By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index
As he took over Twitter, Elon Musk updated his Twitter bio to describe himself as “Chief Twit”.
Whether it was meant to ironic, clueless, or just honest, the title certainly fits.
He also posted a video of himself carrying a white sink into the lobby of the company’s headquarters with the accompanying tweet “Let that sink in”.
He also said he met a lot of “cool people” at Twitter headquarters.
And he was planning on firing 75% of them.
25% of them almost immediately.
Besides “Chief Twit”, Mr. Musk (ever notice how rarely anyone calls him Mr. Musk? Could it be because so few of us can even begin to consider him an adult?) essentially declares himself “The One”, the premier, the lord and savior and, of course, the one who must never be questioned.
And, as we all know, he may be in rarified territory, but he is not alone.
There seems to be a competition of sorts among those who lead some of the major, most dominant companies of our economy right now.
To put it mildly, “twit” has never been a compliment.
At best, a “twit” is a foolishly annoying person, a jerk, a dork or an oaf. Or worse.
To put it simply, a person who is considered a “twit” is, at minimum, NOT someone who should be revered, commended, publicly rewarded or followed.
But, as the saying goes, that was then, and this is now.
Previous eras might have had their own “confederacy of dunces” in business or in politics (or their counterparts in other settings, from religion to education to local neighborhoods) but we, in the 2020s have our own version – a cast of corporate “twits” – each one, apparently, trying to out-twit the others.
Here are a few more contenders for the ultimate twit.
And don’t forget – we all cast our vote in the marketplace on a regular basis for our nominee of the greatest twit of them all.
Kanye West (aka “Ye”) said he lost $2 billion in one day after multiple companies cut ties with him.
Ye’s Adidas deal was valued at about $1.5 billion, but the firm scrapped it after his continuously flowing offensive and inflammatory remarks.
In other words, West, in one day, lost more than the entire net worth of many whole nations – not because of stock market swings, cyber-hacking, mismanagement or even poor business decisions – but purely because of his blatantly anti-Semitic rantings across social media.
Keeping the hustle alive, West tried to make new deals – in one case he approached Skechers headquarters – uninvited – with the possible goal of finding a new manufacturing and distribution partner for his trademark shoes – Yeezy.
His offers were not welcomed at the Jewish-owned and operated company – as security immediately escorted him out of the building.
Most of us would be devastated by the loss of the GDP of an entire nation, but Ye remains defiant. As Ye put it on one social media format, “THE MONEY IS NOT WHO I AM THE PEOPLE IS WHO I AM.”
Ye’s fortunes might be dropping by the minute, but he is still a market player with his remaining wealth in music, cash, real estate, and his stake in Kim Kardashian’s clothing line.
And if you think your investment portfolio is tanking, consider Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook/Metaverse empire.
Mark Zuckerberg’s social media complex fell 40 per cent after the company reported that Facebook’s daily user base dropped for the first time ever by one million users in October.
That translates to $240 billion of market value contraction for the company, the largest loss in US history – with Mr. Zuckerberg personally losing $36 billion in net worth.
This is part of a larger trend.
In February of 2022, Meta, the parent of Facebook and Instagram, dropped out of the world’s top 10 most valuable companies for the first time since 2015.
Many industry insiders are saying that Zuckerberg should fire himself as Meta CEO.
The Everything store
Once touted as “The everything store”, Amazon has been in decline in 2022.
Amazon suffered steep losses in year-over-year income as post-pandemic shopping habits returned and inflation hit even online retailers.
In its third quarter 2022 earnings report Amazon revealed that operating income decreased to $2.5 billion in Q3 2022 compared to $4.9 billion the same quarter last year. Net income dipped to $2.9 billion versus $3.2 billion during Q3 of 2021.
For years business journals and books promoted Jeff Bezos, and by extension, Amazon, as corporate leaders who could do no wrong.
A global pandemic was a gift to online services from Netflix to YouTube to Amazon, but as we all start talking to each other and resuming something approximating real life, our dollars and hours are far more likely to be committed to activities or relationships than the ever-present screens.
In January of 2022, Apple became the first company ever to surpass $3 trillion market value.
But not for long.
Apple’s most high demand products like iPhones, iMacs and tablets propelled Apple to new heights of valuation in every sense, but whenever sales eventually slowed, the company’s market capitalization suffered.
Depending on how you count value (dollar sales, profits, percentage of change) and apparently, the time of day, value of the dollar or the mood of the economy, the largest corporation in the world could be Tesla, Microsoft, Walmart, Google or Meta (previously known as Facebook).
In short, the biggest players of today may not be so big tomorrow.
As Warren Buffett famously said, the stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient. That just might sum up the economy of the 2020s – if not every economy.
But no matter where the economy goes, capable, if boring, leadership might be better for all of us than the celebrity twits we have in charge today.