should worry whether he's going to make his goals are not. It's exciting!
Because the stakes involved are spectacularly large. How large? The energy market is $8 trillion (yes, a trillion, a thousand billion) and the transportation market is $4 trillion a year. Elon Musk is the person who is taking on both these markets via the triple threat of 1. the top rated electric vehicles, 2. solar photovoltaics (and the gigafactory for them being built in Buffalo, New York, instead of conceding this market to China), and 3. batteries (and the gigafactory being built outside Reno, Nevada, which will allow the Tesla EVs to be less expensive, and then get recycled and allow homes to be able to get off the grid by being able to store up the sunshine and be usable 24/7/365. And note that this battery gigafactory will build batteries using solar energy! Amazing!)
Look at how much Uber has done just by disrupting taxis. What Elon Musk is doing is disrupting a market hundreds of times larger. No one has ever disrupted $12 trillion in annual revenue. In history. It's a very very very big deal.
I could go on at length for the reasons. Quora is for the questions that don't get answered other places, so if Quorans weren't asking lots of questions about Elon Musk, then it would mean that the zombies had won, and taken over the world.