The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has been locked in a negotiation with a teen internet whiz-kid, Jack Sweeney. Musk is scrambling to ensure his security, but Sweeney wants more.
The 19-year-old came up with a bot that reports the take-off and landing of the billionaire’s private jet, using a Twitter handle. If you are deeply invested in Musk’s itinerary, you can track it by following the Twitter handle, ElonJet.
Apparently, many people value the info as the Twitter handle has more than 230,000 followers and is growing. This is not surprising, though, given Musk’s larger-than-life personality. He has millions of followers on Twitter, where he often makes posts, ranging from product or feature announcements to memes on cryptos, especially dogecoin. Some of his followers border on cult-following.
However, Musk does not appreciate his going-outs and coming-ins being put out for people on the internet for obvious reasons. High net worth individuals have more security needs than the average Joe. Besides, some of his followers might be fanatic enough to misuse the information.
Musk did contact Sweeney, asking him to take down the account, calling it a security risk. He explicitly said he didn’t want “crazy people” to know his whereabouts. To compensate Sweeney, even though the teen does not appear to be making any profit from the handle, Musk offered a princely sum of $5,000. According to Musk, apparently, a teen was supposed to find the cash irresistible.
However, it appears the billionaire had grossly miscalculated because Sweeney counteroffered, asking for ten times that amount. Perhaps Musk made the offer based on an amount that would have hooked his 18-year-old self, but times have changed.
To be fair, Sweeney did mention a ‘noble’ goal for the money. Part of it would even return to Musk as Sweeney happened to like one of his products. “Any chance to up that to $50k? It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even a Model 3.”
So, here was Sweeney offering Musk the privilege to sponsor his college education while selling a car at the same time.
However, when you are at the negotiating table, you try to avoid making hasty moves. Musk told the teen he would think about it and get back to him. There has been no conversation between the two parties since then.
Musk is probably weighing his options and consulting with his team, but Sweeney is not bothered by the radio silence. He counts the positives, including learning to code and even landing a part-time job with a company called UberJets. However, most importantly, Sweeney got to speak with his idol, albeit briefly. The teen is a keen admirer of Musk.
Perhaps kudos is due to Sweeney for separating emotions from business? Because some people would have fainted in excitement at receiving a message from their idol.
Sweeney also decided to cash in by going public with the story, explaining to Business Insider that he didn’t feel $5,000 was enough compensation for the fun he had had making the tracking bot. However, that did not stop him from giving Musk some technical advice on making his private jet more challenging to track, which Musk has implemented. Perhaps he could get compensated as a qualified(?) consultant?
Sweeney has accounts for other celebrities that prefer to move around in private jets. They include trackers for former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. However, Musk’s tracker is the most followed.
For the records, Sweeney might drive a hard bargain, but he only uses publicly available information to power his bots.