Why Is Elon Musk so Famous? Here’s the Scoop

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author
By

Jul. 19 2022, Published 8:46 a.m. ET

In 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person. While there are many famous business leaders in corporate America, Musk’s popularity beats all of them hands down. Why is Musk so famous?

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Born in 1971, Musk is the CEO of several companies like Tesla and SpaceX. He has recently been in the news after he backed out of the deal to acquire Twitter. The social media company is now suing Musk for “specific performance.”

How famous is Elon Musk? Look at Twitter followers and Google searches.

There are different yardsticks to gauge how famous a person is. One of course is the Twitter following. Musk’s Twitter following surpassed 100 million in June and he became the sixth person to hit that feat. With his over 132 million Twitter followers, former U.S. President Barack Obama has the most Twitter followers.

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Musk’s Twitter follower count exploded over the last three years and has more than tripled since November 2019. It's hard to think of any other celebrity adding so many Twitter followers during this period.

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While Musk’s Twitter followers are below Obama, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Cristiano Ronaldo, he is catching up fast. Also, when we look at Google searches, there are many more searches for Musk compared to the others.

Why is Musk so famous? There are multiple reasons.

There are multiple reasons why Musk is so famous. It isn't an overstatement that Musk’s association with Tesla has made the latter a cult brand. Here's what makes Musk so famous.

  • Musk has the vision to solve several of the world's problems.
  • Musk is smart and has built his brand.
  • Musk is flamboyant and has strong views.
  • There have been multiple controversies associated with Musk.
  • He efficiently uses social media to connect with his fan base.
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Whether it be Tesla, SpaceX, the Boring Company, or Neuralink, Musk has the vision to solve several world problems. He backed electric cars when legacy automakers looked the other way. Today, all legacy automakers are following in his footsteps and pivoting towards electric cars.

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Whether you hate or admire Musk, you can't deny that he is smart. He has built a personal brand that helps to market the products of the companies that he owns. Musk is flamboyant and has strong views on several topics. Lately, he has also been getting active politically. He said that he wouldn't vote for a Democrat in the 2024 elections. Not many business leaders would openly commit to a politician. By criticizing President Joe Biden, Musk has become famous among conservatives also.

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Musk’s controversies make him famous.

Since 2018, Musk has been involved in controversy every year. From the infamous “taking Tesla private tweet” in 2018 to calling Vernon Unsworth a “pedo guy” in 2019, Musk has created several controversies. In 2020, his views on the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and pressuring authorities to reopen the Fremont plant also created controversies.

In 2021, he made waves with his pumping of Dogecoin and GameStop. He's also facing a lawsuit over his pumping of Dogecoin. Musk created havoc in cryptocurrency markets in 2021 with his tweets.

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In 2022, Musk created a controversy amid his flip-flops to acquire Twitter. First, he forced Twitter’s board to accept his offer and later backed out of the deal over alleged fake accounts on the social media site. These controversies help make Musk even more popular among his fan base while his bashers hate him even more. Either way, Musk keeps becoming more famous than ever.

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Musk uses social media beautifully.

Musk uses his social media beautifully. He frequently holds Twitter polls and follows the results when they suit him. For instance, he sold Tesla shares after the majority in a Twitter poll voted in favor. He would anyways have had to sell the shares for his tax bill. However, despite an even overwhelming response on whether Tesla should accept Dogecoin as a payment, Musk didn't follow the results of the Twitter poll.

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Musk’s frequent Twitter rants also make him famous. He even lashed out at Bernie Sanders over the latter’s proposal for a billionaire tax. Musk has been against higher taxes even though he is a self-proclaimed “socialist.”

Musk has built a strong and loyal army of supporters which now seems to outnumber his haters. Overall, when it comes to Musk, it would be apt to say “love him, late him, but you simply can’t ignore him."

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