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What if Elon Musk Runs for President? + Top Jobs
Ethical Nuances of Elon Musk Owning Twitter
Before we get to the newsletter today, we would like to recognize one of the Network Capital Anamika Scholars who was featured by SOAS London. If you want to learn more about the Anamika Prize, you can check out the link below.
Ben Thompson wrote a fascinating piece on the business and culture impact of Twitter. In essence, Twitter is one of the most powerful cultural platform but it is severely under monetized. Thompson outlines ways in which it can make a come back under the leadership of Elon Musk.
On Monday, Musk’s bid to buy Twitter was accepted by the board. Stock prices are on an upswing. Shareholders are optimistic about the growth prospects and think that Musk can be the savior the company desperately needs. Time will tell if that happens but given Musk’s track record, it is definitely a possible outcome.
Musk has long been arguing that Twitter has done a suboptimal job of promoting freedom of speech, often banning people or cancelling them. Talks are rife about the prospect of Donald Trump making a comeback on the platform. Musk said that he wanted his strongest critics to remain on the platform because that is the fundamental of democracy.
This is what he commented after the news became public.
Let’s unpack each of these sentences.
Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the humanity are debated. You can argue that the quality of debates are low and it is more of people talking over each other but there is no doubt that Twitter shapes culture. News first breaks on Twitter before being picked up by other platforms.
Make Twitter better with new product features, open source algorithms, defeating spam bots and authenticating all humans. These are structural changes and are likely to alter the social dynamics. If Twitter decides to ask for identity proof, what happens to pseudonymous accounts? Facebook recently added anonymous posting on its groups feature. Will Twitter follow suit, given that it also announced the launch of “Twitter Communities”. These are questions that need to be deliberated. Who will take the final call? Elon Musk? Or will he play a supporting role
** This parody account is witty. Not sure what happens to internet humor once identity verification becomes mandatory.
Look forward to working with the community to unlock Twitters potential. With 85 million followers on Twitter, Musk has a following greater than The New York Times and Economist combined. Elon Musk is the richest man on the planet and he is en route to becoming the biggest media company on the planet.
Stocks move up or down based on his tweets. New features get added based on his polls. Safe to say, Musk moves culture like no one else today. If he channels community support well enough, who knows, he may run for Presidency in United States.
Competence in one area does not mean competency in all areas. A great CEO can be a terrible President but s/he could also turn out to be a good one, at least better than other alternatives. That said, this is not a newsletter on the figuring out whether Musk will be a good President. All we want to suggest is that it is a possible outcome.
Now picture this - the richest man with the biggest media empire running the most powerful country. That is what absolute power looks like. Looking at history, one can tell that such power concentration usually leads to dictatorship and suppression of dissenting voices.
'Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely'
Decentralization of power, decision making and vision setting augurs well for the future of any democracy but there are legitimate arguments against the randomization of power. Random coalitions pulled together to create an illusion of democracy has left many people disappointed.
Whenever there is a power vacuum, people crave for a strong person to set up. Things work well for a while until they don’t. This repeats time and again, but it takes a while to fill the gap with a leader who is respected, liked and acts in an inclusive way.
Where does Elon Musk fit into all this? Will he act like a dictator if and when he becomes the President? Will he twist democracy to further his business interests?
Or will be emerge as the benevolent king who takes the world to greater heights? Some may argue that he doesn’t need to run for President. He is already the most powerful person on the planet.
In fact how we runs Twitter will be a decent indication of how we will act as an official leader of the people (if and when the day comes). We live in interesting times. The nature of trust has changed to becoming peer to peer. Trust in institutions is at an all time low. Musk treads a unique line as the leader of multiple billion dollar businesses and a culture shaper with his attitude towards the establishment.
Let us wait and see what happens. One thing is clear - no outcome is too farfetched to be true. Literally anything is possible. You can go to bed, dream of something and wake up in a new world altogether. C’est la vie.
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Have a great day ahead!
Your Network Capital Team