After he said that Tesla's cars would serve as robotaxis within a year and be worth more than the purchase price and didn't get in trouble for an obvious lie to consumers and investors, there is no ceiling on the ridiculous lies he will tell. https://t.co/SXGrYA7oaU
— Jeremy C. Owens (@jowens510) September 29, 2022
There’s an old proverb, Irish or possibly Yiddish, about fortuitous wealth: He was standing outside with a bucket when it started raining soup. Musk, hopefully, is making a joke about his roadrunning tech toy. Not all of his fellow would-be Masters of the Universe, much less his fan base, seem to understand that Musk neither invented the bucket nor caused the Fortean precipitation.
Wrote about the Musk texts. What I found illuminating about the messages is just how unimpressive, unimaginative, and sycophantic the powerful men in Musk’s contacts appear to be. Just overconfident dudes winging it https://t.co/a4N4t4Je9q
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) September 30, 2022
Yesterday, the world got a look inside Elon Musk’s phone. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is currently in litigation with Twitter and trying to back out of his deal to buy the platform and take it private. As part of the discovery process related to this lawsuit, Delaware’s Court of Chancery released hundreds of text messages and emails sent to and from Musk. The 151-page redacted document is a remarkable, voyeuristic record of a few months in the life of the world’s richest (and most overexposed) man and a rare unvarnished glimpse into the overlapping worlds of Silicon Valley, media, and politics. The texts are juicy, but not because they are lurid, particularly offensive, or offer up some scandalous Muskian master plan—quite the opposite. What is so illuminating about the Musk messages is just how unimpressive, unimaginative, and sycophantic the powerful men in Musk’s contacts appear to be. Whoever said there are no bad ideas in brainstorming never had access to Elon Musk’s phone…
Appearing in the document is, I suppose, a perverse kind of status symbol (some people I spoke with in tech and media circles copped to searching through it for their own names). And what is immediately apparent upon reading the messages is that many of the same people the media couldn’t stop talking about this year were also the ones inserting themselves into Musk’s texts. There’s Joe Rogan; William MacAskill, the effective altruist, getting in touch on behalf of the crypto billionaire and Democratic donor Sam Bankman-Fried; Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer (and the subject of a recent, unflattering profile); Marc Andreessen, the venture capitalist, NIMBY, and prolific blocker on Twitter; Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, who was recently revealed to have joined a November 2020 call about contesting Donald Trump’s election loss; and, of course, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO. Musk, arguably the most covered and exhausting of them all, has an inbox that doubles as a power ranking of semi- to fully polarizing people who have been in the news the past year.
Few of the men in Musk’s phone consider themselves his equal. Many of the messages come off as fawning, although they’re possibly more opportunistic than earnest. Whatever the case, the intentions are unmistakable: Musk is perceived to have power, and these pillars of the tech industry want to be close to it. “I love your ‘Twitter algorithms should be open source’ tweet,” Joe Lonsdale, a co-founder of Palantir, said, before suggesting that he was going to mention the idea to members of Congress at an upcoming GOP policy retreat. Antonio Gracias, the CEO of Valor Partners, cheered on the same tweet, telling the billionaire, “I am 100% with you Elon. To the mattresses no matter what.”…
During Musk’s April media frenzy, the billionaire frequently demonstrated a shallow understanding of Twitter, suggesting contradictory policies such as banning spam and bot armies but also leaving up all content that is “legal.” (Spam, bot armies, and crypto scam hawkers are all technically legal.) Many of the ideas coming from his peanut gallery were equally poor. Döpfner, who is in charge of numerous media companies, including Insider and Politico, offered to run Twitter for Musk but seemed woefully unprepared for the task. In a novel-length text, Döpfner laid out his “#Gameplan” for the company, which started with the line item: “1.),, Solve Free Speech.” He alluded to vague ideas such as making Twitter censorship resistant via a “decentralized infrastructure” and “open APIs.” He’s similarly nonspecific with his suggestion that Twitter have a “marketplace” of algorithms. “If you’re a snowflake and don’t want content that offends you pick another algorithm,” he wrote Musk.
At one point in early April, Musk appears infatuated with his own idea to replace Twitter with a blockchain-based payment-and-message system. In a string of texts to his brother, the entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, he manages to convince himself that the idea could be huge and a way to crush spam while preserving free speech. In this preposterous scenario, users would have to pay a fractional amount of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin to post or retweet. Roughly 10 days later, Musk sends a different text noting that “blockchain Twitter isn’t possible.”…
What’s immediately clear is that many of the men in Musk’s phone are having fun with his Twitter escapade. It is an opportunity to blithely throw shit at the wall and see what sticks. They toss out phrases like “hard reboot” and “Day Zero. Sharpen your blades boys”—to cleave through what they see as an unnecessary and ineffective workforce, perhaps. They imagine massive revenue opportunities and sweeping changes that only they can usher in. For this crew, the early success of their past companies or careers is usually prologue, and their skills will, of course, transfer to any area they choose to conquer (including magically solving free speech). But what they are actually doing is winging it…
There is a tendency, especially when it comes to the über-rich and powerful, to assume and to fantasize about what we can’t see. We ascribe shadowy brilliance or malevolence, which may very well be unearned or misguided. What’s striking about the Musk messages, then, is the similarity between these men’s behavior behind closed doors and in public on Twitter. Perhaps the real revelation here is that the shallowness you see is the shallowness you get.
elon musk’s text messages make him look dumb as hell but in his defense we only have his texts because he’s fighting a lawsuit for no good reason, that was launched because he backed out of buying twitter for no good reason, a deal he made for no good reason
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) October 1, 2022
NYMag, on “Elon’s Bad Week: Embarrassing Text Messages and Reports of Settlement Talks”:
There is only so much a man can take, even if he’s the world’s richest. This week in Twitter v. Musk may have been the worst so far for Elon Musk in his attempt to get out of the $44 billion deal to take the company over. On Thursday, the Delaware Chancery Court released texts showing the supposed mastermind is impetuous, does not do well with light criticism, and is surrounded by an embarrassing group of Silicon Valley simps. The next day, the court followed up on a hearing from earlier this week that, too, was bad news for the Tesla techno-king, denying him a cache of documents and hinting at a rapidly draining well of patience in dealing with the sprawling case. And so, after all this, reports have surfaced that there very well may be a deal on the table to avert a trial, which would start in just 17 days…
Musk has a reputation as someone who takes his own counsel, but these texts show that he is actually surrounded by people who push him toward his own worst impulses if they see it as an opportunity to enrich themselves. Jack Dorsey (saved in the phone as “jackjack”) butters him up by telling Musk he’d earlier secretly wanted to install him on the board and how great of a job he’d do turning the company around. Early on, after Musk tweets about free speech —this was in response to Russia Today being banned on Twitter — venture capitalist Antonio Gracias texts him: “I am 100% with you Elon. To the fucking mattresses no matter what ….this is a principle we need to fucking defend with our lives or we are lost to the darkness.” Then there’s Jason Calacanis, the Silicon Valley angel investor and podcaster: “Put me in the game coach! Twitter CEO is my dream job,” he wrote. Later, when Calacanis gets caught shopping around an investment vehicle for relatively small-time investors, Musk tells him to knock it off, that it’s irking Morgan Stanley bankers and his own personal financial adviser and makes it seem as though Calacanis were using him. Calacanis immediately backtracks and does what he’s asked. “You know I’m ride or die brother — I’d jump on a grande for you,” the grown man texted to Musk, presumably meaning “grenade.” …
If you are a defendant in a case with $44 billion on the line, as Musk is, and your strategy is to keep pushing the other side of the case to release more information — all in the hopes of finding something that’s damaging for them — then four words you would really like to avoid hearing from the judge are “plaintiff has done enough.”
But those are exactly the four words that punctuated an order from Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick on Friday in response to Team Musk’s demands for more data. (Twitter has already said that it provided the information it said it would, and McCormick agrees.)
The orders today do not answer everything that Twitter and Musk brought up earlier this week during the omnibus hearing, but the two orders from McCormick show that, with just over two weeks to go, her tolerance for anything beyond the narrow scope of Twitter’s lawsuit is wearing out. To handle some of the more complex discovery issues, McCormick has appointed a special master — essentially saying she no longer wants to deal with them. It’s not good for anybody, but it’s especially bad for Musk…
If it’s attention Musk wanted, well, *that* he is getting…
finally a truck that can explode at the bottom of a lake https://t.co/GRWp6hj9D7
— Sen. Lemon Gogurt (I – Podcastia) (@Ugarles) September 29, 2022
"CYBERTRUCK can serve briefly as a plane too! Just engage full self-driving near a cliff!"
— Hemry, Local Bartender (@BartenderHemry) September 29, 2022
— Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (@waDNR) September 29, 2022
Quick! Look over there!…
Elon just unveiled the Teslabot and it’s LOOKING AMAZING. Welcome to the future! pic.twitter.com/xgfeOy3yVj
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) October 1, 2022
At least *this* year, it’s not “just a person in a robot suit“…
when you don’t tell your parents about the science fair until the night before https://t.co/5FJZgI9A5t
— kilgore trout, death to putiner (@KT_So_It_Goes) October 1, 2022
I think about this @MichelleObama quote a lot: “I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of… I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the UN: They are not that smart." https://t.co/vfwzNOlaJX
— Jess Gartner (@jessgartner) September 30, 2022