i will never not be amazed that this is how a man with the resources to do almost anything imaginable in his spare time spends his spare time. https://t.co/lB8hrhomTo
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) December 28, 2022
The eight year old hanging around older kids, repeating words and seeing if they laugh.
— Jesse Brenneman (@Jesse_Brenneman) December 28, 2022
Charlie Warzel, for the Atlantic:
… Plaintiffs in Twitter, Inc. v. Elon R. Musk et al. filed Exhibit H just before sunrise on September 29 in Delaware’s Court of Chancery. If you’ve seen excerpts, you probably know it by its street name: Elon Musk’s texts.
Exhibit H is remarkable insomuch as it is a spreadsheet containing the private messages between the (then) richest man in the world and his friends, associates, and hangers-on while they discuss buying one of the world’s most influential communications platforms—just for kicks. Leafing through Exhibit H, you will feel like you should never have seen these communications, and yet there they are, on display for the hordes of the internet, courtesy of the legal system…
For better or worse, Musk’s Twitter takeover and SBF’s downfall are two of the most symbolically resonant tech stories of 2022. You could view them as reckonings for supposed tech visionaries and the ways in which Silicon Valley’s hype machine dashes against the rocks of reality. It’s unfair to suggest that a few personalities are behind all of tech’s troubles—which this year included layoffs at companies such as Meta and Snap and a general feeling that we may be approaching the end of the social-media era—but the Musk texts demonstrate a decadence, an unearned confidence, and a boy’s-club mentality that coincide with the cultural disillusionment regarding the genius-innovator narrative.
The Musk messages also reveal how some of the richest and most powerful men in the world treat actual billions of dollars with a level of care more appropriate for a 3-year-old tossing around Monopoly cash. Oracle’s founder, Larry Ellison, essentially writes Musk a blank check over text, pledging, “A billion … or whatever you recommend.” The venture capitalist Marc Andreessen unsolicitedly offers Musk “$250M with no additional work required.” And Michael Grimes, a top investment banker at Morgan Stanley, proposes a meeting with Bankman-Fried as a way to “get us $5bn equity in an hour.”
“Does Sam actually have $3bn liquid?” Musk asks. (It’s unclear why he got the number wrong.) Grimes says that he believes so. Musk appears nonplussed but willing to do whatever is necessary to get some quick cash: “So long as I don’t have to have a laborious blockchain debate,” he quips. (Seven months after this exchange, Bankman-Fried would claim to have no more than $100,000 to his name.)
The blitheness is the point. It is a total power move to talk about getting “$5bn in equity in an hour” the same way we mere mortals talk about Venmo-ing a friend $15 for lunch. The texts make it clear that these men are fundamentally alienated from the rest of the world by their wealth. “In one sense, the texts show that billionaires are just like us—they’re not doing advanced calculus; they’re in their DMs talking smack, making jokes, and trying desperately to get their way,” Lauren Pringle, the editor in chief of The Chancery Daily, told me recently. But she added: “These are absolutely not normal people with a normal understanding of the world.”…
WSJ published a devastating piece saying the value needs to go even lower. This is how he responded.
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) December 28, 2022
Yep, that Tesla stock price isn't done falling. pic.twitter.com/a6LY9NgVZU
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 28, 2022