It’s not a bad way to make some money, but we have to say it’s hardly a good one either.
Mr Jack Sweeney, a 19-year-old college freshman in the US is the owner of 15 flight-tracking accounts that follow famous people, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
His @ElonJet account has amassed the most followers — almost 83,000 by the time it first caught the Tesla’ founder’s attention last year.
The teenager programmed bots to analyse data and send out a tweet every time the private jets owned by the famous people depart or land.
Mr Sweeney was surprised at one early morning last autumn to receive a message from Mr Musk.
“Can you take this down? It is a security risk,” the DM from the billionaire read.
“I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase,” he told Sweeney in a later message.
Seeming to nose out an opportunity, the teen messaged back, “Yes I can but it’ll cost you a Model 3 only joking unless?”
During their back-and-forth messaging, Musk asked the teen how much money he makes from the flight-tracking accounts. The college student told him he makes no more than US$20 (S$27) monthly.
Musk, whose net worth is around US$238.5 billion (S$322.7 billion) then offered Mr Sweeney US $5,000 (S$6,765) to delete the account to prevent “crazy people” from tracking his whereabouts.
But the teen upped the ante. “Any chance to up that to $50k ((S$67,650)? It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car maybe even a Model 3.” The tech billionaire told Mr Sweeney he would take this under consideration.
In a report in US-based tech website Protocol, which broke the story on Jan 26, it says that Musk has yet to pay up, and the account is still up.
In the meantime, the teenager has been reaping the benefits of being Elon Musk-adjacent. Protocol reports he has more followers on social media than ever, has learned to code, and obtained a part-time job as an application developer UberJets.
— Jack Sweeney (@JxckSweeney) January 28, 2022
But what he’s been most thrilled about is having had the chance to talk to Musk. Judging from his Twitter bio, the student is a longtime Tesla fan.
The billionaire reportedly said “Air traffic control is so primitive,” after the teen explained how he got the data to track his private jet.
Mr Sweeney recently told Musk over DM that he’d rather have an internship than the money the billionaire offered in exchange for taking sown the account.
Musk has yet to respond, or even open the message.
“I think he’s on vacay in Hawaii if you check ElonJet,” Mr Sweeney told Protocol. /TISG
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