My notes and cartoon map in response to the Wardley mapping challenge:
Elon Musk’s businesses tend to be highly integrated. SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, OpenAI and Twitter, develop or fork technology and subsequently build on that technology. And to begin with, each of these businesses don’t have much in the way of competition.
Operating at the opposite end of the spectrum to “big finance”, you might call it hyper-engineering, Elon aims to establish monopolies. Monopolies not at risk of becoming “too big to fail” or “too big to save”, but rather “too useful to destroy”.
Reading the transcript of the meeting with Twitter employees, one form of gameplay I sense is operating integrated businesses that accelerate at a faster rate than the regulators can assimilate and respond to.
Arguably, Twitter was designed to exploit human attention during the era of advertising business models. A side effect of advertising technology was the emergence of walled gardens. Switching to a subscription-based model and aiming to become a WeChat + WeChat Pay clone changes things - Twitter becomes an extensible marketplace.
By offering a flexible payment system and an extensible plugin architecture, Twitter will not only pose a serious threat to AWS et al, but to Amazon e-commerce too. The objective is to establish Twitter as the default CBDC app.
In this respect, Elon as “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” evolves into a baseline CRM. Longform tweets + subscriptions will disrupt Substack. Payments + mapping + Tesla technology could disrupt Uber et al. Moreover, a plugin architecture will pose a serious threat to app stores.
To become the default CBDC app and public application platform (further up the tech stack than AWS/Azure/GCP), you first need to become the world’s biggest and most effective sensing network.
I view Twitter as the IE6 of social media. In the next decade we’ll look back and realise just how primitive Twitter was as a communication platform. No wonder we became so polarised. Elon’s intervention is analogous to the introduction of Chrome in 2008. His antics will stimulate others to innovate.
So, Twitter becomes the default messaging, voting and CBDC app. The default platform for retail banking, for building communities, building businesses and marketplaces both on Earth, and Mars.
Central banks lack the expertise to implement CBDCs. Elon is simply building a platform that central banks will be forced to adopt. The attractor (and distraction) at the moment is “protecting free speech”. Everyone is arguing about what Twitter is, or what Twitter should be.
In a CBDC wonderland, AI will play a greater role in policymaking and regulation. Operating within limited time and resource constraints, will CBDCs enable hyper-government, or will hyper-government emerge with the introduction of CBDCs?
What does seem certain is that AI will play a greater role in policymaking and regulation. To try and put a positive spin on things, AI operating at a hyper-government level may actually help us to better understand one another.
Adapted from an illustration by @swardley