One word, one gesture and the business world ignites. Elon Musk has become the most influential entrepreneur of his generation.
His actions are scrutinized, his words analyzed, his publications on social networks are read and repeated as the word of the gospel. Elon Musk has gone from being a whimsical entrepreneur to that of a visionary, or even an oracle. Gone are the days when the founder of Tesla and SpaceX was considered an original. Now every word he says or writes has a direct consequence.
Latest example: when, a few days ago, he changed his biography on Twitter to the simple expression “#bitcoin”, the price of cryptocurrency soars instantly by around 20%. Before that, other lucky ones saw theeur action climb following a tweet from the whimsical entrepreneur: a Polish game publisher, the e-commerce platform Shopify or the small designer site Etsy, who apparently delighted Elon Musk with a hand-knitted hat for his dog.
On Sunday, the leader of Tesla and SpaceX achieved one of his latest stunts of which he has the secret by interviewing himself on Clubhouse – a new social network accessible only by invitation – the boss of the online broker Robinhood. The latter is in the hot seat for his management of the GameStop affair, a chain of video game stores whose share has recently soared and is shaking hedge funds. No one had managed to get him to speak since the scandal began. His intervention on the network blew up the course of Clubhouse Media Group, which in fact has absolutely nothing to do with the new social network. It can’t work every time.
Elon Musk announced on Tuesday his intention to “withdraw for a while” from Twitter.
Bye bye Twitter
All these influencing actions have one thing in common: social networks and more particularly Twitter. Elon Musk is mistaken for an influencer who would be paid for a positive post on a brand, who hopes to expand his community of followers. Except that here and until proven guilty, Musk is not paid. On the other hand, the consequences of his influence begin to be felt heavily and cringe. So that Elon Musk announced on Tuesday his intention to “withdraw for a while” from Twitter. Perhaps out of fear of potential legal consequences or because he is slowly realizing the influence he has.
In the past his escapades have already caused him some trouble, in particular with the American policeman of the financial markets who accused him in 2018 ofdeceiving investors by mentioning in a tweet a possible withdrawal from the stock market of Tesla. This message had forced him to step down as chairman of Tesla’s board of directors.
“Papa Musk” is the richest man in the world, but that title clearly turns him on less than the influence and power he now holds.
A daring that seduces
Musk has always cultivated his megalomaniac side and loves his newfound power of posting a single word to skyrocket the price of a stock. He’s a showman who made social networks his stage. A form of revenge for this engineer long cataloged as a geek. He owes his popularity to his daring. No tourist has been able to go to space, Elon takes care of it. Colonize Mars? Elon has planned it for 2024. Defining the mobility of tomorrow with Hyperloop and Tesla? It’s him again. Successes or grandiose ideas that make all budding entrepreneurs and engineers dream. Just like his childhood in Pretoria, South Africa, when he subscribed to PC and Office Technology and made his first inventions. “Papa Musk” as the Bitcoin community calls him, is the richest man in the world, but that title clearly excites him less than the influence and power he now holds. A power which amuses him and with which he plays, but which he still has to learn to manage.