The wealthiest man on the planet is gone. The tireless home run hitter hit a wall. The chief breaker of decadent industries has broken his teeth. Elon Musk, to whom everything seemed to succeed so far, stole the show in 2022 for a very simple reason: he seems to have found the shortest path between hero status and that of zero.
Musk is nowhere near a turnaround and can definitely bounce back in the months ahead. The one who has made the headlines more than ever in recent weeks has thwarted the odds more than once since the founding, in 1995, with his brother Kimbal, of the software company Zip2. Another reversal of fortune would be dramatic, but not impossible.
Indeed, we still do not know if he will succeed in reviving Twitter in a sustainable way. Musk spent 44 billion US dollars a little in spite of himself to acquire, then privatize the Californian social network. To complicate matters, between April and October, the time it took to finalize the transaction, Twitter lost half of its stock market value.
Since then, it is his value of esteem with a large fringe of some 300 million subscribers that has fallen. Musk contributed to this by tweeting falsehoods, arbitrarily banning certain users and content, and then ruffling advertisers, the source of 90% of Twitter’s revenue. And now, following a poll he himself launched a week before Christmas, Musk finally decided that he would give the position of CEO of Twitter to someone “crazier” than him that he has yet to find.
Despite everything, this does not seem to affect the alleged strategy of the billionaire, who hopes to quintuple the turnover of Twitter by 2028 and by then reduce the share of advertising to 50% of its income. This will require converting users into subscribers willing to pay $8 or more per month for better network access. A puzzle that is similar to that of many digital media and which almost always leads to the flight of a heavy majority of the audience.
2022 in the stars
The year 2022 began as a premonition for the billionaire and big boss of SpaceX and Tesla, two prominent companies in sectors undergoing great technological transformation. The electric car manufacturer’s stock market crash in January cut 10% from the value of Elon Musk’s portfolio. It was the start of a long downhill slide that has cost Tesla two-thirds of its capitalization to date.
By comparison, the downward movement in the technology and automotive stock market erased a third of their value in 2022.
This disappointment did not affect the aura of Musk at this time. As early as March, SpaceX obtained, thanks to the Russian aggression war in Ukraine launched at the end of February, a unique opportunity to showcase its brand new Starlink satellite Internet service.
Tested by Russian jamming, Starlink has become popular with the Ukrainian military, proof that technology can sometimes serve the widow and the orphan… but not at any price. SpaceX says it has funded 70% of its presence in Ukraine, also backed by Washington.
Come fall, Musk thanked the US government by reactivating ex-President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, ten days after urging voters to vote for the Republican opposition in the midterm elections. Without too much success there either…