Editorials 19.7.2018 08:40 am

Boykie Musk’s lesson to all: think first, speak later

Tesla shares were in a tailspin after CEO Elon Musk got into a Twitter spat with a British diver over the Thai cave rescue. Picture: GETTY/AFP/File | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Tesla shares were in a tailspin after CEO Elon Musk got into a Twitter spat with a British diver over the Thai cave rescue. Picture: GETTY/AFP/File | Alberto E. Rodriguez

Perhaps the experience of seeing his shareholders go ballistic will bring this flawed genius back down to earth.

Well, there we go then: it took a billionaire like Elon Musk to prove the saying: “You can take the boy out of South Africa but you can’t take South Africa out of the boy.”

By ranting and raving on Twitter about one of the rescuers involved in helping save the Thai footballers and their coach from an awful death in a flooded cave, Pretoria boykie Musk did what so many South Africans do all the time (and not only on social media): comment first, engage brain later.

Musk deleted the tweet and issued a chastened apology to British caver Vernon Unsworth for calling him a “pedo” (paedophile). The Tesla and Space-X CEO’s comments came after an angry backlash saw the shares in his companies go tumbling.

There is a lesson there for all of us (and not just high-profile businesspeople) – exercise care when commenting on social media. You can get badly burned.

We wonder, though, if the original tweet was brought on by hubris and whether Musk is actually starting to believe he’s as amazing as all the gushing publicity about him seems to indicate.

Perhaps the experience of seeing his shareholders go ballistic will bring this flawed genius back down to earth.

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