Elon Musk, the fearless leader of both Tesla and SpaceX, is now pulling another X card out of his bag of tricks.
Back in the nearly prehistoric days before the PayPal Mafia roamed the wilds of Silicon Valley, young whippersnapper Musk was making his name with a little online-payment startup called X.com. That company eventually merged with PayPal and the rest is history, valley-style.
Now, nearly two decades later, Musk is digging back into that primordial muck to snap up a piece of pre-dot-com-bubble-bursting memorabilia.
He’s bought the domain name for X.com
Thanks PayPal for allowing me to buy back https://t.co/bOUOejO16Y! No plans right now, but it has great sentimental value to me.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2017
Nobody, except maybe Musk, knows what the hard-charging entrepreneur plans to do with the name. Save the world, perhaps? The X-Men, after all, are a fictional team of superheroes trying to do just that with their superhuman abilities.
The wraps could stay on this one for a while. After all, Musk made the purchase discreetly, sometime in the past few weeks. And if hadn’t been for the domain-tracking site DomainInvesting, the X.com deal might still be as under-the-radar as, say, the location of the first test tunnel Musk’s been digging underneath L.A. with his other quirky venture, The Boring Co. (Musk’s tweet looks to have come after the site’s report.)
Speculation abounds: Will Musk use it to resurrect his online payment startup? Probably not, but with Musk, who knows? Might he use X.com somehow for branding purposes? After all, he’s already got one big fat X in his space-exploration business, SpaceX. There’s also the Model X, Tesla’s crossover SUV. Or perhaps he was just feeling nostalgic and wanted, in this topsy-turvy world of valley paradigm shifts, to grab hold of a solid and seemingly stable piece of the past?
But buy it he did, and Musk paid PayPal an undisclosed sum of real money for the thing.
So how might this play out in the world of Xs and dot-coms? After all, there’s already a vibrant and sprawling playground out there just teeming with x.com life.
Let’s start with the folks who already run x.com, except they call it XDotCom. A directory shows their address in Berkeley and says they design websites right there on San Pablo Avenue. Here’s what their own website says about what they do:
“As days go by, technologies become more and more complicated. But there is no one to guide the customers in the path. We, Xdotcom, are here to help you and to make the “complicated technology” easy for you through developing and building your own website in the most sophisticated way possible and providing expert IT support. We are here to make IT easy “.
They didn’t answer their phone this morning, so we’ll just have to assume that they’re cool with Musk’s purchase. After all, judging by their own marketing, they seem quite mellow: “Contact us today to find about our services and rates and share your ideas and thoughts on your new website,” says the site. “If you do not like us, NO PROBLEM! The consultation is free.”
We also have @xdotcom on Twitter, which apparently bears no relationship to the folks in Berkeley or to Musk’s outfit. @xdotcom’s Twitter page describes its mission as: “Unicorn hunting, 1 fan at a time . . . ,” whatever that means.
But he/she is based in Birmingham, England and he/she tweets things like:
#TechWednesday good turnout again at new icentrum building
— X.com (@xdotcom) May 18, 2016
. . . and . . .
#EURO2016 Predict The Score : England v Russia #ENGRUS https://t.co/hScN9A2mpX
— socialfanz team (@socialfanzbeta) June 11, 2016
. . . which leads us to believe that this xdotcommer is more interested in soccer than he/she is in whatever Musk is up to.
Twitter is also teeming with other bits of x.com esoterica:
♡ follow & retweet to win 20c ♡
ends in 5 days x
.com only 🙂 pic.twitter.com/kD879esm3r
— lisurrrr 🌟 (@lisaxp_) July 11, 2017
The bureau X com declassified
— M.D. Chaos (@MD_Chaos4) July 1, 2017
In fact, there are entire conversations devoted to all sorts of mysterious x.com things going on in the background while most of the world remains clueless:
Make sure to follow @Live_That_Life_Today for inspiring posts every day
Tag Anyone who can appreciate this
Com… https://t.co/mjknkQaAs7 pic.twitter.com/1qpP0XUwkM
— Mike Merlino (@mike_merlino) July 1, 2017
Vontade de comer um x com maionese caseira
— carl (@bieuu_) July 1, 2017
It’s as if they’re all speaking in some code that sounds like gibberish to the rest of us.
Finally this, which we found to be quite intriguing:
OKSOPDKAPSOKDASPOKD SOCORRO. Aquela do marquei um X com sotaque carioca é melhor. Minha favorita. n
— mιnt · αkα ㅡ ゆ › (@494CHW) July 1, 2017
And even more shocking, this discussion’s apparently been quietly going on for some years now. Look at this 2013 item on a blog post, called “XDOTCOM SECRETS,” which includes a video by Eric Curts talking about, well, have a listen:
And with that, we wish Elon Musk great success in the ever-expanding, often bizarre, but always entertaining world of X.com.
Photo: Elon Musk speaks at a conference at the Paris Pantheon Sorbonne University as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference on Dec. 2, 2015. (Francois Mori/AP)
Tags: elon musk, X.com