Now that he is buying Twitter, has Elon Musk finally lost the plot?

Home Science Now that he is buying Twitter, has Elon Musk finally lost the plot?
Now that he is buying Twitter, has Elon Musk finally lost the plot?

Elon Musk has never played by the rules.

He became the world’s richest man by making electric cars through a venture that, despite being unprofitable until 18 months ago, is somehow valued at more than $US1 trillion ($1.38t) — more than every other automobile manufacturer combined.

His other great business ventures involve exploring space (with SpaceX) and digging tunnels beneath the earth (with The Boring Company).

Neither of those turn a profit, just yet. But that hasn’t deterred his legion of true believers.

Part of the allure is that Musk is considered a visionary. He’s combined that with an extraordinary talent for putting together a management, manufacturing and marketing structure to efficiently source material and produce high-end product with a sharp focus on the future.

It’s a combination that has allowed even the most blue-blood establishment figures to overlook some of his more outlandish and erratic behaviour.

And there have been some doozies. Remember the time he sparked up a joint during a Joe Rogan podcast? Then there was his plunge into cryptocurrency, telling the world via Twitter that he would accept bitcoin for cars, and the sudden about face not long after.

What about the time he suggested one of the Thai cave rescuers was a “pedo”? He won the resulting defamation case but left many aghast.

And who could forget his pledge to launch a takeover of Tesla three years ago, only to reverse course 17 days later?

Mostly, Musk’s sins have been considered an aberration or a sideshow, even when they’ve attracted the attention of America’s corporate regulator.

After all, he has a brilliant track record of success, given he was one of the brains behind PayPal.

But this time, even his most ardent supporters have their doubts.

Elon Musk in a black suit stands and waves in front of a metal car part, in a factory.
Musk is stumping up $29 billion for the Twitter purchase, with the other $32 billion coming from his bankers.(AP: Patrick Pleul)

What does Elon Musk see in Twitter?

His $61.1 billion takeover of Twitter has left many analysts stumped.

While, like many of the billionaire’s other ventures, it has never turned a profit, many fear that it never will; that its best days are behind it and that its business model is seriously flawed.

No matter how you look at it, that is a lot of cash to fork out on a loss-making operation.

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