Elon Musk is so tall

The following appeared in the “Reno Evening Gazette”, January 4, 1964.

“When Dean [Martin]Frank [Sinatra] and their pal Sammy Davis Jr. appeared at the 11th anniversary of the Las Vegas Sands, Dean bowed to Frank and said, “It’s your world, Frank; I just live in it.”

Version of the day: It’s your world, Elon; I just live in it.

Elon Musk has been compared to everyone from Steve Jobs to Howard Hughes to Thomas Edison and of course Tony Stark, but Sinatra is also suitable. Old Blue Eyes was perhaps “king of the world”, “top of the heap” and had its detractors. But Musk’s influence extends far beyond Sinatra’s. As a global icon and businessman, Musk wields far more power than a pop culture figure.

I’m not judging Musk and his actions here — bloodsport on Twitter and elsewhere — but I state it as fact. What I mean is that Musk’s empire, wealth and agency have never been stronger, bigger and higher – and they probably haven’t peaked either. Let’s take a look at each.

Empire

Musk is famous for controlling and/or dominating a family of companies, including two giant disruptors: Tesla (TSLA), and SpaceX, as well as The boring company, Neuralink and Open AI. Then there are the subsidiaries – for example Starlink in the case of SpaceX and Tesla Energy in the case of Tesla. Also consider the other companies Musk helped found and/or invested in, including Zip2 (bought by Compaq – which was bought by HP), PayPal and DeepMind (bought by Google), and the companies founded by employees who left these efforts.

Privately held SpaceX is worth more than $100 billion (up from $74 billion a year ago), according to Crunchbase, a rare centicorn (or is it a hectocorn), behind China’s ByteDance (owner of TikTok) and China’s Ant Group as the most valuable private company on the planet. Tesla is now worth over $1 trillion, compared to 34 billion dollars three years ago. (That’s 23X!)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures as he tours the construction site of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany August 13, 2021. Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters

“All I can say about the human being itself is in terms of all of their movements – either they’ve been validated or they haven’t been proven wrong,” says Philippe Houchois, Tesla analyst at Jefferies of Musk. .

“Elon Musk was wrongfully written off by much of the corporate community for his clownish behavior which was such a big distraction,” adds Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, professor of management at Yale University.

These lofty valuations don’t begin to speak to the import and impact of Tesla and SpaceX. What value do you place on leading the global transportation industry to move away from fossil fuels and into the electric age? Or accelerate the exploration and perhaps colonization of space while perhaps providing reliable internet to the world?

Richness

This one is easy. Elon Musk, 50, is the richest person in the world, with today 276 billion dollars, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, $87 billion richer than No. 2 on the list, Jeff Bezos. Musk is richer than Bezos and his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott combined, richer than all members of the Walton family combined. Statistical estimates “The average US resident would have to work 3 million years at an average annual salary of $69,392” to accumulate Musk’s fortune. (Better crack!)

Also note that Musk is the most popular billionaire in the country, according to Voxwith 50% polled saying they had a favorable view – Democrats and Republicans equal, btw – and “a staggering” 66% of men seeing it favorably.

Looking at the other big billionaires – Gates, Page, Arnault and Buffett – who would you bet has the most advantage in the future? This agrees with this recent study on Musk becomes the world’s first billionaire. The methodology, which appears to be some sort of extrapolation, suggests Musk will get there in 24 months. (We will return.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Brandenburg State Minister-President Dietmar Woidke and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, left to right, attend the opening of the Tesla Berlin Brandenburg factory in Gruenheide, Germany, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The first European Grünheide plant, designed for 500,000 vehicles per year, is an important pillar of Tesla's future strategy.  (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Brandenburg State Minister-President Dietmar Woidke and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, left to right, attend the opening of the Tesla Berlin Brandenburg factory in Gruenheide, Germany, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The first European Gr’nheide plant, designed for 500,000 vehicles per year, is an important pillar of Tesla’s future strategy. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP)

Agency

As I’m sure you’ve seen this week, Musk revealed he bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter (making him the company’s largest shareholder), which spiked the action and earned him more than half a billion dollars. Musk, who will sit on the company’s board, first said he was a passive investor, then changed it to an active one. (SEC Rules are such a problem, right?)

Twitter (TWTR) is from Musk way to communicate with his 80.7 million followers, (he got 4.4 million “yes” or “no” votes on whether the platform should have an editing feature). Musk uses Twitter to disintermediate the media, which makes sense because he has 10 times more viewers than “60 Minutes” subscribers or 20 times the Wall Street Journal, although his position on Twitter maybe not the advantage the market seems to think.

Musk likes to lock horns with other global alpha males, such as Bezos (rival space efforts), Joe Biden (unions) and Putin (Ukraine.) Obama and Trump not so much, although I bet Musk loved this recent headline: “Twitter Stock Explodes as Elon Musk Invests; Donald Trump SPAC dives »

Every morning at Yahoo Finance, we have an editorial meeting. Musk and his companies return almost every day, sometimes more than once (yesterday was the Inauguration of the “cyber rodeo” of Austin). The same goes for newsrooms around the world. No other person matches this.

Last December, I went to the NASDAQ headquarters in Times Square where Musk was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. (In fact, I passed him in a hallway and exchanged pleasantries.) Musk’s model mother maye was there (she also said hello to him), as well as Musk’s then 18-month-old son X, who was very well behaved and stole the show.

Musk spoke about his vision for space: “The goal of SpaceX is to help make humanity a space civilization and ultimately a multi-planet species to expand the scope and scale of consciousness and finally to better understand what questions to ask about the answer which is the universe. Wow. No little things there.

I was seated a few tables away from Martha Stewart, who, looking almost dazzled, shouted, “Hey Elon, when’s the electric truck coming out?”

Oh yeah, it hasn’t even happened yet.

This article was featured in a Saturday edition of the Morning Brief on April 9, 2022. Get the Morning Brief delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday by 6:30 a.m. ET. Subscribe

By Andy Serwer, Editor of Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @server

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, instagram, Flipboard, LinkedInand Youtube

About Dale Davis

Check Also

May 12 – May 16: Events in Pennsylvania, Del. and N.J.

Festivals and legends anchor this weekend’s calendar of events. As the coronavirus pandemic hopefully nears …