The Revolutionary Tesla Cybertruck: Elon Musk’s Electrifying Showcase in Austin

In a captivating and meticulously orchestrated event at Tesla’s state-of-the-art headquarters in Austin, Texas, CEO Elon Musk took center stage to passionately introduce the highly anticipated and groundbreaking Cybertruck. Musk’s visionary unveiling promised not just a new vehicle but a radical departure from conventional automotive design, setting the stage for a seismic shift in the industry.

Elon Musk’s Visionary Claims:

Elon Musk, a charismatic entrepreneur known for his audacious proclamations, confidently asserted that the Cybertruck transcends the traditional confines of a pickup truck, emerging as a superior entity that seamlessly combines the robust functionality of a truck with the exhilarating performance of a sports car. The event unfolded in a dimly lit space, deliberately chosen to create an atmosphere of intrigue, underscoring Musk’s grand revelations.

Features That Redefine Toughness:

As Musk delved into the details, he fervently highlighted the Cybertruck’s unparalleled toughness. The vehicle boasts a bulletproof hard steel body and windows that Musk boldly claimed to be “rock-proof.” Its remarkable towing capacity, exceeding 11,000 pounds, positions the Cybertruck as a powerhouse in the electric vehicle (EV) landscape. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 2.6 seconds, coupled with a “super-tough” composite bed measuring six feet long and four feet wide, the Cybertruck exudes a rugged and cutting-edge appeal.

Changing the Roadscape:

Musk, with his characteristic enthusiasm, painted a vivid picture of the future, asserting that the Cybertruck would not merely traverse roads but fundamentally alter their appearance. This bold proclamation implies a departure from the mundane, signaling a shift towards a futuristic aesthetic that aligns with our long-held sci-fi imaginings.

Pricing Uncertainties:

Intriguingly, Musk chose not to delve into specific pricing and battery range details during the event, keeping the audience in suspense. Subsequently, Tesla’s website revealed a rear-wheel drive base model priced around $60,990, a figure significantly higher than the initially targeted $40,000, even before factoring in potential tax breaks or incentives.

Production Challenges and Cautionary Notes:

As Musk presented the first batch of “production Cybertrucks” to an ecstatic audience, he candidly acknowledged the formidable challenges ahead. This admission echoed a more cautious tone expressed in an earlier earnings call, where he highlighted the complexities of achieving volume production and ensuring the Cybertruck’s financial viability.

Tesla’s Forward Plans with the Cybertruck:

Tesla’s website divulges comprehensive plans, outlining various trims for the Cybertruck. These include a base model rear-wheel drive priced at $60,990, a high-performance “Cyberbeast” version at $99,990, and an all-wheel drive variant at $79,900, slated for release in 2025. The projected ranges and acceleration details vary across these distinctive trims, offering consumers a spectrum of options.

Market Dynamics:

Despite Tesla’s ambitious projections, the electric pickup market has experienced a more measured growth compared to initial expectations. Established competitors such as Ford, General Motors, and Rivian have entered the EV arena, each presenting its unique approach to electric pickups, intensifying competition within the sector.

Reservation Buzz and Production Timeline:

Tesla generated unprecedented anticipation by accepting over a million reservations after unveiling the Cybertruck in November 2019. However, the transition from anticipation to reality commenced in July 2023, when Tesla initiated early Cybertruck production. Presently, customers are required to place a $250 deposit to progress with their Cybertruck orders, marking a tangible step toward fulfilling the immense interest generated by the vehicle.

Takeaway:

As Tesla navigates the ever-evolving landscape of electric pickups, the Cybertruck stands not only as a cutting-edge vehicle but as a symbol of innovation and resilience within the automotive industry. Elon Musk’s electrifying showcase in Austin marks a pivotal moment, not merely in Tesla’s journey, but in the ongoing transformation of the automotive landscape.

Elon Musk’s Bold Statements and Controversies

The 2023 DealBook Summit in New York became a stage for Elon Musk, the enigmatic force behind the social media powerhouse X (formerly Twitter), as he plunged into controversy with his candid remarks on advertisers and the tumultuous landscape of the platform.

Elon Musk’s Candid Response to Advertisers:

In an unapologetically direct manner, Elon Musk, renowned for his unfiltered communication style, took the stage to address the advertisers contemplating an exit from X due to the amplification of controversial posts. Musk’s language was explicit but unequivocal as he vehemently rejected any attempts at coercion through advertising funds, delivering a stark message: “Go f— yourself.”

Targeting Disney CEO Bob Iger:

Musk’s boldness didn’t stop there. He singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger in the audience, accentuating his defiance against potential blackmail and making the confrontation personal. Musk went further, implying that his loyal supporters would initiate a boycott against advertisers choosing to sever ties with the platform, promising a meticulous documentation of the downfall of companies that abandoned X.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s Response:

Following Musk’s incendiary comments, X CEO Linda Yaccarino entered the fray, providing additional context and possibly attempting damage control to mitigate the fallout from Musk’s unbridled statements.

Musk’s Apology and Acknowledgment of Mistakes:

Acknowledging the recent promotion of content labeled as “antisemitic and racist hate” by the White House, Musk expressed remorse, deeming it one of the most imprudent actions on the platform. Despite the controversy, Musk vehemently denied any antisemitic inclinations, emphasizing the platform’s strict terms of service against calls for extreme violence.

Impact on Advertisers and Users:

The repercussions from Musk’s inflammatory posts have reverberated across the platform, prompting major advertisers, including industry giants Disney and Apple, to suspend their campaigns on X. The exodus of notable figures, such as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, signals potential challenges for X’s user engagement and raises questions about the platform’s future trajectory.

Musk’s Multi-faceted Roles and Global Presence:

Beyond the confines of X, Elon Musk wears multiple hats as the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. His recent diplomatic engagement in Israel, where he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, underscores his global influence and the intricate interplay between technology, diplomacy, and personal convictions.

UAW Campaigns and Musk’s Views on Unions:

Addressing the campaigns launched by the UAW against Tesla and other automakers, Musk articulated negative views on unions, characterizing them as fostering a divisive “lords and peasants” atmosphere. He suggested that the potential unionization of Tesla would be indicative of a failure on their part to maintain a harmonious working environment.

Navigating Regulatory Oversight:

Musk openly acknowledged the regulatory oversight his companies face, emphasizing their commitment to compliance with regulations. He underscored the importance of delivering high-quality products and meeting user demands, asserting that the success of his companies is ultimately dictated by market forces.

Challenges in China and Concerns about AI:

Delving into challenges posed by the Chinese market, Musk reiterated his commitment to adhering to local laws while questioning the feasibility of doing more than complying with the regulations of any given country. Additionally, Musk expressed deep-seated concerns about the potential harm of artificial intelligence to humanity, revealing personal struggles with sleep stemming from these profound apprehensions.

Takeaway:

Elon Musk’s recent foray into controversy underscores the intricate challenges of managing a global digital platform. As he navigates public scrutiny, regulatory oversight, and the societal impact of his ventures, Musk remains a central figure shaping the narrative of technology and its profound influence on contemporary society.

Elon Musk’s Global Ventures: A Balancing Act of Influence and Controversy

Elon Musk, the innovative entrepreneur and technological luminary, is making significant strides on the global stage. Engaging with political leaders, expanding his influence, and steering the course of technological advancements, Musk is at the forefront of a transformative era. However, amidst these accomplishments, his actions and statements have sparked controversies that challenge his readiness for world leadership.

Elon Musk’s World Tour: A Pivotal Player:

Elon Musk has embarked on an unprecedented world tour, traversing continents to meet with political leaders and positioning himself as a pivotal player in global affairs. Beyond the confines of his entrepreneurial endeavors, Musk’s ownership of X, Starlink, and other tech platforms has granted him substantial control over the levers of power that shape the modern world.

Controversial Utterances: A Hurdle to Leadership:

Despite his growing influence, Musk’s public statements and social media posts have raised eyebrows and concerns about his preparedness for world leadership. A recent and notable instance involves his endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory, drawing widespread criticism and forcing him into damage control mode. This incident underscores the delicate balance Musk must navigate between visionary leadership and the responsibilities that come with it.

Recurring Themes: Musk’s Struggle for Identity:

Musk finds himself in the midst of an internal struggle, torn between his fervent desire to be a respected world leader and the challenges posed by his association with online extremism. The tension between these two aspects of his persona adds complexity to his public image, posing potential challenges to his credibility on the international stage.

Diplomacy or Edgelord Behavior?:

As Musk aspires to carve out a role for himself in global leadership, his association with internet extremism creates a noticeable disconnect with international norms. This paradox is evident in his involvement in geopolitical conflicts, from proposing unconventional peace plans to engaging in conversations with world leaders. This highlights a potential gap in his understanding of nuanced geopolitical issues.

Musk’s Quasi-Diplomacy:

While Musk positions himself as a global influencer, his involvement in various political scenarios raises questions about his grasp of the complexities inherent in diplomatic endeavors. From proposing grandiose peace plans to meeting world leaders, Musk’s foray into quasi-diplomacy adds another layer of scrutiny to his evolving role on the world stage.

Challenges of Internet Extremism:

Musk’s active engagement with extreme online views and conspiracy theories poses risks to his ability to navigate effectively in matters of state. This potential vulnerability could make him susceptible to manipulation by external actors seeking to leverage his influence for their own ends. As the lines between technology, politics, and global influence blur, Musk must carefully navigate this intricate landscape.

The Thin Line Between Influence and Controversy:

Despite Musk’s commendable efforts to align himself with democratic values, his association with hate-filled tropes challenges the conventional image of a serious world leader. The clash between his fringe internet reality and the expectations of real-world diplomacy creates a constant challenge that Musk must address to foster a coherent and respected leadership identity.

Navigating the Global Stage:

Elon Musk’s journey into global leadership is marked by a tapestry of successes and challenges. While his technological prowess and business acumen are undeniable, his association with online extremism and controversial statements raises pertinent questions about his suitability for a prominent role on the world stage. Musk stands at the intersection of innovation and responsibility, a critical juncture where strategic decisions will shape his legacy in the ever-evolving landscape of global leadership.

From Layoff to Launch: Alphonzo Terrell’s Bold Move to Create Spill

A Twitter Departure Leads to Entrepreneurial Aspirations

In the tumultuous aftermath of Elon Musk’s seismic acquisition of Twitter, Alphonzo Terrell found himself among the 3,700 employees abruptly laid off from the social media giant. Rather than succumbing to the uncertainties of unemployment, Terrell swiftly embraced a proactive approach, turning a potentially devastating setback into a strategic springboard for entrepreneurial endeavors.

The notification of his departure, delivered via email just over a year ago, marked a pivotal moment for Terrell, who had spent three years at the helm of Twitter’s social and editorial teams. On November 4, 2022, a mere week after Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition, Terrell took to Twitter, declaring it was “time to build something new.” Shortly thereafter, he engaged in a pivotal conversation with DeVaris Brown, a friend and former colleague, setting the stage for their next venture.

Spill – Crafting a Unique Space in Social Media

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of social media, Terrell and Brown’s brainstorming session led to the rapid conceptualization of Spill within hours of their decision to embark on this entrepreneurial journey. Drawing from their extensive experience in online community-building, the duo aimed to address the common pitfalls afflicting traditional social media platforms. They envisioned Spill as more than just another app; it was to be a haven, embodying qualities often elusive in mainstream social media: positivity, safety, and inclusivity.

The name “Spill” was chosen deliberately, echoing the colloquial phrase “spill the tea,” commonly used to describe the act of sharing gossip or information. This choice reflects Spill’s mission, as outlined in its comprehensive community guidelines. The guidelines emphasize Spill’s commitment to inclusivity, with a strategic focus on amplifying the voices of historically marginalized communities, including Black and LGBTQ+ users. Terrell emphasizes that while Spill is open to everyone, its strategic emphasis on serving marginalized communities will enhance the overall user experience.

Navigating Challenges and Setting Spill Apart

Terrell’s insider perspective, gained during his tenure at Twitter, positions him to astutely identify and address the challenges faced by existing platforms. Elon Musk’s leadership at Twitter brought about policy updates, controversial statements, and changes in content moderation practices, leading to a reported surge in hate speech on the platform. In response, Terrell envisions Spill as a refuge, especially for the splintering Black Twitter community, offering a space where culture drivers, such as Black women and the queer community, can thrive without the drawbacks experienced elsewhere.

Spill is not positioned as a mere replication of Twitter or any existing platform. April Reign, equity advocate and #OscarsSoWhite creator, underscores this distinction, emphasizing that Spill is intentionally creating a foundation rather than attempting to be “Black Twitter 2.0.” The platform’s core thesis revolves around focusing on culture drivers, acknowledging and rewarding their contributions, and providing a safe and inclusive space for diverse voices.

Terrell acknowledges the challenges ahead, particularly in the wake of Musk’s influence on Twitter. However, he sees these challenges as opportunities for Spill to distinguish itself further. The platform is committed to staying focused on its mission, blocking out external noise, and remaining fundamentally different from other platforms attempting similar goals.

SpaceX’s Legal Response to Allegations of Hiring Discrimination

In a significant legal development, SpaceX, under the leadership of entrepreneur Elon Musk, has initiated legal proceedings against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Their lawsuit, filed in a Texas federal court, seeks to challenge and ultimately dismiss the DOJ’s hiring discrimination case on constitutional grounds. This countersuit represents a crucial step in SpaceX’s effort to defend its hiring practices against allegations of discrimination towards refugees and individuals granted asylum within the United States.

SpaceX’s Countersuit: Defending Its Reputation

SpaceX’s countersuit, strategically filed in the Southern District of Texas, underscores the company’s commitment to contesting the jurisdiction of the DOJ. A central point of contention is the division within the agency that deals with immigration cases, a factor that SpaceX views as significant in the legal dispute. Within this countersuit, SpaceX vehemently denies any engagement in discriminatory practices. Instead, the company asserts its unwavering commitment to hiring the most qualified candidates, regardless of their citizenship status. Legal counsel Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, representing SpaceX, emphasized in the complaint that the company has, in fact, hired a substantial number of noncitizens, challenging the discrimination allegations head-on.

Defendants Named: A Legal Landscape

SpaceX’s legal action names three defendants, with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland being a prominent figure among them. This decision to target specific individuals in the DOJ underscores the complex and high-stakes nature of the case.

Navigating Military Technology Regulations: A Critical Concern

A central theme within this dispute revolves around the interpretation of military technology regulations. Specifically, SpaceX raises questions about whom it can employ under the umbrella of International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), particularly concerning rocket and spacecraft technology. The company’s countersuit emphasizes that every single SpaceX employee has access to technology and data governed by these stringent statutory and regulatory frameworks.

SpaceX’s Unwavering Dedication to Talent:

Since its inception in 2002, SpaceX has grown significantly, now employing over 13,000 individuals across the United States. The company vehemently asserts its ongoing commitment to sourcing and hiring the most exceptional talent available. An impressive statistic in this regard is SpaceX’s job posting response rate, which consistently averages more than 90 applications per posting, and even surpasses 100 applications for engineering positions. Notably, SpaceX’s hiring process rivals the selectivity of the most prestigious U.S. colleges, with only roughly 1% of applicants successfully securing a coveted position.

DOJ’s Ongoing Investigation: A Timeline

The DOJ’s investigation into SpaceX’s hiring practices has been in progress since June 2020. This investigation was initiated following a complaint of employment discrimination filed by a non-U.S. citizen with the department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.

Twitter still hasn’t released severance offer to laid-off employees

Twitter: An employee whose job has been terminated or laid off may get monetary compensation or a severance offer from their employer.

It frequently serves as an avenue for the business to support the worker financially during the adjustment time following the layoff.

Salaries, benefits, and other payments may also be included in severance packages.

Employees said they hadn’t yet gotten a formal severance package or separation agreement despite Elon Musk releasing them two months earlier.

On Wednesday, the final official day of employment for those affected by the original layoffs, a former employee said they expected to hear something.

The news

Early Thursday, the former employee said they never received any documents linked to the offer or severance agreement.

Other former employees made similar claims on Twitter.

One person asserted they had never gotten severance money or a written letter of termination.

No severance details had been sent to Shannon Liss-Riordan’s clients as of Thursday, a spokesperson for her said.

Her spokesperson, Kevin Ready, explained:

“There was some anticipation that they would be sent yesterday, but we haven’t seen that.”

Liss-Riordan, meanwhile, issued the following statement on Thursday:

“Yesterday was the official separation date for thousands of Twitter employees, and after months of chaos and uncertainty created by Elon Musk, these workers remain in the lurch.”

The layoffs

Elon Musk spent $44 billion to buy the social networking firm in October.

Staff members began to express concerns as he started reducing expenses and paying off mounds of debt.

One month later, Musk kept letting employees go in waves.

He turned away even more workers by making those who remained pledge to put in “hardcore work.”

Musk promised the discharged employees a three-month severance package during the layoffs.

The timespan took into account the 60-day prior notice that Twitter was required to share.

Read also: Apartments in Manhattan saw a drop in sales

Other problems

After Musk took over, Twitter continued to face several issues.

When the company’s San Francisco office failed to pay the rent, a commercial landlord filed a lawsuit against Twitter for breach of contract.

According to a private flight provider, the company allegedly neglected to pay its costs.

Finally, to conserve money, Twitter was reported to have thought about denying offering severance to axed workers in December.

The website’s use of insiders with access to executive conversations heightened the sense of uncertainty among the layoff victims.

Due to the removal of most of the public relations team due to the layoffs, Twitter could not respond to the accusations.

Severance agreements

Fortune published a report about Twitter’s intention to provide severance compensation to sacked employees on Thursday afternoon.

However, it was unclear when the agreements would be publicly disclosed.

Screenshots and an anonymous person supported the accusation.

Former US Twitter employees would have received one month’s base pay under the severance agreements.

Additionally, there would be a clause mandating that employees abstain from taking part in ongoing legal actions launched against Twitter.

Lawsuits

On behalf of the fired workers, Shannon Liss-Riordan submitted four proposed class action lawsuits against Twitter.

The accusations included claims that the business failed to uphold its commitments to provide consistent benefits and remote work.

Additionally, they received complaints alleging discrimination on gender and disability.

Furthermore, Liss-Riordan filed three complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against the business.

On Thursday, she added 100 more arbitration demands against the social media giant.

The demands came after the first 100 last month.

In December, the workers won an early legal battle.

Before asking them to sign separation agreements that include claim releases, a judge ordered Twitter to notify the ex-employees of the lawsuit.

References:

Two months after mass Twitter layoffs, affected employees still waiting for severance offers

Twitter sued by landlord for allegedly failing to pay rent

Twitter still hasn’t released severance offer to laid-off employees

Image source: ARS Technica

Twitter: An employee whose job has been terminated or laid off may get monetary compensation or a severance offer from their employer.

It frequently serves as an avenue for the business to support the worker financially during the adjustment time following the layoff.

Salaries, benefits, and other payments may also be included in severance packages.

Employees said they hadn’t yet gotten a formal severance package or separation agreement despite Elon Musk releasing them two months earlier.

On Wednesday, the final official day of employment for those affected by the original layoffs, a former employee said they expected to hear something.

The news

Early Thursday, the former employee said they never received any documents linked to the offer or severance agreement.

Other former employees made similar claims on Twitter.

One person asserted they had never gotten severance money or a written letter of termination.

No severance details had been sent to Shannon Liss-Riordan’s clients as of Thursday, a spokesperson for her said.

Her spokesperson, Kevin Ready, explained:

“There was some anticipation that they would be sent yesterday, but we haven’t seen that.”

Liss-Riordan, meanwhile, issued the following statement on Thursday:

“Yesterday was the official separation date for thousands of Twitter employees, and after months of chaos and uncertainty created by Elon Musk, these workers remain in the lurch.”

The layoffs

Elon Musk spent $44 billion to buy the social networking firm in October.

Staff members began to express concerns as he started reducing expenses and paying off mounds of debt.

One month later, Musk kept letting employees go in waves.

He turned away even more workers by making those who remained pledge to put in “hardcore work.”

Musk promised the discharged employees a three-month severance package during the layoffs.

The timespan took into account the 60-day prior notice that Twitter was required to share.

Read also: Apartments in Manhattan saw a drop in sales

Other problems

After Musk took over, Twitter continued to face several issues.

When the company’s San Francisco office failed to pay the rent, a commercial landlord filed a lawsuit against Twitter for breach of contract.

According to a private flight provider, the company allegedly neglected to pay its costs.

Finally, to conserve money, Twitter was reported to have thought about denying offering severance to axed workers in December.

The website’s use of insiders with access to executive conversations heightened the sense of uncertainty among the layoff victims.

Due to the removal of most of the public relations team due to the layoffs, Twitter could not respond to the accusations.

Severance agreements

Fortune published a report about Twitter’s intention to provide severance compensation to sacked employees on Thursday afternoon.

However, it was unclear when the agreements would be publicly disclosed.

Screenshots and an anonymous person supported the accusation.

Former US Twitter employees would have received one month’s base pay under the severance agreements.

Additionally, there would be a clause mandating that employees abstain from taking part in ongoing legal actions launched against Twitter.

Lawsuits

On behalf of the fired workers, Shannon Liss-Riordan submitted four proposed class action lawsuits against Twitter.

The accusations included claims that the business failed to uphold its commitments to provide consistent benefits and remote work.

Additionally, they received complaints alleging discrimination on gender and disability.

Furthermore, Liss-Riordan filed three complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against the business.

On Thursday, she added 100 more arbitration demands against the social media giant.

The demands came after the first 100 last month.

In December, the workers won an early legal battle.

Before asking them to sign separation agreements that include claim releases, a judge ordered Twitter to notify the ex-employees of the lawsuit.

References:

Two months after mass Twitter layoffs, affected employees still waiting for severance offers

Twitter sued by landlord for allegedly failing to pay rent

Check marks become symbol of punishment on Twitter today

Check marks — The verification check marks on Twitter is a process by which Twitter verifies the authenticity of an account and confirms that it belongs to the person or entity it claims to represent.

This verification is indicated by a blue check mark next to the account’s name on Twitter.

The purpose of this process is to help users identify the authenticity of the account and to prevent impersonation or misrepresentation.

To be eligible for verification, an account must meet certain criteria, including being active, complete, and public, as well as meeting Twitter’s guidelines for verification.

The verification process involves submitting an application to Twitter and providing documentation to support the request.

However, ever since Tesla CEO Elon Musk took over the social media giant, the blue check marks have taken a new turn.

What happened?

Days earlier, Twitter removed the check marks from VIP users and prominent organizations.

However, the check marks reappeared on high-profile accounts, with many of the users saying they didn’t ask for it or want a new verification badge.

Several accounts of deceased figures have also been noted to receive their verification marks, leaving many to question how many badges Twitter is distributing without charging the users.

A declining value

The recent Twitter check mark situation highlighted how Elon Musk eroded the value of the blue check.

It is especially noteworthy that he is working to drive subscription revenue for the company following a massive drop in the core advertising business.

The blue check mark had once been an online status symbol that authenticated influential accounts.

However, the symbol has evolved into a source of confusion due to Musk’s decision to monetize it.

Punishment

This past weekend, several high-profile figures announced that they were punished with verification check marks.

Several celebrities and key figures like authors Neil Geiman and Stephen King expressed difficulties getting the check marks removed.

The celebrity backlash and Twitter’s decision to restore some badges at its own expense only highlighted the gaps in Musk’s plan and execution.

Additionally, it showed how out of the loop Musk is from celebrity users who produced content to help keep the social media platform popular.

Read also: Apple thieves target passcodes before snatching iPhones

The cost

Ironically, Elon Musk slammed the company’s legacy approach in 2022, which verified celebrities, news organizations, and government accounts.

“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or who doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit,” he said in November 2022.

“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”

The new Twitter CEO then rolled out a paid verification option as part of the subscription product Twitter Blue.

He also removed legacy blue check marks from accounts, leading to consequences like waves of impersonation and potential for new scams and misinformation.

Musk’s attempts to address the errors only prompted him to make a u-turn, implementing the system he previously criticized.

However, things are different today as Elon Musk is at the helm, making verification less transparent.

Rather than symbolizing authenticity, Twitter verification is now riddled with conflicting messages.

For some, it reflects a loyalty pledge and support for the direction Musk is guiding the company.

Meanwhile, those who received a badge without asking for it view the check mark as a symbol of shame or embarrassment.

Others, however, consider it a mark of gullibility.

Users

Independent researcher Travis Brown has kept tabs on the tally of paying Twitter users.

The past few days had a net increase of 12,000 Twitter Blue accounts, mounting to 551,517.

Before going private, the figures showed more than 237 million active users.

Several big-name users refused to pay, and Musk explained he was personally covering their subscriptions.

Last weekend, several check marks were restored, appearing on influential users who claimed they didn’t pay for them.

A fading symbol

Elon Musk’s initial plan seemed to depend on leveraging verification’s current cachet as a status symbol to increase subscriptions.

While there were other features in the subscription product, the verification option was the main driver.

However, changing the meaning of the verification transformed the check mark’s value proposition.

Supporters of the new system criticized those opposed to it.

SpaceX fails to make orbit but remains a successful launch

SpaceXSpaceX is a private American aerospace company founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with the goal of making space travel more accessible and affordable.

The company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft with the aim of colonizing Mars and making humans a multiplanetary species.

One of its most notable accomplishments is the development of the reusable Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, which have been used to deliver cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to create spaceships capable of transporting people to the Moon, Mars, and other planets, making human exploration and colonization of other worlds a reality.

Failure to launch

On Thursday, SpaceX waited to see Starship, the company’s latest project, take off.

Although the massive stainless steel vessel took off from its launch site at Boca Chica, Texas, it failed to make orbit.

According to SpaceflightNow.com’s Stephen Clark, around five of its 33 Raptor engines didn’t fire during lift-off.

The rocket managed to clear the launch tower and shoot for the sky.

However, the spacecraft failed to detach from the Super Heavy booster before the vessel started spinning.

Eventually, Starship fell apart in what is technically known as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”

The massive launching system stood at 394 feet tall (120 meters), which towered higher than the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

“The vehicle experienced multiple engines out during the flight test, lost altitude, and began to tumble,” SpaceX said in an update.

“The flight termination system was commanded on both the booster and ship.”

The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement on Thursday afternoon, saying:

“An anomaly occurred during the ascent and prior to stage separation resulting in a loss of the vehicle. No injuries or public property damage have been reported.”

“The FAA will oversee the mishap investigation of the Starship/Super Heavy test mission.”

“A return to flight of the Starship/Super Heavy vehicle is based on the FAA determining that any system, process, or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety.”

“This is standard practice for all mishap investigations.”

Read also: Tesla price war leads to Chinese EV makers losing profits

One step forward

While it failed to hit orbit, Starship’s successful takeoff indicated a step forward in the United States goal to achieve space travel.

SpaceX foresees the vessel as a key link in a manned mission to help humans one day reach Mars.

Furthermore, the lift-off set a new record for being the largest rocket to ever launch.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tempered expectations before the lift-off, saying:

“Success is not what should be expected… that would be insane.”

Following the explosion, the company tweeted:

“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary.”

Meanwhile, Musk congratulated members of the team for the “exciting” test launch, saying they learned enough for the next test launch.

“I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we are highly likely to reach orbit this year and recover the booster and ship, if not this year, certainly next year,” he wrote in an email to employees.

“Mars, here we come!”

Another attempt

In anticipation of the next test launch, SpaceX would need to obtain a launch license from the FAA.

The company believes it won’t be as troublesome as it was for the Thursday launch.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also seemed enthusiastic, congratulating the team for the flight test.

‘Every great achievement throughout history has demanded some level of calculated risk, because with great risk comes great reward,” Nelson tweeted.

‘Looking forward to all that SpaceX learns, to the next flight test — and beyond.”

Tesla price war leads to Chinese EV makers losing profits

Tesla — On Thursday, Tesla received some good news as shares in the company’s Chinese rivals dropped.

Xpeng declined by 8% in Hong Kong, while Nio also fell by 5.6%.

Two others, Li Auto and Leapmotor, also dropped by 4.2% and by 2.4%, respectively.

Additionally, BYD, the world’s largest plug-in hybrid EVs and battery EVs seller, also witnessed a 1% plunge in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, its Shenzhen-listed stock reported a bigger loss of 2.3%.

Catalyst

The drop in shares came after Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the company would continue cutting prices.

The decision is meant to boost demand for electric cars as the market grows increasingly competitive.

During an earnings call with analysts on Wednesday, Musk released a statement, saying:

“We’ve taken a view that pushing for higher volumes and a larger fleet is the right choice here versus a lower volume and higher margin.”

“We do believe… that it’s better to ship a large number of cars at a lower margin, and subsequently, harvest that margin in the future as we perfect autonomy.

Price cuts

In October, Tesla started cutting prices in China, which is home to the world’s largest EV market.

The price cut decision came after losing market share to competitors like the Warren Buffet-backed BYD.

Another price cut came in January 2023 for Tesla’s China-made Model 3 and Model Y.

The slashed prices extended across markets worldwide to bolster demand while challenges from other EV makers increased.

For example, the United States witnessed Tesla reducing its prices for the sixth time in 2023 ahead of its first-quarter earnings.

Impact

According to data from the China Passenger Car Association, sales of Tesla’s China-made cars increased by 10% from the same period in January compared to 2022.

Meanwhile, most of the Chinese rivals posted steep declines in sales.

Leapmotor and Xpeng’s January sales took a massive hit, plunging by 86% and 60%, respectively.

Furthermore, Tesla’s decision to slash prices prompted a price war in China.

After Elon Musk’s company made the first move, several Chinese car manufacturers followed a similar path.

Companies started cutting their prices or offered discounts, including:

  • Xpeng
  • Leapmotor
  • BYD
  • Huawei’s EV unit

In February, a Huawei EV salesperson spoke with state-owned Economic Observer, saying:

“Tesla has cut prices a lot. If we don’t cut prices, we really can’t survive.”

According to recent data from the CCPA, Tesla’s sales of China-made vehicles went up by 35% in March, leading to more than 88,000 units.

However, it still fell behind BYD, as the company sold more than 100,000 pure battery EVs.

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The price wars

Tesla’s decision to cut prices created a domino effect that led to a price war and an impact on the company’s sales and profits.

So far in April, the company earned $2.9 billion, which, excluding special items, is down by 22% from 2022.

The lower prices also prompted revenue to a drop of $1.3 billion compared to the fourth quarter, even with record deliveries.

As a result, the company is faced with tighter profit margins.

Other companies like Ford have also cut prices, especially for its key EV, the Mustang Mach-E.

Over the call with investors, CEO Elon Musk said the company is facing headwinds from broader economic conditions.

“It is worth pointing out that the current macro environment remains uncertain,” said Musk.

“I think people already know [that], especially with large purchases such as cars.”

Europe

On Thursday, shares of European car makers also took a hit as people grew concerned about pricing pressure.

French company Renault dropped by 6.5% despite the company reporting strong sales and higher prices over the first quarter.

Stellantis, the group that came from a merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group dropped by 4.8%.

Mercedes-Benz Group and BMW fell around 2.8%.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen, Europe’s most successful car maker, took a hit of 1.9%.