Activists, fanboys, haters, and everyone in between has a thought or two about Elon Musk these days. When you single-handedly construct the transaction to purchase the evolution of the “new town square,” even people who don’t care about electric, self-driving cars, digging tunnels, or sending rockets to space perk up. Buying Twitter is the most "present" investment he could make. The company is peering around the corner on turning 20 years old, and he’s ready to perform brain surgery on it where free-speech is fostered, Twitter handles are verified, and new revenue models are executed on.
What does all of this mean?
The talking heads and pundits can opine on where Elon is going to take the company culture and product. Elon ignites the degree of ambition. I've written about ambition on this blog several times: here and here. Over the past decade, several companies, particularly software companies have been bought and sold producing generational wealth for thousands upon thousands of people. When a person who produces a windfall of money (and I am not one of them) receives a lump sum, a certain set of new decisions set in. Questions arise like: “Should I still work?” or “What is my purpose outside of work?” or “What will I do with all my free time now that I don’t have to work?” The reality is, a certain sector of workers can ask these question, and once they have, an even larger question remains: “how do I use my God-given ability to be productive, valuable, and stay relevant?”
Elon’s orchestration of taking Twitter private is one of the most culturally relevant actions he could take, today – hence the most “present” investment. Sure, TikTok may have more engagement and Instagram may have more users, but discourse occurs on Twitter – especially between humans and not spambots. The national consciousness is shifted and molded from Tweets written and retweeted. A President of the United States admitted he was elected due to the influence of Twitter.
“The world belongs to the discontent.” – Robert Woodruff
When people get discontent over something, there is only one option: action. Elon’s ambition drives him to take immense action on problems he cares deeply towards.
So what does all this action communicate? Social-capital is gained towards doing and building. There are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and people today asking themselves, “what’s next?,” not because they are dissatisfied by their accomplishments but because they are inspired by Elon’s vision, long-term thinking, and ambition.
It is way more interesting to be building something than to be rich. One doesn’t have to aspire to send rockets to Mars or take a company private to plant the flag protecting free speech. One can build community, write, code, volunteer, but regardless, one must do.
Of course Elon needed to be a mega-billionaire to buy Twitter but that is what money is supposed to be used for – producing. Relevance and production are more paramount than pure wealth.
I heard a great quote from a friend the other day: “It is way better to wear out than rust out.”
Elon is living in the moment, he is creating his prime, and generating some of the most awe-inspiring work definitely since Steve Jobs.