Rich Guy Causes Chaos 💸

On Elon Musk and his strange attempts to (apparently) weasel out of the Twitter deal. It reminds me of a movie character who immediately ditched something he wanted as soon as he got it.

Sponsored: Today’s issue is brought to you by Morning Brew. Like addictive early-morning reads? Morning Brew is a good place to look—after you’re done reading MidRange, of course.

(Thomas Hawk/Flickr)

So I guess we need to talk about this messy Elon guy, don’t we?

Over the last few days, Musk has put a key condition on the Twitter acquisition despite the fact that generally, when people agree to acquire a company and try to put conditions on it midstream, it kills the deal.

But Elon is kind of redesigning the rules as he goes, isn’t he?

The big problem which he says is publicly holding up the deal is supposedly inaccurate data on the number of spam bots that Twitter reports. Twitter says it’s less than 5 percent. Elon isn’t convinced. And when the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, attempted to explain the company’s somewhat reasonable position that accurate external tracking is difficult without disclosing private customer data to researchers, he got a whole lot of 50-year-old-man-acting-like-he’s-12:

Now, when Elon first discussed the acquisition, he made it seem like spam bots were just one plank of his acquisition strategy, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that this is the part that actually frustrates him about the platform.

But on the other hand, basically all of my regular follows, the people who I rely on to give it to me straight, seem to be convinced that this is Elon’s way of trying to torpedo the deal because he can’t actually afford it. Who knows if that’s the case or not, but what I will say is that this saga has been deeply disruptive to the platform as a whole.

Honestly, I’m reminded of one of cinema’s great villains: Francis Buxton, of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. (Yes, I’m comparing Elon Musk to Francis from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.)

Essentially a rich troll like Musk, Francis thought that, because he had lots of money and power, he could just come in and take Pee-Wee’s bike, which he really wanted. (Unlike the Twitter board, Pee-Wee held out even after being asked multiple times, but to be fair, Pee-Wee didn’t have shareholders that held stakes in the bike, as it wasn’t publicly traded.)

And the truth is, Francis (with the help of some henchmen) actually stole the bike. But when actually put on the spot now that he had the damn bike, what was the first thing he did? That’s right, he got rid of it. Didn’t think of the chaos that his decision would cause. Didn’t think of the steps it would take for Pee-Wee to get the bike back, or the people it would disrupt. He just got rid of it.

I guess in this allegory, we’re all Pee-Wee, desperately trying to get to the basement of the Alamo in hopes that we can find the thing we originally had, only for it not to be there because the Alamo has no basement. (Hilariously, in real life, it has two, at least these days.)

Odds are, what will actually happen is that, since Francis doesn’t want it, Hollywood will grab a hold of Twitter and do everything in its power to hold onto this tool that’s of deep value to its business. Just like what happened in the movie.

Pee Wee

Maybe the Twitter board shouldn’t have given into the chaos agent. Maybe, like Pee-Wee, they should have fought to hold onto their awesome bike.

Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes

Time left on clock ⏲: 3 minutes, 38 seconds

Ernie Smith

Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

Find me on: Twitter

Related Reads