Why Elon Musk should be followed


Ohen I’m still on Twitter, people want to know about me. Shrugging, “Why shouldn’t I?” doesn’t come off very well, necessitating justification. I’m not a particularly active user, the number of my followers has settled at around 5000. It’s not great, but okay. I check in a few times a day. Not always, but always I come out with a few suggestions from clever people.

Rainer Hank

Freelance author in the business section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

So why should I resign? Sure, because of Elon Musk, the villain who, after some back and forth, bought the store for 44 billion euros and is now behaving as a elephant in a china shop. I read in Manager Magazin that the man is “unpredictable”, is dominated by “negative emotions”: He acts “impulsively and irrationally through and through”, enslaves his employees, who are now running away from him unless he has fired them first.

Elon Musk, an egomaniac, a git. That is the image that is drawn of him, although probably very few of those who portray him now have ever seen the man. I was about to ask why anyone is still active on Twitter, why they pay for advertising there and why they haven’t all emigrated to Mastodon long ago, if a look at Anglo-Saxon newspapers hadn’t corrected the image of the German media.

After joining Twitter, the numbers went up to 245 million, more users than ever before. Well, Twitter can’t compete with the almost three billion people who romp around on Facebook. But why are users increasing when Twitter is a mess and Musk is a beast? The newcomers cannot all be lost Trumpists.

Don’t worry, I don’t want to be friends with Elon Musk. I’m interested in three things: What did the man do? Why does he attract so much hate? Do great entrepreneurs have to be nice people?

Instead of thanks, criticism hails

Let’s start with entrepreneurial performance. When everyone in this country was already painting the impending climate catastrophe on the wall, Musk began in California to build electric cars under the Tesla brand, which also somehow look nice. Instead of the managers and engineers in the home country of the car manufacturers copying something, they either ignored Musk at Mercedes & Co or derided him as a crank. This crazy idea with battery cars was not for the mass market, said the nine-wise wise in the mid-nineties.

Musk is now convinced of the opposite: the batteries store more electricity, the cars will soon drive themselves – and that even in our country. Against all bureaucratic resistance, Musk set up a factory in Brandenburg where half a million cars will roll off the assembly line in the final stage. And where (the north-east is not exactly the structurally strongest area in Germany) up to 40,000 workers will have their income.

But what happens? Instead of four-part welcome choruses being sung to him by IG Metall and Fridays for Future, criticism rains down. The unions criticize that he has not long since established a works council and joined the employers’ association. The climate rescuers are concerned about the Brandenburg bee and the groundwater level. The AfD joins the protests in solidarity.



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