Yusaku Maezawa has accomplished an awful lot in his life. He has founded a number of successful companies, including online fashion retailer Zozotown. He’s worth billions of dollars. He’s secured a trip to space to address one of humanity’s biggest problems — a lack of art inspired by being on the moon. Last week, however, he managed his finest hour, creating the most retweeted tweet in history.
Maezawa surpassed earlier historic posts such as “celebrities hanging out” and “guy wants chicken nuggets” by offering anyone who followed his account and retweeted a specific tweet the chance to win a significant amount of money. Following the success of Zozotown’s recent new year sale, Maezawa wrote that he would choose 100 random people who heeded his directions and gift them ¥1 million ($9,250) each. More than 5 million users jumped at the chance.
The opportunity to win free stuff has long been central to the modern online experience, from avenues to enjoy music and movies without opening up one’s wallet to the faint-but-slight chance of winning a jersey. Maezawa’s ad hoc lottery targeted precisely what people appear to want the most from such giveaways — money — and, given his status, it probably seemed more legitimate than the usual torrent of “Like and RT to win!” scams that appear on the platform.