While Elon Musk stepped back from his executive position at X.com — appointing former NBCUniversal exec. Linda Yaccarino as CEO — his presence on the platform is still felt, drawing the ire of many including long-time Tesla investors for his inflammatory and controversial posts on the site.

Extremely Hardcore author Zoë Schiffer joins Yahoo Finance Live to talk about her book that illustrates the behind-the-scenes of Twitter leading up to and after Musk’s acquisition of the social media company.

“He said very clearly that he hates advertisers, and the reason for that is very apparent. Advertisers, in one sense, are content moderators — they want a stable platform where their ad will show up next to a tweet from Lebron James, not a hateful comment or a nude photo or anything like that,” Schiffer says on Musk’s own philosophy and vision for X.com “And the reality is that Elon Musk doesn’t want to have those kinds of constraints on the platform.”

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

– Less than two years ago, Elon Musk closed his takeover of Twitter. Cut to present day the app has been renamed X. The company’s headcount has plummeted alongside ad sales.

Musk step back as CEO. But his conduct remains a headache for new leadership in her new book Extremely Hard Core Inside Elon Musk Twitter. Author Zoe Schiffer offers inside details of Musk’s tumultuous tenure at the social media platform.

Zoe, it is great to have you on the show. You know, Zoe, we got a few books now on Elon Musk Twitter. You got your book.

There’s Kurt Wagner. There’s Ben Mezrich I think. So this is a topic getting a lot of attention. Why, Zoe, did you decide though–

Kind of walk us through this work. Why did you decide, Zoe, this was really– this was a subject you wanted to tackle report and write a book on?

ZOE SCHIFFER: But I had spent a year reporting on all of the ins and outs of what had happened in the acquisition and beating out some of the bigger publications to get those stories first. And while I knew that I was going to be competing with many big name authors on this topic, I wanted to tell a very specific story, which is, what it was like being there in the room with Elon Musk as one of the employees as this was all going on?

And so I told the story through the accounts of these four individuals who all had very different experiences, but worked very closely with Elon Musk for the 12 months after he bought the company.

– And, Zoe, as you’ve just been mentioning, you’ve been following Musk’s career for a very long time. He’s certainly a controversial figure. But he does also have this cult like following. So why do you think Musk is such an intriguing figure out there?

ZOE SCHIFFER: I mean, I think it’s been very well-documented that there’s a mutually beneficial relationship between his fans and him. A lot of his fans are also his stockholders. There’s a reason that Tesla is like the number one app on Robinhood that people buy that retail stock in.

And he really indulges that community. And, in return, they really fight for him. And it’s been a situation where as he’s gotten more and more controversial, as he’s kind of slid and become a little more right wing, overtly right wing, his audience, it’s like he’s made of Teflon. Everything kind of slides off of him.

Because he continues to be enormously successful financially. And his fans benefit from that.

– Zoe, I’m interested, you know. Obviously, you spent a lot of time thinking about this company. You know, where it was, where it is, and where it’s headed.

I’m interested in how you think maybe the business model could shift going ahead. I asked because, listen, we all saw Musk at DealBook. And I think at that point, he made his views on advertisers pretty well-known, Zoe.

I’m wondering, in part, do you think he did that because maybe in the future advertising will be less important and somehow the economics of the business could change more subscriptions and AI?

ZOE SCHIFFER: Yeah, you’re spot on. He’s had a goal of divesting Twitter, now called X from advertisers from day one. He said very clearly that he hates advertisers.

And the reason for that is very apparent. Advertisers in one sense are content moderators. They want a stable platform where their ad will show up next to a tweet from LeBron James. Not a hateful comment, or a nude photo, or anything like that.

And the reality is that Elon Musk doesn’t want to have those kinds of constraints on the platform. And so he sees shifting the business model toward subscriptions and artificial intelligence as being a big goal of his. Unfortunately, it’s been very difficult for him to do that so far as we’ve seen with the plummeting sales of Twitter Blue.

– So where then does the future of this business lie? You mentioned AI. But we’ve seen an influx of bots and spam accounts on X, which also goes against what Musk ultimately wants this company to be. So if you don’t have ads, what do you really have to drive this business?

ZOE SCHIFFER: Right now, I’m totally speculating. But he’s talked a lot about going really hard on payments, making X a payments platform in addition to a social platform. You could imagine how that would generate revenue for the business.

I also personally think that his generative AI company X AI that has kind of a synergistic relationship with X will be the main focus. And if he’s continuing to court investment, the investment dollars, you can imagine will go to the AI company which has all of the momentum in the tech industry right now. And X will kind of be a training ground for the large language models that company is building, but maybe won’t be the source of all of the investment and the resources moving forward.

– And Zoe, I’ll get you out of here on this. Just interested to get your take on Linda Yaccarino brought in there Zoe given her expertise, her background, or her contacts on Madison Avenue. What do you make so far of the job she’s been able to do, Zoe? Do you have any sense that she’s been able to make any headway with marketers?

ZOE SCHIFFER: Yeah, I mean, she’s done a pretty masterful job given the situation and continuing to court big name advertisers. She was able to get a bunch of them back for the Super Bowl, in particular. But she’s up against a very difficult situation.

She’s able to get those advertisers back for the Super Bowl at the same time during the Super Bowl. What is Elon Musk tweeting about? He’s tweeting about boobs.

And that’s, again, just not a very attractive situation for your average advertiser. So she’s continuing to try and get them on board. But she’s also having to clean up Elon Musk’s messes.

– Zoe– I’m sorry, Allie. I jumped in. I was so excited. I jumped right into your stuff.

– Listen, Zoe, I’m sure you’re going to have another book to write soon. Because Elon Musk is not going anywhere anytime soon. Zoe Schiffer, thank you so much.

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