Elon Musk is known for his wacky, un-corporate behavior, but Sunday’s rap song about dead meme “RIP Harambe” was a classic.
The heavily auto-tuned song, which at first listen doesn’t appear to be the Tesla boss, is as surreal as it is out of date. The tech- billionaire will get skewered for this one, but it is a classic example of his unique brand of media alchemy.
While Musk’s social media presence has faced a myriad of controversies in the past, some with actual legal complications, “RIP Harambe” is one of the most off the wall. There is no back story to this, no inside joke nor subtle reference. This is just a mysterious song relating to something which was popular for a while and then faded as all memes do eventually.
It actually doesn’t matter what the Tesla CEO’s mindset is here. Elon Musk sent out a random thing, and the internet exploded. He could have had a $1 million bet with a friend at home that he could get to no1 on trending posting a silly song they found, who knows? What matters is what happened. He commanded the attention of the world effortlessly.
If you sit on Tesla’s board your job is to sell cars. Period. Yes, Elon can talk about saving the world and innovation, etc. but as a business, you care about the numbers. Seeing what transpired on Sunday, how could you ever consider not having Musk involved with Tesla anymore. The SEC could send him packing as CEO, and he would be worth his weight in Gold as a pure figurehead.
People like to talk a lot about the cult-like following Tesla has. Well, I’d argue it isn’t the electric cars they’re obsessed with, it’s the electric founder running the show. Musk is that rarest of things among public CEO’s; he’s a risk taker. In a world that prefers a safe pair of hands approach, it’s no wonder he stands out above all others.
Online marketing is a war-zone with everyone clamoring to hold influence in their little corner of the internet. Elon Musk isn’t part of this war. He has already won. Sunday’s demonstration was a classic demonstration of the sheer scale of the marketing muscle he has. In the Tesla and Space-X boss, investors have both the most significant social influencer on the planet and a visionary designer.
“RIP Harambe” should be a warning to those who think Tesla will go down without a fight as the battle for electric-car supremacy heats up over the next few years.
So long as they have Musk at the helm, they will have a guy with Steve Job’s charisma who understands his consumer better than anyone CEO on the planet. The similarities to the former Apple Boss are eerie. Jobs was fired from Apple and it is plausible after SEC action Elon could be on his way out too.
Tesla shareholders will be hoping that Harambe’s death in the Cincinnati Zoo isn’t a metaphor for how Musk sees things turning out with the SEC.
“There’s a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their ass-covering.” – Elon Musk