We all know that Elon Musk is not the first person to be part of a failed hostile takeover bid.
There was of course Microsoft’s failed bid to takeover Yahoo due to a series of unrealistic demands by Yahoo.
Then there was Xerox’s aborted takeover of HP, where despite declining revenue Xerox upped their bid for HP and unfortunately Covid19 hit and that was that. Like a spiritual leader, a shepherd, a guru, Elon pronounced that he was going to save freedom of speech.
Some people will say that “freedom of speech” is the last thing we need at the moment in light of the issue surrounding ex-president Trump and the Russians involvement in the US and potentially the UK elections.
Similarly, the Ukrainians are avoiding mainstream news and online newsfeeds for fear that they have been infiltrated by the Russian regime. Of course it is not only the Russians that are up to this type of online warfare. It filters down even into ambitious political parties in Ireland. This takes many forms including bending the truth, but most of it is out and out lies.
So how can leaders, shepherds and gurus get away with all of that, surely our defamation laws will save us?
Integrity plays such an important role in business but the concept of integrity “online” seems to be redefined on a daily basis.
It has actually got to the stage where it is difficult to figure out what is the truth and what is lies. Who can you believe? We had Boris Johnson with his mythomania or pseudologia fantastica – just keep on lying and people will believe you.
Politics and business intermingle freely confirming that they have been soul mates for years.
So for me, one of the key takeaways from this is that we reside in a fantasy land and the key tenets or qualities of doing business, integrity and honesty no longer are a prerequisite to doing business in modern society an erosion of civilization. Do we allow hate speech and misinformation are they included in Musk’s definition of “freedom of speech”?
Have we missed something or surely it is glaringly evident that the number of customers a target has in a takeover has is a key element of what you would pay for the company. We all know there are a significant number of phantom accounts on twitter.
So why did the alarm bells starting ringing so late in the day for Elon?
Presumably this was part of the due diligence he would have had carried out prior to making any bid. The second question I would then pose is how serious was Elon Musk about this bid, was it an expensive PR stunt, and if it was, what was the exact message that the shepherd Musk was trying to get across to his sheep? Presumably also a commitment to freedom of speech might damage the brand and make it less attractive to the many companies that advertise on twitter.
It seems to me that Elon Musk is flirting with the idea of having to buy his own established platform in order to create an environment which he can control and protecting his name, a place where he can manipulate what is said and done. You do not need to wander far to experience such a platform, ex-President Trump’s “Truth Social” is the greatest example of an oxymorons out there for people to follow.
Sometimes it is like dipping you foot in hot sand, Musk no doubt is learning from the experience, he was never conventional and neither was the way he does business. What is quite clear is that he is the type of visionary that has the ability to get investors, employees and consumers to back his madcap approach.
He has moved away from the conventional strategy for companies, it is all about solving problems. We are likely to see him play a key role in the energy and food industries in the future, that is where the real profits reside. In addition, unpredictability will always get an audience, he is, for the most part, totally unconcerned what people think, now that is an interesting way of doing business, without doubt maybe some of you would follow suit if there were no financial worries or concerns out there and we had no issues about breaking or re-inventing the rules.