On Monday, Elon Musk ran a poll asking whether he should step down from Twitter. It drew 17.5 million users — 57% voted “Yes”, i.e. that Musk should give up his post.
There’ a little problem: It emerged that bots, lots of them, voted. A separate poll taken by an independent company, showed more people wanted Musk to stay put.
Despite the “bots” issue, Musk may honour his word. But then, till date, no replacement had been announced/found. If he does relinquish his post, these are the possible replacements, according to tech speculators:
He probably knows Twitter more than anyone else: he was founder the CEO of both Twitter and Square, a payment platform. He came under pressure from investors who believed Twitter was not getting enough attention while also at the helm at Square.
Dorsey not only left Twitter, but he also resigned from his board seat, meaning he has had no known connection with Musk aside from originally supporting his purchase. Dorsey left, finally, as CEO in November 2021. But he has stepped in twice to run Twitter, so might it be third-time lucky?
The Indian-American technocrat is technologist, engineer, investor and a partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He has invested in Atlys, and also serves on the boards of several firms, including Hopin. He has previously directed product development teams at Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo!, Snapchat, and Facebook. He is a close confidante of Musk and was charged by the billionaire to monetise the site.
More importantly, Krishnan is one of the few people chosen to be a part of the acquisition core team. He describes pro wrestling as a hobby and believes in the “necessity of having a theatrical entrance,” which Musk may find appealing. He and his wife run a podcast and YouTube channel.
The PayPal investor and founding member (together with Musk) has been a crucial figure behind Musk’s acquisition of Twitter — foreshadowing some of his friend’s most eye-catching moves. Musk and Sacks have many things in common.
Sacks, a partner at San Francisco-based Craft Ventures, shares Musk’s outspoken approach on anything from COVID to Ukraine. Like Musk, Sacks holds strong opinions, and support for, free speech. Sacks famously told US media that he hoped Musk’s Twitter takeover would “inspire other people to push back against these authoritarian tendencies in the West”. Should Musk step down from Twitter, it will most likely be to a loyal lieutenant like Sacks.
Fridman is a Russian-American computer scientist, AI researcher at MIT and podcast host. On Dec. 19, Fridman offered to replace Musk at Twitter “for free”.
To which Musk replied approvingly: “You must like pain a lot. One catch: you have to invest your life savings in Twitter and it has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May. Still want the job?” Popular psychologist Jordan Peterson, once banned by Twitter (now restored) endorsed Fridman, whose podcast hosted not only Musk but also to its co-founder, Jack Dorsey.
Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao is also a key investor in Twitter, after his company reportedly invested $500 million in Musk’s initiative. Zhao, known by his initials CZ, has a net worth of more than $13 billion.
His management of Binance is under investigation following the collapse of rival exchange FTX. CZ, a Musk fan, urged Musk to stay in place, although he may not be interested in monitoring the company himself, especially with his own finances potentially jeopardised.
Since Musk’s departure has been subjected to a popular vote (albeit now only among “blue” users), his replacement should be chosen in the same manner. So, pn December 19, Snoop Dogg ran a quick Twitter poll in which 3.4 million users voted — 80 per cent picked “Yes” to his question “Should I run Twitter?”
Snoop Dogg, 50, owns Death Row Records. In 2014, the artist behind ‘Doggy Dogg World’ was one of several investors who put together a total of $50 million to Reddit’s fundraising, including Peter Thiel and Sam Altman.
There's much speculation after the son-in-law of US ex-president Donald Trump was pictured with Musk at Sunday’s World Cup final in Qatar, prompting some to ponder over the connection between the two men. Kushner was White House senior advisor during the Trump administration. But whether or not Musk would offer him the post, and he would agree, is anyone’s guess.
Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower, was obviously joking when he offered to lead Twitter.
Ever since he leaked information on US intelligence agencies’ widespread internet and phone eavesdropping, Snowden has been a pariah in America. However, considering his espionage allegations in the US, it appears like administering Twitter from Moscow would be tough.
A shoot-from-the-ship Musk may be replaced by a more circumspect version of himself. Musk is known for EVs (Tesla) and rockets (Space X and Starlink), but his core competency is that of a coder, having written a game at age 12 (Blastar) and the code behind PayPal, the first online payments platform.
So he knows a fair bit about making the spaghetti of codes to put apps together. With those two elements — software and servers — under Musk’s control, Twitter would still be Twitter, a microblogging site everyone loves to hate. And Elon Musk would still be Elon Musk — mercuric, unpredictable, stellar disruptor.