The CEO of the electric car brand Tesla has a new title to add to his extremely busy Twitter profile. TIME Magazine has named Elon Musk as Person of the Year 2021, putting a stamp on the billionaire’s banner year. Though the title certainly comes with some honor, the designation paints his influence and demeanor in a cold, reckless light.

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote of the title, “Person of the Year is a marker of influence, and few individuals have had more influence than Musk on life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth too. In 2021, Musk emerged not just as the world’s richest person but also as perhaps the richest example of a massive shift in our society.”

A man who loves controversy

In 2021, Musk turned 50, but that appears to be one of his less notable achievements of the year. Early in the year, his Twitter account influenced massive cryptocurrency investments into the meme coin Dodgecoin and sent its prices through the stratosphere. This came soon after Musk tweeted that Tesla would accept Bitcoin for vehicle purchases then retracted the statement, then once again reintroduced Bitcoin as a payment method.

Between tweets about GameStop, Etsy, crypto coins, and many other companies and market, Musk has caused monstrous financial peaks and valleys with just a few words. Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine wrote in February, “The way finance works now is that things are valuable not based on their cash flows but on their proximity to Elon Musk.”

But crypto is far from the only market where Elon Musk’s influential comments have cause major investment shake-ups. Musk’s stock option sell-off for Tesla caused a 12% shrink back in the stock price after polling Twitter about selling off stock to pay taxes.

A lifetime of accomplishments in a year

Musk’s accomplishments aren’t all controversial though. Tesla’s stock price peaked at more than $1240 per share in November 2021, making the EV car company the first to be valued at more than $1 trillion US. The milestone came after an announcement by Hertz in October that the rental company would purchase 100,000 Tesla EVs to add to their fleet.

Related: Hertz places largest fleet order of Tesla EVs to date

space XMusk’s brainchild SpaceX has also made monumental achievements this year. SpaceX reused their crewed space capsule, the Crew Dragon Endeavor, for the first time in April, then send an all-private crew up in an orbital launch in September on the Inspiration4. Musk makes no qualms about it – his goal is to colonize Mars. As wild as that sounds, he’s already established an empire that involves space travel. He told Time, “I’ll be surprised if we’re not landing on Mars within five years.”

Along with space travel, Starlink has launched more than 1,800 satellites aboard SpaceX cargo ships to create a constellation that can provide an internet connection almost anywhere in the world, outpacing competitors like Amazon Project Kuiper, ViaSat, and OneWeb in the race for dominance.

The richest man on earth

Whether you love or hate Elon Musk for his personal or business life, his work has entrenched him as the richest man on the planet – at least, for the time being. With his wealth ringing up at more than $200 billion US, he’s quite obviously been successful more than he’s failed in his plans. Musk’s drive to succeed is unparalleled.

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