Saturday, April 20

Elon Musk, the controversial visionary who will control Twitter


Renaissance man, troll, visionary or egomaniac. There are no half measures to describe the technology mogul Elon Musk. The richest man on the planet, and new owner of Twitterhas stood out above other great contemporary businessmen not only for his success at the head of companies such as Tesla either SpaceXbut also for a defiant and incendiary style that, for better or worse, has put him at the center of every conversation.

Born in 1971 in South Africa in the last years of apartheid, Musk grew up in a wealthy family that amassed a fortune by owning a emerald mine in Zambia. His father, Errol, said their ostentatious lifestyle turned Elon into an “adventurous merchant.” At the age of 12, he had already created and sold a video game for $500. Even so, not everything was easy: family divorce, bad relationship with his father and bullied at school. All this marked his character.

After graduating in physics and economics at USAMusk abandoned his master’s degree at Stanford University to start his entrepreneurial adventure and launch, together with his brother Kimbal, the software company Zip2. With its sale, he pocketed more than 20 million euros, money that he used to build the online banking company X.com. This would end up merging to give birth PayPal, the method that revolutionized electronic payments. Your sale to eBay It brought him almost 170 million euros.

control the narrative

The money amassed in that early stage was the cornerstone of his current empire. With this he co-founded the electric car manufacturer Tesla and the aerospace company SpaceX. After almost bankrupting him, the promise of revolutionizing the automotive industry and facilitating space tourism began to materialize and attract large investments in 2008. Both companies are his current business hallmark. “Musk knows how to surround himself with spectacular people who do his work, while he puts himself in the center of attention to direct the narrative where it interests him,” explains the technology analyst Alex Barredo.

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Last year, as the pandemic raged, his business skyrocketed and with it his wealth, valued at $245.8 billion. that oversized fortune -higher than the GDP of countries such as Portugal or Chile- responds to the speculative logic of a market in which the valuation of companies and their ability to attract investors are not only due to tangible realities, but also to excessive promises, to colonize Mars to create chips that connect the human brain with machines.

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“Musk does not have the raw intelligence of Einstein. With his powerful technological knowledge, he identifies where the limit is and then asks to go further”, says Barredo, author of the ‘ELON’ podcast. “That has motivated part of his workers, but it has burned many others, who see in those promises that a toxic culture cannot be fulfilled.” A workaholic, Musk has claimed that he works about 14 hours a day, seven days a week.

TIME magazine recognized Musk as person of the year, highlighting his enormous business success, but also his particular status as a ‘showman’, with an ironic, confrontational and even childish style that make him a figure as difficult to read as it is easy to idolize. . The tycoon has adapted that provocative style to business and has perfected like few others the art of launching striking statements to capture attention and relaunch his products. He has done it to alter the shares of Tesla – which has earned him legal problems that he still drags – and also to shoot and sink the value of various cryptocurrencies. Twitter has been an essential speaker for that strategy. Now his favorite toy is in his hands.

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