Daily Bread for 12.16.22: Markets Will Decide Musk’s Fate

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with occasional snow showers and a high of 28. Sunrise is 7:19 AM and sunset 4:22 PM for 9h 02m 22s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 48.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1864, at the Battle of Nashville, the Union’s Army of the Cumberland routs and destroys the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee, ending its effectiveness as a combat unit.

Kevin Roose reports Elon Musk, Management Guru? (‘Why the Twitter owner’s ruthless, unsparing style has made him a hero to many bosses in Silicon Valley’). The story relates how some other tech CEOs envy Musk’s autocratic style. 

Roose reports that 

In less than two months since taking over, Mr. Musk has fired more than half of Twitter’s staff, scared away many of its major advertisers, made (and unmade) a series of ill-advised changes to its verification program, angered regulators and politicians with erratic and offensive tweets, declared a short-lived war on Apple, greenlit a bizarre “Twitter Files” exposé, stopped paying rent on Twitter’s offices, and falsely accused the company’s former head of trust and safety of supporting pedophilia. His personal fortune has shrunk by billions of dollars, and he was booed at a Dave Chappelle show.

It’s not, by almost any measure, going well for him. And yet, one group is still firmly in Mr. Musk’s corner: Bosses.

In recent weeks, many tech executives, founders and investors have expressed their admiration for Mr. Musk, even as the billionaire has flailed at Twitter.


Tech elites don’t simply support Mr. Musk because they like him personally or because they agree with his anti-woke political crusades. (Although a number do.)

Rather, they view him as the standard-bearer of an emergent worldview they hope catches on more broadly in Silicon Valley.

The writer John Ganz has called this worldview “bossism” — a belief that the people who build and run important tech companies have ceded too much power to the entitled, lazy, overly woke people who work for them and need to start clawing it back.

In Mr. Ganz’s telling, Silicon Valley’s leading proponents of bossism — including Mr. Musk and the financiers Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel — are seizing an opportunity to tug the tech industry’s culture sharply to the right, taking leftist workers and worker-sympathizers down a peg while reinstating themselves and their fellow bosses to their rightful places atop the totem pole.

Some Musk sympathizers do view things in such stark, politicized terms. The writer and crypto founder Antonio García Martínez, for example, has hailed Mr. Musk’s Twitter takeover as “a revolt by entrepreneurial capital” against the “ESG grifters” and “Skittles-hair people” who populate the rank and file at companies like Twitter.

Sure, fine, whatever: it’s not merely what a given tech CEO thinks or does that matters, but whether he does so in market conditions that favor or disfavor workers. It’s not Musk, it’s the labor market, that will decide how much can be done. If workers can walk easily into other good tech jobs, then Twitter will lose out competitively to other employers. (A good part of Musk’s remaining labor force is green-card limited, and they have been easier to push around lest they become unemployed and have to leave the country if they don’t quickly find new employment.) 

But an autocratic CEO cannot live on risk-averse green-card workers forever. Musk and others can only do what they’d like if they’ve someone else to do what they’d like. Musk isn’t writing code; he’s sh*tposting on Twitter. (In Musk’s case, that’s figuratively and literally true.) 

The prospect’s for Musk’s Twitter ownership depend on market factors, including a labor market, beyond his control.

Huge aquarium bursts open wrecking Berlin hotel lobby:

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