Elon Musk was consulted by Robert Downey Jr. before he took on the role of Tony Stark, the Iron Man, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies because it was thought that Musk could provide “some insight into what it’d really be like to be Tony Stark.” Such has been Musk’s presence and influence in the tech industry over the years.

In her 2022 book, Elon Musk: Risking It All, journalist and author Michael Vlismas followed the remarkable life of Musk from his South African upbringing to his move to Canada at the age of 17, and finally to the US, where he made millions from PayPal and created two of the most well-known companies in the world, Tesla and SpaceX.

By 2026, SpaceX hopes to put people on Mars, where Musk has had the idea of “actually building a city” since 2016. He, in fact, changed his Twitter bio to read “Technoking of Tesla, Imperator of Mars” earlier. Musk wishes to implant brain chips in humans through his Neuralink. According to Forbes magazine, Elon Musk saw a 10-fold increase in his wealth to $294.2 billion in the first 20 months of the pandemic, up from $24.6 billion in March 2020. In November 2021, the Tesla CEO became the first person in history to amass a $300 billion fortune.

Since then, a lot has transpired. After a bizarre 2022, he is no longer the richest man on the planet. Worse, in 2022, the myth around Musk will have significantly diminished and observers are speculating as to whether he will turn into the sort of joke that Donald Trump has.

It’s mostly due to Twitter Inc. Musk was the bluebird’s primary feeder for many years. He purchased Twitter for a whopping $44 billion, possibly because he wanted to be the “Chief Twit”! That would undoubtedly be a risky step in the aftermath of a pandemic. Within days, 3,700 workers lost their jobs. Other significant tech firms followed suit, but Musk undoubtedly led the show.

Losing advertisers

“Watching Musk run Twitter over the last couple of months has been like watching a toddler trying to drive a train — “chaotic” doesn’t even begin to cover it,” journalist Arwa Mahdawi recently wrote in an essay for The Guardian. He lost 50 of the top 100 advertisers on Twitter. Additionally, Tesla’s stock price has plummeted along with Musk’s personal wealth as a result of the instability at Twitter.

Musk claimed that Twitter employees must work 80 hours per week. Even Jack Ma, who propagated the infamous 996 work culture in 2019 (9 am to 9 pm, six days a week), would sound lenient! Trump, Sam Bankman-Fried, and Elon Musk have recently been depicted as the monsters of American capitalism by American political pundit Robert Reich. “For them, and for everyone who still regards them as heroes, there is no morality in business or economics. The winnings go to the most ruthless,” thought Reich.

Twitter’s new boss, Elon Musk, posted a poll asking users whether he should resign as CEO amid the company’s upheaval and a significant backlash to Twitter’s abrupt suspension of numerous journalists who cover Musk, as well as its move to ban, and then un-ban, links to other social media platforms. Well, nearly 58 per cent of respondents said “yes.” As soon as he finds “someone foolish enough to take the job!,” Musk tweeted that he would step down. The sooner he gets one, the better for him as well. For the time being, it appears that the myth around Musk may be finally crumbling.

The writer is Professor of Statistics, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata