But offsetting the things Musk says are the things Musk does, which deserve as much if not more attention than his bloviation. And not just his accomplishments. Musk’s resume brims with a stunner failure after another. He was fired as CEO of a company he founded. He was kicked out of PayPal, which he helped start. Six SpaceX rocket launch failed and several landings ended in explosions. You’re here almost went bankrupt during the deployment of the Model 3.
We also know that Musk perpetually overpromises on what it can deliver. He’s made broken promises on ‘fully self-driving’ Teslas, Teslas under $35,000, brain implants, Tesla semiconductors, robotaxis and a production Tesla truck, to name a few. -ones. Oh, and his “best case” scenario for manned flight to Mars is to put a man on the red planet by 2021.
Musk’s tendency to regularly shoot his mouth, fail like clockwork and overpromise like a confidence man makes predicting his future a game of cups. But he also provides plenty of evidence that beyond those flaws, when he takes huge risks, he learns from his mistakes better than anyone in business. If the past is prologue, Twitter will explode on takeoff, crash on return, and become a metaphor for a fireball once Musk gets his hands on it. Get ready.
But what will happen after Musk makes his colossal mistakes on Twitter? Insufficient attention has been paid for his ambition turn Twitter into a great app like the phenomenal success of WeChat in China, where you do banking, book trips, arrange hail rides, order food, buy things, pay bills, make appointments, send messages and manage the other details of modern life adjacent to the web. Making Twitter a great app is what Salesforce founder Marc Benioff was talking about in the text message that surfaced in ongoing litigation last week. Writes Benioff“Conversational Twitter OS – the town square for your digital life.”
Turning Twitter into your personal operating system makes sense as a business proposition. It also justifies the $44 billion that Musk has pledged to buy. As a standalone social media app, it’s not worth that kind of money (although it really wants to create a haven for free speech). If creating a super app is Musk’s intention, he must understand that few people will want to do their banking on a site associated with white supremacy. He may not choose to ban all forms of “harmful” speech, but he will have a vested interest in making Twitter acceptable to the masses as he transforms it.
But what about Donald Trump? Should we oppose and boycott Musk’s Twitter because it will mean the return of Trump’s tweets? Anxiety about the damage Trump’s Twitter account may have caused was overblown. Twitter was never Trump’s main source of power when he was president. Even without that, he could have placed his incendiary missives at the top of the fold of any newspaper, in the opening minutes of any TV news, and at the top of news sites with a press release or an interview in the driveway to the White House. Once Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account, his tweets won’t be as effective as they once were, because as a former president his words have no tangible power. The press will likely take his tweets as his own. Social truth messages, i.e. it won’t treat most of them as news.
In addition to turning Twitter into a super app, Musk will end up having less influence over its direction than he will ultimately have over it. No matter what hijinks Musk has done before, he was in danger of only alienating the 3.2 million or the owners who had bought Teslas or the scattering of companies and countries that had contracted with SpaceX to launch a satellite. Now, as the owner of Twitter, Musk will find himself in the critical crosshairs of 41.5 million monetizable daily active users (and, he hopes, many more) that he can’t afford to drive away, and he’ll be likely to temper his actions and words by running it. He didn’t buy Twitter to lose money on it.
In the coming months, pay more attention to what Musk does on Twitter and less to what he says.
And I supported Club Penguin become my digital passport. Send your furious anti-Musk messages to [email protected]. No new email alert subscriptions are honored at this time. My Twitter feed loved Animal Jam. My RSS the flow remembers Bianca’s coal shack.