Why is Elon Musk Wrecking Twitter?
It is difficult to imagine how Elon Musk will ever make a dime from his acquisition of Twitter. It’s only a few months into his investment in the platform, but he’s already beating the bushes for help paying the $13 billion in debt he incurred buying Twitter.
For reasons known only to him, Musk paid $44 billion in an acquisition that analysts describe as “one of the most overpaid tech acquisitions in history.” Musk followed up his curious purchase with one management misstep after another: re-platforming white supremacists and provocateurs like Kanye West, losing half of the company’s top 100 advertisers, chasing away millions of users, and firing essential staff.
After charging for the account verifications and then for access to the company’s API, Musk appears to have settled on a monetization strategy of charging for formerly free services and, if yesterday’s dumpster fire is any indication, limiting daily tweets.
While Musk was busy running Twitter into the proverbial ditch, the stock of Tesla, the electric car company Musk also runs, fell off a cliff. Due in equal parts to his neglect of the EV manufacturer and the Twitter shitshow, last year, the company lost $700 billion, or 65%, of its value.
The combination of managing Twitter and ignoring his duties at Tesla caused Musk to lose more of his personal wealth — a reported $200 billion — than anyone in recorded history.
To NASA’s relief, Musk appears to have been too busy destroying value at Twitter and Tesla to focus much attention on SpaceX, which he also runs. Notwithstanding his previous successes, Musk’s foray into the social media business has gone so poorly he risks relegation to the list of worst CEOs of all time.
What makes the whole shitshow so remarkable is that no one seems to know precisely why Musk bought Twitter in the first place.