Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday that he was considering leaving his jobs to become a full-time social media personality.
Musk often uses his platform on social media to be facetious or even flippant about his relationship with his own companies. He was even charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 after jokingly tweeting that he would take Tesla private when the stock hit 420, a number associated with marijuana culture.
The world’s richest man also started selling his position in Tesla last month after polling his Twitter followers as to whether he should unload ten percent of his stake in the company in order to pay his taxes.
Now Musk has tweeted that he is “Thinking of quitting [his] jobs & becoming an influencer full-time [what do you think].”
Although a familiar note of sarcasm can be detected in Musk’s tweet, it definitely should not be dismissed as even his least sincere Twitter jokes often have profound consequences.
The 50-year-old multi-billionaire also seems to relish his relationship to social media attention, as he frequently replies directly to his fans and shares memes created by other users on Twitter.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk sells 10% of his stake in Tesla
Musk sold $1 billion in TSLA shares last week as part of an ongoing process to sell 10% of his stake in Tesla.
Musk has been selling off massive amounts of his stake in Tesla since November 8 when he made a poll on Twitter asking users if he should sell 10% of his shares. Musk has been shedding TSLA ever since. He has now sold 10.1 million shares for $10.9 billion.
Experts estimate that this brings him over halfway to his goal, with MarketWatch saying that “Assuming Musk intends to sell 10% of his shares, he’s more than halfway there. Before the sales began, his 10% stake amounted to about 17 million shares —so after Thursday’s sales, he has about 6.9 million shares to go.”
Over 3 million Twitter users participated in the CEO’s poll, with 57.9% of voters supporting his desire to sell ten percent of his stock. Musk is the largest shareholder in the company.
Because of the way Musk’s stake in his company is structured, he is incapable of avoiding taxes on his stock options the way executives typically do. This has caused many to believe that Musk is selling his shares in an effort to pay the taxes he has amassed.
Musk’s portrayed his move as being a statement on tax avoidance, but it seems his sales are necessary. The multi-billionaire initially contextualized his desire to sell his shares as being connected to Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s latest plan to introduce more stringent taxes for the United Sates’ billionaires, targeting their investments, which are typically only taxed after being sold, and thus financially “realized.”
“Much has made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10 percent of my Tesla stock,” Musk wrote. Then he asked his followers, “Do you support this?”