What Elon Musk’s lyrics tell us about men, money and power

Another ellipse. Three points that represent the time and thought that went into Ellison to conclude that, based on Musk’s recommendation, he shouldn’t pay $1 billion (the price of a Boeing jet) but $2 billion US dollars (Gross National Income of Somalia).

'I'm in for $2 billion'. Larry Ellison and Musk texted about the value of Twitter.

‘I’m in for $2 billion’. Larry Ellison and Musk texted about the value of Twitter.Recognition:Bloomberg

Elon Musk’s text strings offer a rare glimpse into how the world’s richest communicate with one another. How they think about money and power – which is definitely different from how you and I might think about money and power.

At one point, an acquaintance of Musk’s suggests he knows another guy interested in buying Twitter, Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

“Does he have huge amounts of money?” Musk asks.

“Depends on how you define ‘huge’!” replies the acquaintance. “He’s worth $24 billion and his early associates (shared values) take that to $30 billion. I asked how much he could in principle contribute and he said $1-3 billion would be easy – $3-8 billion I could do – $8-15 billion might be possible but would need funding.”

In the lyrics, you’ll find several mentions of words like “fun,” as Ellison responds to Musk’s initial invitation to part with at least $1 billion: “It would be a lot of fun.”

“Why don’t you buy Twitter,” German businessman Mathias Döpfner had suggested to Musk back in March, much like a mother would suggest to her bored children to play outside. “Will be fun.”


“I really hope you get Twitter,” Joe Rogan wrote to Elon Musk.

“I really hope you get Twitter,” Joe Rogan wrote, in much the same way a teenager would cheer their best friend on for a game console. “If you do that, we should throw one hell of a party.”

Elon Musk’s strings of text are stunning, emoji-strewn displays of carefree, casual wealth, reassuring that, much as one hopes, the world’s billionaires are sober about spending their money for good, gentlemen are as often as not just a money cannon in the direction of the other billionaires who happen to betray their private cell phone number.


I said, “Gentlemen,” which isn’t entirely fair. A handful of women appear in these texts: Larry Ellison’s assistant. A person named Martha whose last name has been redacted but appears to work for Twitter. CBS news reporter Gayle King keeps popping in to ask Musk for a seated interview, a request he mostly seems to ignore.

But for the most part, these are the lords, not the ladies, of the universe who are making Musk buy Twitter for the changes he might make or the fun they might all have. “You’ve got my sword,” promises entrepreneur Jason Calicanas, trying to position himself as a trusted advisor while at the same time (I think?) referencing Lord of the rings.

“Please do something about waking up,” pleaded an acquaintance named “TJ,” whose last name has been redacted. “Are you going to rid Twitter of the censorship happy mob?” asked Rogan.

The gender imbalance could explain why so much of these text chains revolve around the idea that, most importantly, Twitter needs fewer guard rails against toxicity on the platform. Freedom of expression on a social media platform means something different to rich and powerful men than it does to the average user — or more specifically, to the average female user. For example, I’m pretty sure the rich/man’s experience of being criticized online involves far fewer messages from strangers declaring, “I’m going to rape you.”

It is not yet clear how these strings of text will be used in court. But as you read them, you realize you have no idea which side to side with: the giant tech company or the small group of tech brothers who are making it in increments of $1 billion, or maybe $3 billion. Dollars can take over but definitely not more than $8 billion emoji emoji lol.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/entrepreneurship/what-elon-musk-s-texts-tell-us-about-men-money-and-power-20221002-p5bmil.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_business What Elon Musk’s lyrics tell us about men, money and power

Brian Lowry

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