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The Wages of Hubris Is…?
Tech news hasn’t had a week like last week since maybe?—the dotcom crash of 2000. FTX, the world’s second largest crypto exchange, went from $32 billion to bankruptcy in three days, and hackers took advantage of the chaos to steal millions hundreds of dollars. Meta laid off 11,000 people, 13 percent of its workforce, and that was one-tenth of all other tech companies’ layoffs this year. And, Twitter, well, I don’t have to tell you about Twitter.
This is history that repeats itself as tragedy and farce all at once. We already know what will happen in movies and TV: Elon Musk carrying the sink in Twitter HQ, the Twitter manager throwing up in the trash can after being told to evict hundreds of people, the polyamorous founders of FTX are moving into their Bahamas condo. There will be books: Michael Lewis he has become a shadow FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried for months, and Walter Isaacson is writing Musk’s profile.
Okay, but when everyone quits 🍿, what will we learn? A few things stood out to me in the river of disbelief:
- Isaacson in a TV interview in September talked about one of the secrets of Musk’s success: his ability to set aside compassion for his employees when it would interfere with his vision.
- Investor and longtime acquaintance of Musk’s, Chris Sacca, in a revealing thread about how Musk’s inner circle “became more cohesive and opportunistic,” so “the hard truth is that he’s on his own right now and he’s just doing this.”
- Also, those messages was released a few weeks ago between Musk and various powerful friends revealing exactly the level of sycophancy.
- William MacAskill, a philosopher (or, if you prefer, a religious leader) of the Effective Altruism movement, in which he wrote to Bankman-Fried, clearly agrees. sad thread that if you tell people that the best way to do a lot of good is to start accumulating a lot of wealth, maybe, just maybe, you will destroy that wealth?
- Bankman-Fried’s sarcastic (and very long) biography posted in September by Sequoia Capital and then quickly taken down – but luckily saved for humble preservation by the Internet Archive – shows his great interest: future. Whatever mojo worked with him at Sequoia — who fell in love with him after one Zoom — worked for me.”
- See also the author’s mea culpa who published a similar profile in Chance.
- Finally, Mark Zuckerberg took an iron grip on Meta, in which he controlled most of the voting units, he became famous and that is why no one criticized his decisions, for many years, to continue to expand the company to fulfill the projects that failed. .
Ah, the price of power and hubris! It is one of the oldest stories in the book. But by the end of a year in which the tech economy has soared, at least one writer hopes that this moment will “mark the end of the era of visionary, independent startups that ‘grow fast.’