Opinion | The Old Twitter Is Doomed

Other grand Musk bets stay gentle years away from triumph — his cyborg firm Neuralink, his tunnel-boring expertise and his Tesla Cybertruck, introduced in 2019 and nonetheless not launched — but he grinds on. Twitter would possibly in the end collapse below Musk. In any case, a social media firm is a really completely different beast than an electrical automotive or rocket firm.

However Musk’s unceasing urge for food for threat — wild, frothing, blind threat — paired together with his phenomenal successes, argues towards Twitter’s rapid demise. Utilizing the previous as a information, Musk will perpetually overpromise from the Twitter tiller whereas holding it within the public eye lengthy sufficient to use transformative change to it. He would possibly fail, but when he does, the explosion shall be wonderful.

Musk has a robust attraction to companies with limitless upsides, says Edward Niedermeyer, a frequent Musk critic and the creator of Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors. PayPal, a radical new method to ship and obtain cash that Musk helped discovered, now has 429 million accounts in more than 200 markets. Tesla has sold 3.2 million cars and shifted the complete auto market in its electrical path. SpaceX put extra satellites into orbit within the first quarter of 2022 than all different nations and firms mixed. (Is there a better venue for an upside than outer area?) Whether or not Twitter as presently constituted has the upside potential of a PayPal, Tesla or SpaceX is eminently debatable, provides Niedermeyer in an interview. “He’s not working in an area with this mystique the place he can go off his selections and strikes as genius with out folks questioning him,” he says.

He’s had at the very least one early stumble, giving air to far-right conspiracy theories in regards to the assault on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband solely to delete his tweet not lengthy after. It gave grist to Musk skeptics who warn his plans to advertise “free speech” on the platform will merely create a haven for misinformation. One main promoting agency is recommending its clients temporarily pause any ads on Twitter.

Musk’s showmanship additionally permits him to fill the air with the form of promotional chaff that spoofs his critics’ radar lengthy sufficient to prevail and sneak on to the following battle. He’s infamous for displaying half-finished prototype vehicles held along with tape and clips. So be on the vigil for Musk hype. But additionally be ready for him to show Twitter into one thing new, and profitable. Because the tech press has written, Musk has given ample warning that he intends to uproot Twitter from its post-and-chat duties and replant it as a “super app” like China’s WeChat, which performs the perform of a dozen apps directly: journey, buying, chat, video games, ride-hailing, banking, meals supply, picture sharing and buying.

Such a Twitter makeover could have already been within the playing cards earlier than Musk’s first bid in April, according to a recent Reuters report. An inside Twitter research discovered that heavy tweeters, who make up lower than 10 % of month-to-month total customers however generate 90 % of all tweets and half of worldwide income, have been in decline because the pandemic started. And that decline exhibits no signal of restoration. No person would pay $44 billion for a declining firm that hasn’t made money in eight of its previous 10 years except they have been ready to go to inventive destruction for the property. Musk’s wholesale firing of Twitter executives and his initial plans to dismiss 25 % of its workforce foretell the doom of the previous Twitter. However the firings can even recruit software program engineers and different skills who need to work at a spot that intends each moonshots and Mars-shots. The Musk ethos of failing shortly in public and utilizing the information to construct and take a look at once more has attracted among the world’s sharpest engineers to Tesla and SpaceX. Maybe it would work related wonders for Twitter.

Niedermeyer warns that Musk’s hubris would possibly deliver him down this time. “He’s like a man who’s been on the on line casino for like all evening lengthy on [a] scorching hand,” he says. “He retains rolling.”

Is Musk extremely good or extremely fortunate? When your engineering and enterprise philosophy is to check every thing till it breaks, smarts and luck are the one issues that may preserve you protected from going up in flames along with your product. The customers who’re quitting Twitter and the legislators calling for investigations could be doing Musk a favor by serving to him to bury final 12 months’s Twitter so he can extra shortly construct the brand new mannequin.


I favor electrical guitars to electrical automobiles. Ship pix of your favourite axe to [email protected]. No new electronic mail alert subscriptions are being honored at the moment. My Twitter feed is in mourning. My RSS feed is aware of what it’s wish to be lifeless.

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