Elon Musk is making a bid to take over Twitter. Picture / AP
If we overlook about inflation briefly (absolutely we deserve a break for the lengthy weekend), then Elon Musk’s potential Twitter takeover is essentially the most fascinating enterprise story on the earth to me proper
I believe Musk is essentially the most fascinating character within the enterprise world. However I hope he doesn’t get Twitter.
Placing apart ethical points round his extraordinary wealth (round US$270 billion), there’s an ethical hazard in permitting people to have whole management of media firms – social or conventional.
At a time when belief in authorities is low, multi-billionaires like Musk are wielding extra energy than ever.
Barely a day goes by when Musk doesn’t generate a worldwide headline.
Since I began scripting this column he’s made contemporary headlines, revealing he doesn’t personal a house and spends his days staying with associates across the San Francisco space.
The world’s richest man merely doesn’t have time for property it appears, he’s too busy working, making issues occur, re-shaping actuality.
That’s what makes Musk extra fascinating than simply the variety of zeros on his stability sheet.
Musk is fascinated by the longer term and has each the size and ambition to form it.
And he’s shaping it in myriad methods, not all of them good.
It’s most likely the ethical ambiguity that makes the Musk present so compelling.
The man is one lab accident away from changing into a comic book ebook superhero. Or supervillain.
It might go both means
Musk doesn’t match commonplace definitions of conservative or liberal.
He’s the man that turbocharged electrical vehicles with Tesla and made it viable to think about a world with out petrol-powered transport. Tesla is now the fastest-growing automobile firm on the earth.
He’s keen about inexperienced know-how. Tesla has massive plans for solar energy. He’s additionally throwing cash at a bizarre rapid-transit system of high-speed underground tubes.
Musk needs to be cool. He smokes pot and has good style in music.
He dated uber-cool pop star Grimes.
However he additionally has a distinctly libertarian streak that places him onside with a number of the most right-wing teams within the US.
His views on free-speech have Donald Trump supporters cheering on his Twitter takeover plans.
They consider he’ll let Trump and different right-wing voices again on the positioning, giving them an important leg-up within the battle to take again management of the White Home.
Musk is obsessive about cryptocurrency, which sits effectively with libertarian notions of shaking off authorities management over society.
He’s warned concerning the menace synthetic intelligence is to humanity however he’s invested closely in Neuralink – an organization working to plug computer systems immediately into our brains.
Why he wants Twitter isn’t clear. It isn’t the cash, so now we have to imagine it’s for the affect.
In terms of Twitter, I’m biased. Like lots of journalists, I spend far an excessive amount of time on the positioning.
I’m invested. Not in a monetary sense. I haven’t given a single greenback to Twitter, simply numerous hours of what media execs wish to name engagement.
Twitter is a worthwhile enterprise – however not massively by the requirements of its tech-boom friends.
Musk thinks he could make it extra worthwhile.
However the best way he’s gone concerning the takeover, with a gradual streaming of mocking and barely juvenile tweets, has accomplished little for his credibility as a severe market participant.
Nonetheless, the Twitter board was involved sufficient to invoke one thing known as a “poison tablet” – issuing shares to dilute shareholdings and make the takeover tougher.
The consultants say Musk’s finest subsequent transfer is one thing known as a “tender” the place he makes his supply on to all shareholders.
He’s clearly contemplating it as a result of he retains tweeting tune lyrics like Love me Tender and Tender is the night time.
The entire play for management comes throughout as an indulgence. A recreation Musk is enjoying to amuse himself and from which he can stroll away with no penalties.
That highlights the issue of billionaires treating society like an enormous playground.
Musk’s rise suggests a return to the “gilded age” the place billionaires and highly effective people dictated the phrases by which individuals lived.
Prior to now 20 years, technological change has accelerated sooner than we’ve seen because the late 19th century – when electrical energy and combustion engines modified the world.
Those that’ve been on the forefront of the revolution have grown terribly wealthy.
The likes of Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft’s Invoice Gates and Alphabet’s Larry Web page are so wealthy they rival the so-called “robber barons” of the unique 19th-century gilded age – JD Rockefeller, JP Morgan and Andrew Carnegie.
These males had been additionally celebrated as philanthropists whereas they exerted their energy affect to undermine authorities.
At his peak, JD Rockefeller was value an estimated US$450 billion in inflation-adjusted phrases, nearly twice Musk’s value.
The gilded age was so dubbed by satirist Mark Twain to recommend an inexpensive knock-off of a correct golden age.
He was proper to be cynical. It was a horrible time for staff and led the world into the epic market crash of 1929.
Maybe we needs to be heartened that America has been right here earlier than and self-corrected.
But it surely took the Nice Melancholy to re-establish public belief in authorities.
Musk is adventurous and rebellious. Traits which can be innately charismatic. There’s lots to love.
He’s by no means boring however in a world the place historical past is already accelerating at a harmful tempo, that might be the issue.