Here’s an interesting way to start a company: Buy another company, change the entire functionality and branding, and port all of the users over in one fell swoop.
Your first step, which might be a stretch for most of us, would be to launch multiple startups and become the richest person in the world. No problem on that one, right?
Let me backup a little.
If you came up with this plan, you’d start by launching a payment management app that everyone will use. Then, just for fun, you’d change the entire electric car landscape and also launch a commercial aerospace company that builds rockets and satellite networks. While you’re at it, you’d find the time to create a side company that bores through the planet to make your commute shorter, and launch a company that makes a neural implant.
Most of us couldn’t even do one of those things in life, but then — after all of those milestones — you’d decide to buy a social media company for $44 billion. Even if you tried to back out, you’d go through with it anyway.
At first, people would think your foray into the world of social media was due to a personal interest in competing with Facebook or changing how we communicate with each other.
That would be a woefully misguided sentiment, though.
No, instead of purchasing the social media company, you’d purchase the users of the social media company. And then you’d transform the company you purchased into something completely different, without their consent or even interest. You’d wake up one morning and decide to change the company name, the logo, and the entire purpose of the company. However, the new company would bring along 330 million users for the ride.
I have to say, that’s downright brilliant. And crazy. And very unrealistic.
Imagine doing this with anything else in life. You’d build a grocery store and get people hooked on the low prices and amazing customer service. Then, one day, you’d decide to change the store and make it a smoke shop or a laundromat. People might object, right? Or take the example of an electric car. You’d put a battery inside of the car, but then — when the car needs service and when the customer isn’t looking — you’d decide to drop in a combustion engine instead.
I’m not sure if those plans would work.
But then again, I’m not Elon Musk.
The guy has started all of those companies and turned Twitter into the X app in the blink of an eye, with hints of even more transformation.
When I logged into Twitter the other day, I didn’t see the name Twitter. I saw a big X at the top. I am now a user of X, even though I barely know what it is or why I would use it. WeChat mixed with PayPal? Not sure. I don’t remember ever wanting to use the X app or agreeing to start using it. And yet, here we are.
By the way, he told us he would do this:
I don’t think it will work, though. Like the grocery store becoming a laundromat, there’s something sneaky about the whole affair. The domain is the same, the customers all look familiar, but there’s a completely different purpose to the app.
In the end, it seems like Musk has invented a whole new idea: A really creative way to completely destroy a company and a brand, and a way to really annoy your users.