Actually Elon, We Wish You’d Stop Being an Influencer and Just Do Your Job

The Tesla CEO asked Twitter if he should quit his jobs and become an influencer full-time

Elon Musk at the Axel Springer Award ceremony in Berlin, Germany on December 1, 2020
Elon Musk at the Axel Springer Award ceremony in Berlin, Germany on December 1, 2020.
Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty

Elon Musk has many jobs. You know him as the CEO (sorry, Technoking) of Tesla, but he’s also the CEO of SpaceX alongside his work at The Boring Company, Neuralink and OpenAI. The question of when he’ll step down from his post at Tesla, potentially to focus on SpaceX, potentially to retire with his billions, has long been debated, but on Thursday night he floated his own thoughts on the matter on Twitter.

“[T]hinking of quitting my jobs & becoming an influencer full-time wdyt,” Musk wrote.

Per his own question, what do we think? I think he’s already a full-time influencer and should quit that side-hustle to focus on doing his actual jobs.

Look, I don’t care what Elon does. Quit all your jobs, stay at Tesla, go start some secret society with Jack Dorsey, do what makes you happy. Elon isn’t known for thinking before he tweets, so this could just be a case of him shitposting. On the other hand, as we saw with his Twitter poll about selling off stock in November, Musk had already arranged to sell off some of his stake in Tesla in September. In that particular case, his seemingly cavalier tweets were actually serious portents of things to come.

So if we treat this tweet with a similar gravity, no, Musk shouldn’t quit his jobs. As we’ve seen, he’s done a brilliant job championing electric vehicles and beginning the seismic shift we need to decarbonize personal transportation, one that may not have happened as quickly if it were not for his outsized personality and the technology to back up his enthusiasm. And he’s shown it’s not just about EV technology for him, it’s about climate change

The problem is that Musk’s desire to be an influencer is getting in the way of real accomplishments. Last year, instead of focusing on navigating the emerging problems of the pandemic with his employees in mind, he was vying for the crown of biggest COVID misinformation spreader on Twitter. Instead of creating a bond of trust with the public by safely and responsibly developing autonomous vehicle technology, he’s prioritized being a trendsetter. Instead of putting down his phone and getting to work, it seems like he’s been trying to see how many rules he can break in under 280 characters.

Of course, Musk’s controversial actions and opinions are part of his appeal, so it’s unlikely he’d ever go cold turkey on Twitter and give up his influencer status (bad memes and all). But the question then becomes, what does he value more: his current clout or his eventual legacy?

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