This morning I received an email I would ordinarily delete the instant I recognised it – an affiliate marketing email.

However, two things were unusual about this particular offer:

  • The affiliate – the sender of the email, and
  • The advertiser – the one offering the affiliate commission for any sales referrals

The affiliate was Peter Diamandis – the man behind the X-Prize contest that in 2004 awarded USD $10m to the first private company to fly passengers into space.

The advertiser was Elon Musk – the man behind Paypal, Tesla, SpaceX and Mars Colonisation, recently featured on 60 Minutes and the tychoon that Tony Stark was modelled on.

What made this email unusual was that both of these men are billionaires – clearly neither of them need the money.

So why send an affiliate email if you don’t need the money?

What Elon Musk is doing is building his A List – influencers of influencers – of whom Peter Diamandis would be one.

Whether its for Tesla (in this case) or any of his other ventures, Elon Musk is leveraging others’ influence to build his own.

This is the first time I’ve seen the affiliate marketing model being used so blatantly outside the typical online product launch niche of niche.

If even billionaires are using this now, the game has well and truly moved from merely leading your own tribe, to leading the tribe of tribe leaders.

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