Mastermind at work

How to throw away $30 billion.

Twitter’s value has plummeted by almost two-thirds since Elon Musk acquired the company in October 2022, one of the social media company’s only remaining external investors has admitted.

Don’t cry for Elon, though, he still has $14 billion in value in his pocket. You can live pretty well on a few billion, I’ve heard.


  1. brucej says

    The scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker sets fire to the mountain of cash is a metaphor, Phony Stark, not a business plan.

  2. raven says

    About all I learned by watching Musk buy Twitter is that he is a horrible person, malevolent and destructive.
    I will never buy anything even remotely associated with Elon Musk.

    Twitter was a good idea done well until Musk bought it.
    Now it is overrun with Russian and Antivax trolls among its other problems.

    That it is still operating tells you that it does fill a need for short, timely news notifications.
    I keep hoping a competitor Child of Twitter Without Musk will start up and replace Twitter but it hasn’t happened yet.

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    I keep hoping a competitor Child of Twitter Without Musk will start up and replace Twitter but it hasn’t happened yet.

    There are several efforts eager to fill that role. Bluesky is one talked about recently, although apparently it is still in beta testing. I am not familiar with the various alternatives, but it seems likely to me that one of them will succeed.

  4. mordred says

    @2: Hasn’t Meta started on a replacement, using the Mastodon protocols but with a more user-friendly/marketable interface?

    Not my preferred solution but at least it’s Musk-free…

  5. Larry says

    Q: How do you make $15 billion?
    A: Start with $45 billion (Elon Musk edition)

  6. Doc Liah says

    I use Mastodon, its ok.
    There is also calckey which is fairly new.
    And Bluesky as mentioned.
    There are a few alternatives being made.

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    Don’t cry for Elon, though, he still has $14 billion in value in his pocket. You can live pretty well on a few billion, I’ve heard.

    He can’t live on that $14 billion. You can only live on “value” if you can sell it, or if someone will loan you money against it. No one wants to buy Twitter today.

    Musk has plenty of other money to draw on though, his stock in SpaceX and Tesla is still worth something.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    @4: It seems unlikely to me that Meta, a large greedy corporation, would use the Mastodon platform, which I understand to be open source. They could be working on a solution of their own, or could acquire some other company with a ready-to-go solution. But if they come out with any solution at all, it would be something they could monetize heavily.

  9. says

    But if they come out with any solution at all, it would be something they could monetize heavily.

    They’d want some tech they can control. (Which implies monetizing it as well) but big tech companies can’t rely on something someone else might buy and control.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    If you paid me 1000 bucks a day, I am willing to avoid burning tens of billions of your money. It is a bargain.

  11. jenorafeuer says

    Reginald Selkirk@8:
    Presumably what is meant is less that Meta’s idea is using ‘Mastodon’, and more that it’s using the underlying ActivityPub protocol that Mastodon uses (at least modern versions of Mastodon). A number of other projects also use ActivityPub, which is a W3C recommended standard, and one of the big advantages of using it is that all of those other projects become interoperable and embeddable. For example, Pixelfed is an Instagram-like app that uses ActivityPub, and it’s easy to embed a Pixelfed image directly into a Mastodon ‘toot’ because under the hood they’re both using the same protocols. Tumblr is already working on an ActivityPub interface as well.

    There are a number of folks out there who think that ActivityPub is the real ‘killer app’ going on, and Mastodon is just the current interface to get people to use it.

    That may be what Meta is going for: less ‘walled garden’ (because they already have one of those) and more ‘let’s make it really easy for people who actively avoid walled gardens to still run lots of personal data through our servers because they use other applications with the same underlying links’.

  12. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Mastermind isn’t the word that begins with Mast(u)r that I would use to describe Elon.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Bluesky etc… might they wait for Musk to crash and burn, or are they moving in already?

  14. specialffrog says

    Calling a social network Blue Sky makes me think of this quote:

    ‘It was 1950, in the early, heady days of Dianetics, soon after L. Ron Hubbard opened the doors of his first organization to the clamoring crowd. Up until then, Hubbard was known only to readers of pulp fiction, but now he had an instant best-seller with a book that promised to solve every problem of the human mind, and the cash was pouring in. Hubbard found it easy to create schemes to part his new following from their money. One of the first tasks was to arrange “grades” of membership, offering supposedly greater rewards, at increasingly higher prices. Over thirty years later, an associate wryly remembered Hubbard turning to him and confiding, no doubt with a smile, “Let’s sell these people a piece of blue sky.”‘
    Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed

  15. numerobis says

    Musk has a lot more than $14 billion in hand; on the flip side it seems highly unlikely that Twitter is actually worth $14 billion. The place has lost half its revenue and been endebted to the tune of $13 billion. So, debt-free it would be worth almost as much as it was before the deal, and before the rise in interest rates?

  16. rietpluim says

    None of this is gonna convince Musk and his Musketeers that he may not be the genius philanthropist entrepreneur he thinks he is.

  17. raven says

    Just when you think Elon Musk can’t sink any lower…he then goes right past that point at supersonic speed. Latest headline.

    Elon Musk spent the last 24 hours spreading increasingly unhinged anti-trans content

    Business Insider
    Fri, June 2, 2023 at 11:16 AM PDT·4 min read
    In this article:

    Elon Musk said he would start “actively lobbying” against some health-care options for transgender kids.Scott Olson/Getty Images
    One of the world’s richest men spent the last 24 hours sharing anti-trans content.

    Elon Musk promoted increasingly radical takes after right-wingers criticized him on Twitter.

    Musk even vowed he’d start “actively lobbying to criminalize” some healthcare for transgender children.

    I didn’t even read the article.
    Why bother?
    My contempt for Musk is equal to his descent into a cartoon evil villain and there isn’t much more he could do to make it worse.

    I can’t think of any group besides the white male oligarchies that Musk likes. He just follows the right wingnut herd and hates everybody else. In this case, he is piling on the Trans people because he must think their lives aren’t hard enough as it is right now.

    If Musk lived in Nazi Germany, he would be complaining that the SS isn’t killing enough people fast enough.