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Elon Musk’s Bonehead Move? Xerox, Kleenex, BlackBerry, Google And Twitter
If you’re old enough to remember working in a traditional office, you know that no matter the make of the copy machine, you said you’re making a Xerox. Not a copy.
You also probably say, pass me a Kleenex, not tissue.
No matter the platform, you’re Googling something, not searching for it. Google’s name change made Google a subsidiary of Alphabet. But no matter the corporate structure you refer to all things Google as Google, not Alphabet.
Mark Zuckerberg did something similar when he changed his company’s name from Facebook to Meta Platforms. Means very little on the ground. Facebook is and will always be Facebook. Same for Instagram and WhatsApp.
Then there’s the case of Research In Motion. Yes, the company that effectively started the smartphone craze eventually and stubbornly changed its name to BlackBerry. Why? Because that’s the name and brand that took hold in business and popular culture.
Apple never had to change its name to iPhone because none of the company’s products, as wildly popular as they became, ever overshadowed the Apple name. This says a lot about good marketing and distinct products and services.
What’s in a name varies from situation to situation and motivation to motivation.
Enter Twitter. And Elon Musk. You know the deal. Musk is ditching the Twitter name and all that it entails in favor of his all-purpose app, X.
Sheep that they are, everybody’s falling in line, calling this a bonehead move. Particularly analysts and so-called brand experts who – in lock step with one another – refer to Musk’s decision as everything from completely irrational to flat stupid. Their estimates on just how much brand value Musk destroyed range from $4 billion to $20 billion.
Actually watch and listen to an interview with Elon Musk – even or especially a recent one – and you don’t see some guy flying by the seat of pants. Here again, how you feel about the man is one thing. But he’s hardly a bumbling idiot making impulsive decisions. In those interviews, you see a thoughtful person. Maybe a tad too thoughtful and cerebral. It’s as if he thinks way too hard about each word he’s going to say as it travels from his brain to his lips.
And, as an aside, none of his fellow automakers produce as American a product as Musk does at Tesla.
But, we digress…
Here’s our somewhat unconventional thinking on what Musk did at Twitter and how it absolutely has or should have no impact on your life, as a human or long-term investor.
But, more importantly:
Thanks largely to social media, we grab our pitchforks, latch onto a consensus, then bash the hell out of people when they make what we all agree is a horrible decision. We’re the judge and jury before all of the facts are even in.
Truth is Musk has a vision for what X will become. And, based on a pretty good track record, he deserves – at the very least – some time to execute that vision no matter how bad things look – or how the media and public make them look – in the moment.
The Bottom Line: Ultimately, this is a soap opera. While we love to follow along, we also think the Twitter/X story gets too much play. Platforms that are supposed to or proclaim to help you with investing can’t get enough of this story. They love and get consumed by the spectacle. Oddly, they play right into Musk’s hands. He’ll take his hits as he waits on the last laugh.
If you’re a long-term investor, remember this is not stock market news. The whole thing about Meta owning the rights to X has little, if anything to do with what’s happening at Facebook, Instagram or with the real shitshow we should be talking about as investors – Threads.
Over here at The Juice, we’re slightly more worried about Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to execute than Elon Musk’s.
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