The series of messages from the boss of Tesla recently posted online break a myth: that of the genius business of the giants of Silicon Valley. Where decisions are made wet finger and FOMO.
Analysts have long been lost in guesswork. What were Elon Musk’s motivations for the takeover of Twitter (which he now hopes to cancel)? What was his strategy, his vision? Since several hundred emails and text messages were made public by the Delaware Court of Chancery in the lawsuit between Musk and Twitter, analysts have their answer. The 151-page report provides a clear insight into the back room of the Twitter affair, and more broadly into how business is done in the heart of Silicon Valley. In these messages, the biggest pundits of tech get lost in flattery and eccentric hypotheses, without ever mentioning the slightest strategy or vision, even in the short term. The mystery of the takeover of Twitter seems to have been solved: there was no strategy. A rather distressing conclusion.
“Is that really how we do business?” »
No “not because they [les messages] are creepy, particularly offensive, or they reveal the outline of a well-conceived and scandalous plan, quite the contrary. What is illuminating about Musk’s posts is how unimpressive, unimaginative and informers the powerful men in Musk’s contacts appear to be. Anyone who would pretend that bad ideas do not exist during brainstorming has never had access to Elon Musk’s phone, ”observes The Atlantic.
Within days, the famous messages were at the heart of all conversations in the tech world and investors. One of the executives of a major social network told the American journalist anonymously: “The consensus of all the discussion threads in which I participate is that everyone looks stupid. People are all like, “Is this really how they do business”? There is not really any strategic thinking or analysis. Everything is played on emotion and without really worrying about the consequences. »
When the exchanges resemble the words of college students
According to him, the protagonists (Joe Rogan; William MacAskill, Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer, Marc Andreessen, Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, etc.) appear in these servile and flattering exchanges. A few examples: “I love your tweet ‘Twitter algorithms should be open source'”, confided to Elon Musk, Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir, before telling him that he intends to share the idea with members of Congress that he will cross in retreat. Even stranger: “I am 100% with you Elon. Until the end no matter what,” from Antonio Gracias, CEO of Valor Partners. “You have my allegiance”, sends on his side the business angel Jason Calacanis. Let’s not forget the flurries of text messages sent at 3 a.m. to share incredible “world-changing” business ideas or other grotesque and embarrassing exchanges:
Elon Musk : Morgan Stanley and Jared think you are using our friendship and not in a good way. It makes me sound desperate. Please stop.
Jason Calacanis : I never wanted anything but your support.
More business but still surprising, the suggestions of Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, who offers the billionaire by text message to manager Twitter in his place. He doesn’t hesitate to share his #Gameplan, the first step of which is literally entitled: “Solving the question of Free Speech” (solve free speech). For this, some approximate ideas and vague references to an “open API” and a “decentralized infrastructure. »
On the investment side, it’s not much better: “There are overzealous pitches from business angel like Calacanis, and then the more detached tactics of people like Andreessen, who in a Twitter DM offers him “$250 million with no extra work required.” “Thank you!” he replied. In a separate exchange, Musk asks Ellison if he wants to invest in taking Twitter private. “Yes, of course,” replies Larry Ellison. “A billion…or whatever you recommend.” »
Hype and FOMO in Silicon Valley
“This is one of the most revealing things I’ve ever seen about how investing in Silicon Valley works,” tweeted Jessica Lessin, founder of the tech publication. The Information. Are we surprised that the members of this boys’ club so easily shower their friends with money? At all. On the other hand, the lack of rigor and the indolent laziness with which these exchanges are carried out reveal the fragility of this investment ecosystem. For The Atlantic, decisions would be made largely based on hype, hype, and FOMO…”Despite all the self-mythologizing and talk around the build, the men behind these text messages seem fickle, disorganized and unable to solve the type of societal problems for which they think they can be responsible, ”concludes the American media. And us with him.