Jim Dabrowski

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Elon Musk Isn't Stupid

Since the purchase of Twitter, Elon Musk has done a lot of things that sure seem stupid, and plenty of people on Twitter and on the internet in general have made that observation. Musk isn't stupid, but yet he seems to be doing a bunch of stupid things.

Everyone with half a brain knew if you eliminated the verification part of Twitter's blue checkmarks and turned it simply into a badge indicating you paid your $8 there would be a complete flood of people impersonating corporate and personal accounts for malicious purposes or simply for laughs. Musk isn't stupid, he too knew that, and he did it anyway.

Twitter's primary source of income is from advertising. In 2021 $4.5 of its $5 billion in revenue came from advertising. Major brands, however, don't want to be associated with anything remotely controversial so they only advertise on "safe" platforms. Musk isn't stupid, he knows this. Despite knowing this, he removed the verification system, he retweets and supports conspiracy theories, threatened war against those brands if they removed their ads and with his "free speech maximalist" stance has signaled there will be many more controversial posts in the future. None of this makes Twitter a "safe" platform on which to advertise.

In today's economy and in the wake of Covid, workers enjoy the freedom to be more flexible in the location and time they work. Especially in the high tech industry programmers are in high demand and an employer has to be willing to do what it takes to keep their talent and to attract high caliber talent. Musk isn't stupid, he knows this, he's been in this exact industry for years. Yet, he immediately fires half the staff. Starts publicly denigrating and firing people who speak out against him. He is instituting a demand that everyone has to work in the office and even announced that anyone staying has to be ready to work excessive numbers of hours - basically saying to hell with "work-life balance". Musk knows all this but he does all this anyway.

It's easy to see all his actions and conclude he's some tech billionaire who is actually clueless about how the entire high business world runs despite years of actually being involved in it. I think that conclusion is wrong. Musk isn't stupid. He does know all this. If he knows all this, we have to ask: Why is he doing it? The only conclusion to draw is he is deliberately trying to destroy Twitter.

He made an ill-tempered decision to buy the company and when he realized he wasn't going to be able to buy his way out of it, that he was actually going to be held accountable for his actions, he immediately reversed course and went through with the deal solely so he could destroy it out of spite. Every action he has taken since his take-over has shown this to be his intention. It's sad to see something like Twitter go since it's been such an integral part of the Internet for the last 10 years. But as they say, all good things must come to an end.