The first hint of trouble appeared on my morning news round. I joke that my job is reading the news, but it is only half a joke: macro data is published with a lag, so that by the time I can draw a nice chart showing a well-behaved rise in consumption, it is already priced in!
So I am always on the lookout for that reasonably credible and telling anecdote that suggests the ongoing consumption move is more likely to end up rather than down.
And Twitter, of course, is one of my (many) go-to places.
Living in Los Angeles, I get up before 5 am to catch up on the news before the first data releases in NY. It sounds cruel, but it is actually a nice morning ritual, sipping my espresso while poring over the news. And I like being up before anybody else.
That morning, though, I nearly choked on my espresso. Elon Musk had one of his ‘I made an offer’ tweets. I eagerly clicked on the link but got to a content warning: ‘Millennialism, Messianism and sensitive content. The tweet author flagged this tweet as showing sensitive content.’
Undeterred, I clicked on ‘show’. But to my utter disappointment, I got to a missing page.
I checked the Macro Hive chatrooms, and Hivers all over the world were trading guesses on Musk’s new and mysterious target.
I glanced at my Bloomberg screen, and there it was in Top News: ‘Musk announces new purchase but declines to specify.’
But hold on, Musk had a new tweet: ‘What do you think I should buy next? 1. Meta, 2. Alphabet, 3. Amazon, 4. Mars.’
Voting was furious. I could see the bars for each option racing with one another.
I was about to vote for Mars when another tweet from Musk came in. It was not very polite. It basically asked Elon Musk to pipe down. Elon Musk tweeting to Elon Musk? Even by his standards, this was strange.
On closer look, this new tweet turned out to have been sent by an Elon Musk with two blue check marks. Before I had time to ponder on who this two-checks-Musk could be, another tweet popped up.
This time, it was from a three-checked Musk, still not very polite and telling the previous two Musks to cork up.
At that point, one-check Musk and two-checks Musk got in on the action and suggested to three-checks Musk that he was out of his depth (impolitely, again).
Before I got a chance to ask my fellow Hivers if they were seeing what I was seeing, there was an explosion of Elon tweets, each with more check marks than the previous one. In fact, you couldn’t see any text anymore because the check marks took all the space. Elon’s picture was barely visible.
At that point, a gigantic blue check mark appeared on my screen, and then it went dark.
Several years and many millions, later Congress’ special investigator was still unable to determine the origins of the AI program that generated the Elon avatars. Some said it floated in cyberspace between the Democratic and Republican National Committees. Others argue that a group of disgruntled Tesla owners pooled some software.
As for the real Musk, since Twitter went dark, he went completely off the grid. But there is a rumor that he is tunnelling in Patagonia…
Dominique Dwor-Frecaut is a macro strategist based in Southern California. She has worked on EM and DMs at hedge funds, on the sell side, the NY Fed , the IMF and the World Bank. She publishes the blog Macro Sis that discusses the drivers of macro returns.
(The commentary contained in the above article does not constitute an offer or a solicitation, or a recommendation to implement or liquidate an investment or to carry out any other transaction. It should not be used as a basis for any investment decision or other decision. Any investment decision should be based on appropriate professional advice specific to your needs.)