Elon skips his board seat
Good morning, and welcome to Source Code. If there’s one thing that’s predictable about Elon Musk, it’s that he’s unpredictable, so you shouldn’t be too surprised that he’s no longer joining Twitter’s board. I’m Jamie Condliffe, and the newsletter I wrote yesterday about Elon is already very much out of date.
Here today, gone tomorrow
In a turn of events that is both surprising and also not at all surprising, Elon Musk won’t be joining Twitter's board of directors after all.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced the news in a tweet late Sunday. He wrote that the Tesla CEO's appointment was subject to a "background check and formal acceptance" that ultimately didn’t come through.
- Musk's appointment was set to become effective Saturday, but he told the company he would not be joining the board that morning, Agrawal wrote.
- Agrawal added that Twitter’s leadership had been “excited to collaborate” with Musk and “clear about the risks,” but noted that he believed that Musk’s decision “is for the best.”
- He didn’t provide any details on Musk’s reasoning for skipping the board seat.
Elon’s ascension had proven controversial to say the least. The appointment of a director who’d broken securities laws, allowed racism to run rampant at his manufacturing plants and proposed changes to Twitter that would undermine its progress on moderating hate speech had generated considerable concern among Twitter employees.
- Management planned to hold a town hall with him to address those concerns. It's not clear if that meeting will still happen.
But why did he turn down the seat? After all, he’s not exactly one to shy away from controversy. So far, we don’t really know, but there are a few factors that could have played into it.
- As a condition of joining the board, Musk agreed to limit his stake to 14.9%. That could have irked him. (In an apparently unrelated development, Musk may no longer be Twitter's largest shareholder: Vanguard reported a 10.3% stake Friday.)
- As a board member, he also would have been bound by Twitter's code of conduct. Musk, whose past behavior suggests a studied lack of respect for rules, will no longer have to abide by those rules.
- He also broke SEC rules in the purchasing of his Twitter stake, failing to file the correct paperwork when his holding exceeded the 5% threshold that requires disclosure. That means investors could have missed out on an estimated $165 million. It’s currently unclear what the fallout of that oversight will be, and how it might affect his purchase of more Twitter shares. (As an aside, so far this morning, Twitter’s share price has been falling in premarket trading on the news.)
- And it’s also currently very much unclear how any of these factors played into his decision to turn down the board seat. If any of them did! This is Elon Musk, after all.
Still, Musk spent all weekend on a Twitter criticism spree, even if none of it seemed to address his decision to skip the board seat.
- He suggested that Twitter's San Francisco headquarters should be converted into a homeless shelter and polled users on whether the company should delete the “w” in its name (both tweets have since been deleted).
- Musk also found time to violate a nondisparagement agreement he made in the settlement of a lawsuit with Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard, whom he called "pure poison" in another now-deleted tweet. (It's not the first time he breached that agreement.)
What happens next? At this point, it’s probably not worth making predictions. But it’s probably safe to say the story is far from over.
On the calendar
How is the infrastructure rollout going — and what does it mean for tech?
It’s been almost six months since Congress passed the landmark $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. With bad data to go on, like inaccurate broadband maps, how should the government distribute funding? Which tech companies are going to benefit most from the five-year push for EV growth? Who's getting left out? Join us at 9 a.m. PT April 21, where we'll explore how the infrastructure bill rollout is going and what it means for you. RSVP here.
A MESSAGE FROM CLARI
"To win more revenue for your sales teams, start with the customer. Understand what your customers need, and make sure that those needs are aligned to clearly defined internal success criteria. Build trust across the teams that what you sold the customer is what is being delivered." - Pilar Schenk, COO at Cisco Collaboration
People are talking
Jeff Bezos liked Elon Musk's (now deleted) idea to turn Twitter's headquarters into a homeless shelter:
- "Or do portion. Worked out great and makes it easy for employees who want to volunteer."
Polygon Studios’ Ryan Wyatt understands why people don’t want crypto in gaming:
- “When people think about NFTs, they think about a monkey selling for $1 million. That’s kind of absurd, right?”
Nate Essin, who recently onboarded at Accenture using VR, says there's one major selling point to the process:
- “One of the things I love about being in the headset is, you cannot check your cellphone.”
Coming this week
Etsy sellers plan to go on strike today to protest the company’s transaction fee, which just increased 30%.
Elon Musk is expected to testify in Johnny Depp’s defamation case against his ex-wife, Amanda Heard. The trial starts today, and Musk will deliver his testimony virtually.
Optima 2022 starts tomorrow. It’ll cover topics like hiring and inclusion at work.
Devnexus begins tomorrow. The dev-focused conference will include sessions on everything from Java security to software design.
Barack Obama’s Netflix docuseries drops on Wednesday. It’s called “Our Great National Parks.”
In other news
Meta’s civil rights team has a ways to go. People are rooting for Roy Austin Jr. and his team to make big strides on civil rights issues within Meta, but they’re not there yet.
Nissan and NASA are working together on an EV battery that’s smaller, cheaper and could charge faster than current offerings. The product won’t launch for several years, though.
What happens when the cops pull over a driverless vehicle? This video of a driverless Cruise car shows it's just as awkward, confusing and comical as you’d think.
WarnerMedia and Discovery’s merger is complete. The new business is called Warner Bros. Discovery and it hopes to double down on original content.
You might owe crypto taxes and not even know it. Lots of crypto investors don’t realize their token-trading activity is taxable, and it’s a problem for both the government and taxpayers.
Alan Mulally is leaving Google’s board. The ex-Ford chief has been on the board since 2014.
Twitter actually won’t just leave blank spaces on deleted tweets that are embedded in web pages. Instead, it’ll show the original text and look into other options.
A crypto exec’s productivity secrets
RippleNet’s Asheesh Birla doesn’t like sitting on Zoom. His more effective meetings happen when he’s walking around San Francisco with headphones plugged in. Here are some of his other productivity tips:
- Get rid of recurring meetings. Do you really need them, or are they routine?
- Maintain a few calendars. Keep one for your personal life and other for work.
- Write handwritten notes. It’s easier to remember things that way!
- Keep track of assignments in Asana. It helps to hold yourself accountable.
A MESSAGE FROM CLARI
"Trying to make every deal as big as possible often adds complexity and extends sales cycles. To accelerate growth, sellers should focus on landing faster, and then expanding, and expanding again. Getting customers into your solution sooner helps you solve their initial problems, then later, you can grow together." - Michael Megerian, Chief Revenue Officer at Yello
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.
This story was updated to reflect Elon Musk's deletion of tweets since publication.