Home » Business » Interview: I don’t think Twitter ever actually fit into Musk’s legacy – Prof Tim Hubbard
Elon Musk

Interview: I don’t think Twitter ever actually fit into Musk’s legacy – Prof Tim Hubbard

A Professor at the University of University of Notre Dame has said Twitter is a distraction to Tesla owner Elon Must as the social media platform would not fit into his legacy.

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Prof. Tim Hubbard revealed this to Aljazeera today during a live interview. Hubbard, who is an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, where his research focuses on strategic leadership. He spoke from Indiana, US.

Musk cited Fake accounts on the platform. And on Friday he called off the deal accusing Twitter of breaching the terms of the agreement. The company says it will now sue Musk to make sure the deal goes ahead.

“Yeah, I think if you stand back and you think about the legacy of Elon Musk, he is one of those types of people that can change the world. And that could be in terms of electric cars, it could be in terms of getting, you know, humans to Mars and greater involvement in space. He also at the same time, is able to take on these grand challenges.”

Hubbard said “to me, it always seemed like a distraction, something that he was going to do because he was interested in and he was frustrated with Twitter. But if you stand back and think about what we hope his legacy is going to be I think it’s going to be running … trying to tackle things that are going to help humanity more broadly.”

Tim Hubbard

Tim Hubbard full interview on Elon Musk

Musk’s business decision to pull out of buying Twitter?

But then if we stand back and we think about what Elon Musk is trying to do in terms of business in humanity, I think he’s trying to push the world forward and with Twitter, I think he saw a different avenue to do that in terms of discourse and public human public policy and trying to understand how people communicate with each other. But I think in the end, he’s going to be able to go back to his technical companies, specifically Tesla, and SpaceX, where their engineering problems and it’s a little bit different management style than he would have had to deal with a Twitter

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Broader ramifications of this on any future business ventures?

I think one thing that we have to keep in mind is that he is the type of person that can change directions very quickly. We’ve seen that is as business practices, both the Tesla and the Twitter where he tried to take over obviously, I think that he’s always going to kind of have that where he’s gonna get interested in something and go down that path a little bit. But he’ll always kind of come back to the core of what he’s trying to do. I think Twitter is just the latest example of that. And so any future deals I think are always going to be viewed in this life where if they he has a credible offer for something everybody’s going to stand back and go, is he actually going to follow through with that, or is he going to dabble in this idea and kind of growl markets up and then go back to what he’s interested in actually doing.

As someone whose research focuses on strategic leadership. What do you think that says about his leadership qualities?

I think it makes it a little bit tough in terms of trying to work with investors. He brought a lot of people on to the Twitter from diverse group of investors. And so now he’s got strained relationships with all these people that he’s trying to work with in order to put this deal together. And so from a leadership perspective within the companies, I don’t think it changes very much but it definitely changes the way that he approaches working with outside investors, outside stakeholders and companies that he might be interested in in the future.

What do you think is next? Do you think Musk is prepared to face a protracted legal battle with Twitter?

Unfortunately, I do. I think that a legal battle is almost guaranteed. And the problem there is that he’s gonna then have his attention divided again, and he kind of walked down that path anyway, when he was thinking about buying Twitter. You know, he’s already running Tesla and SpaceX. So he’s got 100,000 employees, approximately, between the two. And so if you add on Twitter, it’s that much more management to handle. In this case, if you get sued, he’s still going to have to give that attention. To Twitter just in the form of a lawsuit. And so his management attention is going to definitely have to drift away unfortunately, from the two core businesses that he’s running, and so he tried to buy Twitter and that was going to take his time away anyway, once you step in and say that they really are not going to actually get the benefit of owning Twitter, but you’re going to be involved in all of these legal battles that are going to come about, it’s just going to be that much more challenging for him.

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Tim, we’ve just been playing vision of Elon Musk going about his daily business dancing on stage and the like at Tesla events. What does his colourful character say about his leadership style?

Colourful character actually enables him to do a little bit more unorthodox things in terms of how he manages his company. So for example, he can be the type that can get angry in a meeting because it kind of seems normal with the personification that he’s kind of built, and the way that he leads. And so as he’s diving into these very technical problems and answering questions and trying to make decisions with people, he always has the ability to kind of go in any direction he wants, and there’s benefits to that and then there’s drawbacks to that benefits, you know, you can change on a dime how you want to, they want to approach business and how you want to manage but at the same time, employees never quite know how he’s going to react to things and so, as far as I understand it, he he does have that dual thing where some employees love it in terms of he can, they can you know, take risks and try different things but at the same time, so employees kind of get a little bit disturbed, if you will, by just how unpredictable he can be.

He was focusing on social media and it does have a role to play I guess in society, but also focusing on something like electric cars is also important. To do you think that sort of says a lot about where he’s putting his energy now going forward?

Yeah, I think if you stand back and you think about the legacy of Elon Musk, he is one of those types of people that can change the world. And that could be in terms of electric cars, it could be in terms of getting, you know, humans to Mars and greater involvement in space. He also at the same time, is able to take on these grand challenges and if we stand back and think about his legacy, I think his legacy is going to be that I don’t think Twitter ever actually fit into that legacy. To me, it always seemed like a distraction, something that he was going to do because he was interested in and he was frustrated with Twitter. But if you stand back and think about what we hope is legacy he’s going to be I think it’s going to be running some of these grand challenges and trying to tackle things that are going to help humanity more broadly.

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