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Elon Musk’s Tesla Master Plan does not fit on Twitter

Elon Musk’s Tesla Master Plan does not fit on Twitter

Bloomberg Opinion – What is Twitter’s Secret Master Plan?

Elon Musk published a famous not-so-secret policy for Tesla Inc. (TSLA) in 2006. At that time, he described his role as an electric car manufacturer as a side job; His day job was to run the missile manufacturer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX. At that time I was not on Twitter (TWTR), which had been officially released just a few weeks earlier. It would be another three years before @elonmusk started.

Things have changed a bit since then. Tesla has a $ 1 trillion market capitalization and is about 10 times more than SpaceX, so Musk’s priorities have changed. And now, with 85 million followers and $ 44 billion of accepted takeover bids for Twitter Inc., Musk has almost the fate of Twitter. “Everything else” has a lot of work to do here, as the agreement must be approved by a vote and it is still unclear where it will get about half of the funding. Assuming it works out, what’s Musk’s plan for his latest addition? Does the history of Tesla give clues?

For a start, both on Twitter and Tesla, Musk would be the dominant force, a little more. Although it seems unlikely that he will take over as CEO, he will still lead. If Twitter were privately owned, it would, like Tesla, be a nest cryptography (a way to distort or hide the truth meaning of messages). To a large extent, all of Musk’s companies are an extension of himself. This involves risk but, more importantly, a certain appearance that has resulted in regular external funding. Just as the belief in Musk enabled Tesla to raise a lot of money despite the company burning billions in cash, Musk’s participation makes this unusual purchase on Twitter feasible.

Similarly, while Twitter’s purchase price is less than 1/20 of Tesla’s market capitalization, it poses a huge risk to Musk’s equity due to a potentially large capital check and $ 12.5 billion secured loan against some of its Tesla shares. This continues with another premium material in Muskplex: the financial interconnection of the companies he manages between himself and himself. In 2016, Tesla famously acquired SolarCity Corp., rescuing a bankrupt company in which Musk was a major shareholder and chairman of the board and had sold bonds to himself, his nephew and SpaceX.

Given the role that Twitter, like Tesla, has played in building Musk’s reputation as a genius, the savior of the planet and a troublemaker, both companies are also inextricably linked to his ego. So if the deal goes through, Musk has every reason to make it work. While it does not have a daily dashboard like it does with Tesla’s stock prices, the bond market would offer comments on debt-ridden, albeit silent, Twitter.

Guessing exactly what “make it work” means has become the world’s newest and biggest online board game. There are no simple criteria like selling more and more electric cars. Profitability, according to Musk, is good to have. To express his highest expectations for the company, he, as is often the case, addresses the messiah and said in a recent TED interview that “the risk to civilization decreases … the more we can increase trust in Twitter as a platform. . “public.” Good.

Magnificence aside, this statement gets to the heart of the matter. Musk equates Twitter with pure freedom of expression, a concept that is much softer than, for example, selling half a million Model 3s.

Other goals that Musk has revealed are more tangible, such as making the Twitter algorithm open source, verifying more accounts and fighting spam. This would probably improve the user experience and thus the business. But Musk’s commitment to “freedom” also means that Twitter will once again have less content management. While it may help reduce costs in the short term, the reasons why social media giants have tried to prevent misinformation, spam, and worse, have not disappeared. Musk himself once used Twitter to pretend to have a purchase agreement for Tesla. It does not even fit in with his relatively relaxed statement that squeaks must be “in accordance with the laws” of a country.

Furthermore, Musk is a dubious freedom judge. For example, he gets angry when people lack Tesla shares, publicly blaming it for quitting the planet rather than just putting money on the free market (Bill Gates is the latest example). In 2020, Musk described the temporary Covid-19 closure in California as “fascist,” a sign that seems a bit far-fetched, especially when the man raises his flag. Gadsden (a historic American flag with a yellow box depicting a wooden rattlesnake that is wound up and ready to strike. Under the rattlesnake are the words: “Do not trample on me,” which represents individualism and freedom) he also runs a car company where its wealth is increasingly tied to the utopia of self-expression, China.

This mix of centralized power, coexistence and ill-defined tasks suggests that Twitter-owned Musk, like Tesla, will be vulnerable to sudden policy changes. We can probably expect an edit button, then changes to the edit button, maybe a survey or two on the edit button and then, who knows, the edit button will be removed. This is not necessarily a bad thing from an operational point of view. Tesla, after all, bounced back from the edge with such a gesture after the failed launch of Model 3. But it will likely lead to higher staff turnover, especially at higher levels. Because Twitter will be a private company, we could only be notified of such changes through Musk’s personal account. In fact, it’s not that different from Tesla these days.

Once again, with Twitter, we are talking about voices, not vehicles. A constant theme at Tesla, indeed a sales commodity for its fans, has been Musk’s willingness to go against regulations and regulators accused of enforcing them, especially when it comes to the fiftieth award for self-driving vehicles. Tesla is perhaps the largest car company in the world in terms of market value, but its small market share and new technology make it possible to maintain the image of the strange underdog. Inconsistencies are often forgiven for their transgressions.

Twitter, on the other hand, is already a powerful platform. Being bought by the richest person in the world only adds to it. This is not like getting into the car industry; it’s about protecting existing parties. There is no history of subterfuge here and the aspects of society that Twitter touches on (privacy, wealth, health, politics, freedom of speech (whatever you define it), to name a few) are far more prominent and have more emotional weight than Twitter does a car or solar battery. While Musk seems to enjoy confrontation, especially on Twitter, having a platform will mean having to meet the different wishes and comforts of his users (or risk leaving), as well as maintaining a social license to work.

With Tesla, Musk has proven to be talented at offering public money while keeping the company, its policies, image and even oversight, essentially its private territory. He put “the master” in the main plan. By taking Twitter into your own hands, you may be opening the door to a screaming audience.

This comment does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

This article was translated by Miriam Salazar

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