Some time before returning to the charge in his desire to buy Twitter at the price agreed in April, an operation of which he could, according to some commentators, ultimately be the big loser, Elon Musk had to spread out in front of the world, at the request of an American court in Delaware, astronomical quantities of messages exchanged privately with his comrades in Silicon Valley in the previous months.
Since their reading, the whole world has laughed: as related in particular by a vitriolic article in The Atlantic, the messages exchanged between Musk and his vast court of venture capitalists and would-be Silicon Valley bigwigs uncover plenty of ridiculousness, while shattering plenty of myths.
Did you expect treasures of thought and brilliant ideas, the live observation of the gestation of Silicon Valley genius, the illumination of the world by the Californian billionaires who do? Missed.
“What’s so telling about these posts is how unimpressive, unimaginative and sycophantic the power men in Elon Musk’s contacts are. Anyone who said there was no such thing as a bad idea in a brainstorm never had access to Elon Musk’s phone.writes Charlie Warzel, also author of the Galaxy Brain tech newsletter, in the American media.
In contact with executives top flight from big companies in the small American tech world, Warzel describes people bewildered by what they have read, and by the dismal quality of the thinking of a boys’ club chilled fans who, however, concentrate a bewildering amount of power.
“The overriding reaction in all the threads I participate in is ‘Everyone looks so fucking stupid'”explains one of these anonymous. “There’s a general idea of ’Is this really how business is done?'”he is also told. “There is no strategic idea or analysis. It’s just emotion, with no real concern for the consequences.”
“An additional $250 million, no more work”
Charlie Warzel lists in his article the crazy ideas of Mathias Döpfner, boss of the large media group Axel Springer (Politico, Business Insider, Bild …), whose “#Gameplan” for Twitter is thrown in a few points – the first is “Resolving free speech”a whole program that is never detailed.
He also describes the interventions of financiers like Marc Andreessen, co-founder of the investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, or Larry Ellison, questionable boss of Oracle. Blissful with admiration for Elon Musk, they want to be part of the adventure at all costs, without asking many more questions about the form it will take and the paths it will follow.
This is one of the most telling things I’ve ever seen about how investing works in Silicon Valley. And I was going to ask if there was conflict review with his board seats. Ha! https://t.co/HB1E0gkAAv
— Jessica Lessin (@Jessicalessin) September 28, 2022
In a private message, Andreessen thus offers “An additional $250 million, no more work” to Musk’s takeover project, which only has to respond with a simple “Thanks!” to this quarter-billion-dollar giveaway.
The boss of Tesla and SpaceX asks that of Oracle if he wants to join the party. “Sure!”, he is answered, as one says yes to a Leetchi kitty. How much does Ellison want to put on the table? “A billion… or whatever you think is best”he answers, playing with the zeros like others with a Yo-Yo.
The participants in these conversations throw stupid ideas and billions on the table, like novice and alcoholic poker players after a long night of gambling: despite the accumulated wealth, despite the importance of the firms involved and despite the crucial stakes , political as well as financial, raised by Elon Musk’s takeover of a platform like Twitter, the overall level of these men seems lamentable.
“I am in twenty discussions with other people”explains the insider contacted by Charlie Warzel. “And everyone’s like, ‘Damn, they’re just throwing shit at a wall. The ideas that come out, for example on who could become the boss of Twitter, it seems to be bullshit from Fantasy Soccer.”
Are these venture capitalists and captains of industry described as geniuses? “The men in these posts are actually unstable, disorganized, and unable to solve the societal problems they think they can solve”concludes Warzel.
A court of pure “yes men”describes Jonathan Fischer in Slate, this probably explaining that – and the state of our modern but very lost world in general.