OPINION | Why did Elon Musk buy Twitter?

He finally did it! Elon Musk bought twitter for over $40bn. For us normal humans, that’s a big number to fully comprehend. But also, we must think a bit deeper about WHY he would want to make such an investment. There is a healthy population of people that are deeply worried about the misuse of the platform to spread mis-information and curb freedom of speech. 

The events of the last few weeks during the attempt to buy twitter sent the world into a bit of a tailspin. Musk, who currently owns 9% of the company, was being bullish about increasing his stake to at least 15% putting the twitter board in the difficult scenario of either accepting or rejecting the offer. Read more here for context on how the saga unfolded.

So I then sat back to consider why this would be such an important acquisition for the young billionaire from pretoria. His portfolio of companies include TeslaSpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink under one parent company. All of these are groundbreaking organizations that are at the forefront of their respective industry sectors.

So how does twitter fit into all of this?

In the article by Bond and Allyn, they quote “He relishes moving markets with his tweets as much as he loves sharing duck memes with his more than 82 million Twitter followers.” but could this egocentric motivation be the only thing driving the insatiable need to own the social media giant?

I then considered all of his other portfolios that have a very contrarian ethos and tried to fit the twitter story into how this eventually will play out. 

Interplanetary Travel

Those of you that watch modern sci-fi movies or series, you will notice an interesting trend with a storyline that paints a picture of what the human race will need to do when it arrives on a different planet. Elon, through spaceX has almost solved the commercial challenge of interplanetary travel.  So step one, get people off earth to mars – tick.

Food and Shelter

The very next thing that happens in most sci-fi movies is that the travellers have to secure food and shelter for themselves. With significant advances in technology around photosynthesis, materials and engineering – this is also a problem that Musk has spent significant time trying to solve – read more here.

Once the above three challenges have been addressed, the next most important thing is establishing communication protocol. Now communication protocol would have two parts to it – firstly, one to one communication and one to many communication. Both need to be considered “on planet” and “off planet” or between planets. 

Enter twitter. 

The Acquisition of twitter may be an elegant solution to solving the communication challenge that Musk will face once he successfully begins to establish civilizations off planet earth. It is no secret that if he is to be successful with the twitter takeover, his biggest promise is to transform twitter into a platform for free speech with few restrictions which is something he calls “essential to a functioning society”. So as he establishes a society off planet earth, could twitter provide a communication solution for this new frontier?

What do you think?

Musa Kalenga is the CEO and co-founder of Bridge Labs, as well a shareholder and a board member at The Brave Group.

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