Elon Musk is one of the most powerful corporate executives in history. When Musk buys Twitter, he will incorporate one of the world’s most influential media platforms into his business empire, which already includes the leading private space company (SpaceX) and one of the carriers electric car. Musk, who has previously been named the world’s richest man by Bloomberg, will soon be adding one of the world’s most influential media platforms to his watch (Tesla). It is the collective that has made him one of the most influential people in technology, business, and media history.
“I think this is a new reality,” Brad DeLong, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in an email. He said, “Publishers are in the past,” he said, quoting William Randolph Hearst, whose story is immortal in the film “Citizen Kane.” “But not before my memory was the chief marketing officer in high technology of the day wanting this kind of role – or, instead, Jobs and Gates wanted, but they wooed news platforms, instead of buying them,” DeLong said, referring to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Like Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover can change the altar. History is full of powerful industry professionals, many of whom also use the control of major media outlets. And in recent years, media assets have become a haven for rich professionals. Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos in The Washington Post; Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff who owns Time magazine; and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs, is the founder of Emerson Collective, which owns The Atlantic. Earlier, Gates-led Microsoft founded MSNBC (NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News and MSNBC).
Twitter, however, is a completely different beast. Its platform counts 217 million active users daily and some think it is the most important and influential platform in the world although at least some of its competitors. Musk and Twitter have agreed a deal worth $ 44 billion, with Musk as the sole owner so far, although it could attract outside investors. That equals almost one-fifth of its big fortune of $ 252 billion.
In historical terms, Musk has few comparisons. Richard White, a Stanford University author and author of a 2017 book on the 19th Century Gilded Age, “The Republic for Which You Stand,” says Musk is very similar to Hearst, who used force in public debates. in the early 20th century through his chain management of famous newspapers. But Musk’s business interests are greater than those of Hearst. And Musk has shown little interest in acquiring large buildings and open ground – a favorite sport of the tycoons from Cornelius Vanderbilt to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – and instead used his stock to fund initiatives such as Neuralink, a startup running on brain implants, or property. of Twitter.
For me, Elon Musk is really easy. He really liked the attention. He really wants to be in the middle of it all, ”White said. White said that was the difference with street barons who bought newspapers in the 19th century to serve narrow financial opportunities, often in secret. Putting Musk into social media does not seem to serve a business purpose, and it does not hide its role.
If anything, Musk seems to enjoy his role in culture as much as his influence on the industry. He has hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” produced regular cameras on television and in films and immersed himself in global hot spots by providing assistance in venues such as Ukraine and Thailand. He has been dating pop star Grimes and has drawn comparisons to a superhero comic book. That attention combined with his business has led to an online army of angry fans and made him an idol among many in the technology community. Last year, Harvard historian Jill Lepore dedicated a podcast series to Musk, stating that he had established a new kind of capitalism in science fiction. It’s called “Muskism.”