Elon Musk can’t do math Skip to content

Elon Musk can’t do math

Elon Musk is apparently bad with numbers. How do we know? Ivonne Rovira explains.

2 min read
Photo by Michal Matlon / Unsplash

I’ve repeatedly pointed out that Republicans cannot do math. So it’s fitting that Elon Musk has pledged his allegiance to the Far Right, ‘cause since he definitely can’t do math. More on that in a moment.

First, forgive the tangent, but I want to comment on Elon Musk’s gob-smacking hubris. (“God grant me the confidence of a mediocre White man.”) Musk would say he has plenty of Silicon Valley experience. Sure, two internships one summer, one with a startup researching electrolytic ultracapacitors and the other with a video-game company that spectacularly crashed and burned. If I were someone with no experience in social-media platforms except for playing Twitter troll, I wouldn’t waltz in and fire anyone who knows anything about it, but I guess that’s why I’m not a billionaire. Or a Twitter troll. Or, for that matter, someone whose main company is worth half of what it was a year ago.

But let’s return to the main subject: innumeracy. In the last fiscal year, even before Elon Musk overpaid $44 billion for Twitter, the company lost $221 million and has only been in the black in two of the past 10 years. Twitter now carries $13 billion in debt, and the company will pay $1 billion a year just in interest.

The real money in Twitter isn’t from nickeling and diming Blue Checks on Twitter but from advertisers. You know – the kind of people who don’t care how many folks are on your platform if you’re going to scare off their customers. (See: Fox News and Ye.)

But, when you can’t do math, you don’t understand that. Musk’s advisors — fellow Tesla heads who also know nothing about social media — recommend that he cut $1 million to $3 million a day from what’s quaintly called “infrastructure costs.” What is that? Why, it’s the kind of policing that would keep Twitter from becoming the free-for-all hellscape that makes advertisers flee. Already, General Motors, Volkswagen (owner of VW, Audi, Porsche, and Bentley), and General Mills have stopped advertising on Twitter. And they’re just the beginning.

So what we have is a pack of Musk minions who won’t understand how math works — until they face a number called Chapter 13.


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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)



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