Elon Musk held a giant conference call for advertisers and more than 100,000 other people Wednesday. He sounded thoughtful about his plans for Twitter, unsure about how it was all going to work out, but solicitous of feedback. “I only got the keys to the building last Friday,” he said, adding later: “I’m open to ideas.”
The problem for Musk is the advertisers he has spooked since buying Twitter for $44 billion are unlikely to be swayed by any of this. They tell me they don’t mind what Musk says in outreach calls like this. They’re concerned about what he does and what he tweets.
Those concerns are going to mount. A day after Musk hosted his call for advertisers, the two executives that accompanied him on that call and on a similar call a week earlier — Robin Wheeler, his head of ad sales, and Yoel Roth, his head of trust and safety — resigned, per multiple reports. Musk has also told employees that the company may be headed for bankruptcy if it can’t cut costs and increase revenue.
This is a new problem for Musk, who became the world’s richest man by selling electric cars and building rocket ships, and not by caring about what other people think about him. Or, at least, not caring what controversy-hating advertisers think about him.
But now he very much has to. At the moment, advertisers are Twitter’s entire revenue stream, and they aren’t happy with Musk. If he can’t turn