Posts tagged with "Elon Musk"

Advertisers say they do not plan to return to X after Musk’s comments

December 4, 2023

Advertisers said on Thursday, November 30, that they did not plan to reopen their wallets anytime soon with X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, after its owner, Elon Musk, insulted brands using an expletive and told them not to spend on the platform, reports The New York Times.

At least half a dozen marketing agencies said the brands they represent were standing firm against advertising on X, while others said they had advised advertisers to stop posting anything on the platform. Some temporary spending pauses that advertisers have enacted in recent weeks against X are likely to turn into permanent freezes, they added—noting that Musk’s comments giving them no incentive to return.

Advertisers are “not coming back” to X, said Lou Paskalis, the founder and chief executive of AJL Advisory, a marketing consultancy. “There is no advertising value that would offset the reputational risk of going back on the platform.”

Musk has repeatedly criticized and alienated advertisers since buying Twitter last year. At one point, he threatened a “thermonuclear name & shame” against advertisers who paused their spending because they were concerned about his plans to loosen content moderation rules on X.

In recent weeks, more than 200 advertisers had halted their spending on X after Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory and researchers called attention to instances of ads appearing alongside pro-Nazi posts on the platform. The company, which has made most of its revenue from advertising, is at risk of losing up to $75 million this quarter as brands back away.

The situation was compounded on Wednesday when Musk made incendiary comments against advertisers at the DealBook Summit in New York. In a wide-ranging interview at the event, Musk apologized for the antisemitic post, calling it “one of the most foolish” he had ever published, but also said that advertisers were trying to “blackmail” him. He singled out Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, who also attended the DealBook Summit.

“Don’t advertise,” Musk then said, using an expletive multiple times to emphasize his point.

Hours later, Linda Yaccarino, X’s chief executive, tried to mitigate the damage. In a post on X, she shifted attention to Musk’s apology for associating himself with antisemitism and appealed to advertisers to return.

“X is enabling an information independence that is uncomfortable for some people,” Yaccarino wrote. “X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street—and the X community is powerful and here to welcome you.”

A representative for X did not respond to a request for comment.

Among the brands that have been big spenders on X and that have recently halted their campaigns are Apple, Disney, and IBM. Other brands have remained, including the National Football League and The New York Times’ sports site, The Athletic.

At the DealBook event on Wednesday, Musk acknowledged that an extended advertiser boycott could bankrupt X. But the public would blame the failure on brands, he said, not on him.

“I will certainly not pander,” he said.

Research contact: @nytimes

Thousands of people are reportedly lining up to have one of Elon Musk’s brain chips implanted

November 8, 2023

Thousands of people have expressed interest in receiving one of Neuralink‘s brain implants, according to a recent Bloomberg report from one of Elon Musk‘s biographers, Ashlee Vance, reveals Business Insider.

Neuralink, which Musk co-founded in 2016, has yet to implant its device in a human—but aims to operate on 11 people next year and over 22,000 by 2030; according to Vance, who said he visited the company’s facilities ten times over the course of three years.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Neuralink approval to launch human trials of its device, which Musk has described as a “Fitbit in your skull.”

The FDA previously had rejected Neuralink’s bid for human testing in March, Reuters reported, citing safety concerns, including that the wires connected to the brain chip could move around within a subject’s head or that the chip could potentially overheat.

In September, the company began recruiting for its very first human trial. Neuralink said in a blog post that it was looking for people who had paralysis in all four limbs due to a spinal cord injury or ALS. The company eventually hopes to make a device that would create a sort of symbiosis between humans and machines; and would allow people to send messages or play games, using only their thoughts. But, first the company aims to help people with neurological disorders.

 Vance, who authored the 2015 biography “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” said in his report that despite “an outpouring of interest from thousands of prospective patients,” the company is still looking for its first volunteer or “someone willing to have a chunk of their skull removed by a surgeon so a large robot can insert a series of electrodes and superthin wires into their brain.”

Musk’s biographer said it takes a “couple of hours” for a surgeon to perform the craniectomy and then about 25 minutes for the robot to insert the device, along with its ultra-thin array of about 64 different threads. The device will replace the portion of skull that had been removed. Vance said the threads are so thin they’re about 1/14 the width of a single strand of human hair.

Neuralink has done 155 implantation surgeries using the robot on a variety of animal test subjects, including pigs and monkeys, Vance wrote. But, in typical Musk fashion, the billionaire has continued to push for the robot to move faster, as well as for the surgery to be performed without human help.

A spokesperson for Neuralink did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

The biographer said Musk has pointed to the need to combat competition from other brain-computer startups like Synchron and Onward, which already have begun human trials.

“They are currently kicking our ass,” Musk said after Synchron implanted its first device in a U.S. patient in July 2022. (In December 2021, one of the Synchron’s patients in Australia was the first person to send a tweet using only his thoughts.)

The billionaire also has warned that Neuralink needs to pick up its pace “like the world is ending” to keep up with AI and the possibility of an AI being that wouldn’t be friendly to humans, Vance wrote.

Yet while Musk’s “maniacal sense of urgency” might work at Tesla or SpaceX—where he has initiated sprints and slept on the factory floor to meet deadlines—at least one Neuralink executive has taken a note of caution.

“We can’t blow up the first three. That’s not an option here,” Shivon Zilis, Neuralink’s director of Special Projects and the mother of two of Musk’s children, told Vance in a reference to SpaceX’s first three rockets, which exploded.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Silicon Valley billionaires have spent over $800 million to build a new city near San Francisco

August 29, 2023

A mystery company backed by Silicon Valley billionaires has been snatching up land at up to $15,000 per acre in a northern California county in an apparent bid to build an entirely new city in the state. The company, Flannery Associates, has over $800 million to purchase thousands of acres of farmland in Solano County, which sits northeast of San Francisco, court documents obtained by Business Insider show.

The New York Times has reported that the investors include some of the Valley’s most recognizable names, from Marc Andreessen to Laurene Powell Jobs.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Flannery has purchased about 52,000 acres of farmland around Travis Air Force Base since 2018. According to the report, government officials began investigating the purchases due to concerns that foreign interests may be behind the company.

“So the entire base is encircled now,” Catherine Moy, mayor of Fairfield, told ABC 7 News. “So there’s no part that isn’t touched by Flannery.”

Little is known about Flannery Associates or its specific city plans. According to the Times, the company is led by Jan Sramek, a 36-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader.

Flannery’s backers include Andreessen, Powell Jobs, Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and others, according to the report.

It’s unclear how much they each invested in the company. In 2017, Flannery Associates pitched an idea to turn the Solano County land into a walkable city powered by clean energy and housing tens of thousands of residents, the Times reported. Real estate data shows that the current median housing price in the county is $585,000.

Silicon Valley has long sought to build a city from scratch, sometimes with a utopian vision of a “smart city.”

In 2016, Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley startup accelerator, began looking into how it could build a city that could address California’s affordable housing crisis.

“We want to build cities for all humans—for tech and non-tech people,” the accelerator wrote. “We’re not interested in building ‘crazy libertarian utopias for techies.'”

Tech founders, including Bill Gates and Elon Musk, also have had visions of their own cities. Musk recently purchased 3,500 acres of land outside of Austin, Texas, to build a town he intends to call “Snailbrook.”

Sources told the Journal that he envisioned a “sort of Texas utopia along the Colorado River.”

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Tesla’s new Model X and S standard range electric cars are cheaper—but with one big caveat

August 17, 2023

Tesla‘s new “standard range” versions of its popular Model X and Model S electric vehicles (EVs) offer consumers a lower price tag, but with one major caveat: They can’t travel as far on one charge, reports USA Today.

This week, Tesla quietly rolled out versions of the vehicles—which are $10,000 cheaper than the regular models. Electrek, a news outlet focused on electric transportation, was the first to report on the new models.

The lower price of the new models—$88,490 for the new Model X SUV, and $78,490 for the new Model S sedan—comes at the expense of the distance they can travel before needing to be recharged.

The Model X’s standard vehicle has an estimated range of 269 miles, or 79 miles less than its more expensive version. The estimated 320-mile range of the standard Model S has been reduced by 85 miles.

The regular models of both vehicles also have a slightly faster acceleration speed. 

The new options comes as the carmaker run by billionaire Elon Musk is facing more competition in the electric vehicle industry.

In late July, seven major automakers— General Motors, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Stellantisannounced intentions to join forces to build a North American electric vehicle charging network that would rival Tesla’s.

The multibillion-dollar investment would see nearly double the number of fast-charging plugs in the United States and Canada by next summer; as more and more consumers switch from gas-powered vehicles to those that run on electricity.

The move would be a direct challenge to Tesla’s long reign. The company’s network currently has the largest number of fast chargers in North America, with 2,050 stations and more than 22,000 plugs, according to the Department of Energy.

The network formed by the seven automakers would be open to all electric vehicle owners, including Teslas.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Mark Zuckerberg shuts door on cage fight, saying Elon Musk ‘isn’t serious’

August 15, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg has said he is moving on from a rumored cage fight with Elon Musk, claiming the Tesla boss “isn’t serious,” reports The Guardian.

The rival billionaire tech bosses seemingly agreed to a brawl in June when Musk tweeted that he was “up for a cage fight.”

Zuckerberg, who manages Facebook and Instagram, took a screenshot of Musk’s tweet, replying “send me location.” However, on Sunday he said on his other social media platform, Threads: “I think we can all agree Elon isn’t serious and it’s time to move on.

“I offered a real date. Dana White (Ultimate Fighting Championship boss) offered to make this a legit competition for charity. Elon won’t confirm a date; then says he needs surgery, and now asks to do a practice round in my backyard instead.

“If Elon ever gets serious about a real date and official event, he knows how to reach me. Otherwise, time to move on. I’m going to focus on competing with people who take the sport seriously.”

Musk, the owner of Twitter which he has renamed X, appeared to suggest the fight would be held in an “epic location” in Italy. He outlined streaming options and an ancient setting for the proposed event, claiming he had spoken to the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Tensions have been high between the two tech billionaires’ companies after the launch of Threads, a text-based conversation app, by Zuckerberg’s Meta in July.

Twitter sent a cease-and-desist letter to Zuckerberg after the launch—claiming Meta had made “unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property”.

Zuckerberg is trained in mixed martial arts, posting about completing his first jiu jitsu tournament earlier this year.

Musk said last week he was training for the fight by lifting weights. He wrote on X: “Don’t have time to work out, so I just bring them to work.”

Research contact: @guardian

Awkward silence: Ron DeSantis’s bold Twitter gambit flopped

May 26, 2023

It was the announcement not heard around the world. Ron DeSantis plotted to open his presidential campaign early on Wednesday evening, May 24, with a pioneering social media gambit—introducing himself during an audio-only Twitter forum with Elon Musk. His 2024 effort began instead with a moment of silence. Then several more, reports The New York Times correspondent Matt Flegenheimer.

A voice cut in, then two—Musk’s?—only to disappear again. “Now it’s quiet,” someone whispered. This was true.

“We got so many people here that we are kind of melting the servers,” said David Sacks, the nominal moderator, “which is a good sign.” This was not true.

Soon, all signs were bad. Hold music played for a spell. Some users were summarily booted from the platform, where hundreds of thousands of accounts had gathered to listen.

“The servers are straining somewhat,” Musk said at one point—perhaps unaware that his mic was hot, at least briefly.

For 25 minutes, the only person unmistakably not talking (at least on a microphone) was DeSantis.

The Florida governor’s chosen rollout venue was always going to be a risk, an aural gamble on Musk, a famously capricious and oxygen-stealing co-star, as well as the persuasive powers of DeSantis’s own disembodied voice. (“Whiny,” Donald Trump has called him.)

But the higher-order downsides proved more relevant. Twitter’s streaming tool, known as Spaces, has been historically glitchy. Executive competence, core to the DeSantis campaign message, was conspicuously absent. And for a politician credibly accused through the years of being incorrigibly online—a former DeSantis aide said he regularly read his Twitter mentions—”the event amounted to hard confirmation, a zeitgeisty exercise devolving instead into a conference call from hell,”  Flegemheimer wrote.

“You can tell from some of the mistakes that it’s real,” Musk said.

At 6:26 p.m., DeSantis finally announced himself—long after his campaign had announced his intentions, reading from a script that often parroted an introduction video and an email sent to reporters more than 20 minutes earlier.

“Well,” he opened, “I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.”

After ticking through a curated biography that noted his military background and his “energetic” bearing, DeSantis stayed onine. Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is close with Musk, acknowledged the earlier mess.

“Thank you for putting up with these technical issues,” he said. “What made you want to kind of take the chance of doing it this way?”

DeSantis swerved instantly to his Covid-era stewardship of Florida.

“Do you go with the crowd?” he asked, recalling his expert-flouting decision-making, “or do you look at the data yourself and cut against the grain?”

Rivals agreed: If he hoped to differentiate himself, Mr. DeSantis had succeeded, in his way.

“‘Rob,’ Trump posted on Truth Social, a standard troll-by-misspelling, winding to a confusing (if potentially juvenile) punchline: “My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working.”

Even Fox News piled on.

“Want to actually see and hear Ron DeSantis?” read a pop-up banner on its website. “Tune into Fox News at 8 p.m. (ET)” (Urging donations once he got on the air, DeSantis wondered if supporters might “break that part of the internet as well.”)

Minor as a tech snag might prove in the long run, it was a dispiriting turn for DeSantis after months of meticulous political choreography.

So much of his strength as a contender over the past year was theoretical, said Flegenheimer: the mystery-box candidate constructing a national profile on his terms: slayer of liberals, smasher of foes, the Trumpy non-Trump.

He would conquer and coast. He would Make America Florida. He would be a sight to behold. Presumably.

The reality of DeSantis’s pre-candidacy has been less imposing, shadowed by uneasy public appearances, skittish donors, and a large polling gap between him and Trump.

With better tech, perhaps, a visual-free campaign debut might have been a clever way to rediscover that past aura, to let listeners fill in the mystery box as they choose, before Trump tries to chuck it offstage.

Or maybe the governor’s ostensible advantages—looking the part, before the full audition—were always doomed to translate poorly on Wednesday, when there was nothing to see. It is difficult to project indomitable swagger and take-on-all-comer-ism at an invisible gathering devoid of non-friendly questioning or workaday voters.

Research contact: @nytimes

Tucker Carlson is making a comeback on Elon Musk’s Twitter—purportedly, without $25M in severance

May 11, 2023

Tucker Carlson is back. Well, almost. The former Fox News host, who parted ways with the network last month, announced in a video on Tuesday, May 9, that he would relaunch his show on Elon Musk’s Twitter, reports Fortune Magazine.

“Starting soon, we’ll be bringing a new version of the show we’ve been doing for the last six and a half years to Twitter. We’ll be bringing some other things too, which we’ll tell you about. But for now, we’re just grateful to be here,” Carlson said, looking directly into the camera.

In the three-minute video, he characterized Twitter as the last platform dedicated to free speech—echoing Musk’s own proclaimed allegiance to the idea. 

“Speech is the fundamental prerequisite for democracy. That’s why it was enshrined in the first of our Constitutional amendments,” Carlson said. “Amazingly, as of tonight, there are not that many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining…is Twitter, where we are now.”

Carlson will reportedly forgo a severance of at least $25 million from Fox to instead produce his new Twitter show, according to Dylan Byers, a reporter at Puck News.


Fox News announced in April that Carlson—well-known right-wing face of prime-time show Tucker Carlson Tonight since 2016—no longer would be employed by the network.

The sudden announcement came days after Fox agreed to settle a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million over false claims that it had manipulated voting in the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump. Carlson had been among those at the network who spread those false claims on air while privately dismissing them.

In the video he posted on Tuesday, Carlson criticized mainstream media as untrustworthy. “At the most basic level, the information you consume is a lie. A lie of the stealthiest and most insidious kind,” he said.

It’s unclear when Carlson’s new “show” on Twitter will debut.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Bluesky is Jack Dorsey’s attempt at a Twitter redo and it’s already growing fast

April 28, 2023

Since buying Twitter last year, Elon Musk has made a series of chaotic changes to the social media platform that have alienated legions of users, reports Fortune Magazine.

That’s been good news for Bluesky Social, an invite-only rival app that has quickly gained a following since debuting in February. So far, its app has been downloaded 360,000 times from Apple’s app store worldwide, consumer data group recently told Fortune, and over a million more users are on the waitlist to join. Most  of the new users have been added this month, according to Bloomberg.

Bluesky was created by Jack Dorsey, who happens to also be Twitter’s original co-founder. In contrast to Twitter, he wanted to build a decentralized service, meaning its user data is stored in independent servers rather than in ones owned by one company—thereby giving users more autonomy in how they interact on the platform.

“We envision an open social media ecosystem where developers have more opportunity to build and innovate; and users have more choice and control over which services they use and their experience on social media as a whole,” Jay Graber, CEO of Bluesky, wrote in a blog post last year.

Dorsey has said that one of his regrets was commercializing Twitter. If he had a chance to do it over again, he’d make it more like an open source project.

“The biggest issue and my biggest regret is that it [Twitter] became a company,” Dorsey tweeted in August 2022, responding to a question about whether the platform turned out like he wanted it to.

Bluesky’s rise comes amid growing scrutiny over data security on social media sites, as well as complaints about Twitter under Musk’s leadership. Those include Twitter requiring users to pay for blue check marks that signal their identities have been verified (these check marks were previously free) and then deciding to give away blue check marks to certain high-profile people (in some cases, dead people). Some recipients of free check marks are angry because the marks falsely make it appear as if they paid.

The origin story of Bluesky is closely linked to Twitter. It received its initial funding in 2021 from Twitter—Dorsey was the CEO until November of that year (it’s unclear exactly when the funding was received). Dorsey is also on Bluesky’s board.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Twitter changes its name to X Corp., an entity incorporated in Nevada

April 14, 2023

Twitter has told the courts that it has a new company name in a new state: X Corp.—an entity incorporated in Nevada instead of Twitter’s previous domicile in Delaware, reports The Wall Street Journal.

While the social-media platform on users’ phones and computers still bears the name Twitter, “Twitter Inc. has been merged into X Corp. and no longer exists,” according to a legal filing last week informing a Florida federal court of the change in a case where Twitter is a party. X Corp. is a privately held company incorporated in Nevada, Twitter’s lawyers said.

The company’s principal place of business remains San Francisco, where Twitter is based, according to the filing. X Corp. has a parent company named X Holdings  Corp., the filing shows, according to the Journal. The company also recorded the merger in Delaware filings.

 The changes drew attention in recent days, as the documents circulated online and media outlets including Slate wrote about them. The information in the filings prompted online speculation that it was part of a grand vision about which owner Elon Musk has tweeted, which is using his acquisition of Twitter to help create “X, the everything app.”

Twitter responded with an auto-reply poop emoji to an email inquiry from The Wall Street Journal about the reason for the change.

On Tuesday, April 11, amid retweets from Musk about SpaceX, his rocket company, and Twitter’s legacy blue check marks, the billionaire tweeted an “X” without any other context or details. Musk’s history with the letter goes way back: His former online banking startup,, later became PayPal after a merger with another firm. Musk often refers to one of his children as X.

The billionaire also has other business ventures in Nevada. Tesla, the electric-vehicle maker of which he is also chief executive, operates a plant near Reno; The Boring Co., Musk’s tunneling company, has a project in Las Vegas.

In an interview with the BBC late Tuesday, Musk said about the name change: “My goal is to create X the everything app,” and reiterated that “Twitter is an accelerant.”

Some corporate-law specialists say they still have some questions about the company’s structure. Another entity called Twitter was recently registered in Nevada, with Musk as its president, according to a filing, and some observers said it wasn’t exactly clear how that entity related to X Corp. One law professor said it could be an entity that Musk could use for Twitter if he wanted at some future point—or a way to keep anyone else from trying to use the name.

Moving the company to Nevada from Delaware has broader business implications, according to corporate-law specialists.

Nevada has for years tried to present itself as an alternative to Delaware for companies looking for a home, said Benjamin Edwards, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. But Delaware remains more popular, he said, for reasons including the reputation of its Court of Chancery and that many business lawyers and investors tend to be familiar with Delaware law.

Compared with Delaware, Nevada’s laws grant more discretion and protection to a company’s management and officers, said Zohar Goshen, a professor of transactional law at Columbia Law School. Twitter is now “a private company controlled by one person so they can make that move,” he said. For public companies, Goshen said, “It’s not going to be that simple for them to switch to a place where shareholders enjoy less protection.”

“There are a few often-cited reasons why companies might move out of Delaware to Nevada,” said Lauren Pringle, editor in chief of the Chancery Daily, a legal industry publication. They include Nevada’s greater limits on personal liability for directors and officers of a corporation, and limited liability for a breach of duty, she said.

Ann Lipton, a law professor at Tulane University, said moving to Nevada means the company can be sued in that state going forward, instead of in Delaware. But any litigation already under way in Delaware likely won’t move to Nevada, she said.

Musk, who has previously shown a willingness to take legal battles to trial rather than settling, has had a mixed record in Delaware’s Court of Chancery. He faced a monthslong fight in the court over his effort to abandon his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter. He said Tuesday that he agreed to the deal last year because he thought the judge would eventually force him to do so.

Musk also won a major victory last year when a different Delaware judge ruled the Tesla chief executive didn’t act unlawfully in the electric-vehicle maker’s takeover of SolarCity.

“Moving to Nevada is a way of saying, ‘You won’t see me around here no more,’” Edwards said. If Musk disagrees with the way the Chancery Court has decided his cases, Edwards said, “He can communicate that to them by exiting the jurisdiction. There’s nothing compelling him to play ball in Delaware court.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Sacked Twitter exec who went viral for sleeping on office floor defends going ‘all in’ for Elon Musk

February 28, 2023

No one likely personified Elon Musk’s “extreme hard-core” Twitter 2.0 better than Esther Crawford, its erstwhile director of Product Management who became Internet-famous for sleeping on the office floor.

Now Crawford—who survived multiple staff cullings at the social media platform—has herself been let go. Instead of bitterness, however, she defended her decision to forgo family time in favor of grinding it out for Twitter’s billionaire owner, reports Fortune Magazine.

“The worst take you could have from watching me go all-in on Twitter 2.0 is that my optimism or hard work was a mistake,” she wrote on Sunday, February 26, in a post on Twitter already viewed by 1.2 million people.

The November snapshot of the mother of three curled up in a sleeping bag and eye mask posted next to her “cheeky” hashtag #SleepWhereYouWork sparked controversy for its alleged glorification of a corporate culture that required constant self-sacrifice just as Twitter was about to lay off over half its workforce.

The initial weeks of Musk’s Twitter reboot saw Crawford’s coworkers repeatedly pushed out the door in typically headline-grabbing fashion.

One was openly fired via Twitter after daring to publicly correct Musk, while sacked software engineer Nicholas Robinson-Wall even advocated colleagues had a “moral duty” to disobey the new owner.

The blowback over her choice to spend nights at the office prompted Crawford to openly profess her love for her family: “I’m grateful they understand that there are times where I need to go into overdrive to grind and push in order to deliver.” Her husband called her a role model for their children.

Nonetheless, the picture landed at a time when sensitivity over U.S. labor conditions is on the rise, with fresh efforts to organize companies controlled by known union busters like Musk and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Twitter employees had also begun to question whether it was worth burning

the midnight oil just to help Musk salvage a $44 billion investment he fought until the very end to avoid: “Would you sacrifice time with your kids over the holiday for vague assurances and the opportunity to make a rich person richer, or would you take the out?” ex-Twitter employee Peter Clowes asked rhetorically at the time before bailing on the company.

Throughout this turbulent time, Crawford remained a staunch defender of the capricious visionary—rolling out his scheme to charge users for a previously free verification badge.

Crawford’s unwavering support for Musk may have also been due to her own familiarity with the pressures he faces as an entrepreneur, having herself cofounded and run a software startup called Squad, which she sold to Twitter in December 2020.

In a profile of Crawford published last month, the Financial Times described her as a “rare leader” from the company’s old guard who could win Musk’s favor by challenging him tactfully behind closed doors.

When it became her turn to fall on her sword, however, Musk’s gladiator called out the critics for being armchair generals.

She accused them of jeering from the sidelines rather than being “in the arena” with her—a reference to a 1910 speech by Theodor Roosevelt popular in corporate America for extolling society’s doer of deeds. (Nike liked it so much that it turned it into a commercial.)

Now, the mantle of Musk’s most faithful supporter at Twitter appears to have passed to Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of Trust and safety , whom Bloomberg recently described as the “chief executor of Musk’s whims.”

Irwin replied to Crawford on Sunday, acknowledging the brief but important role she played in assisting the new owner. “Thank you for working so hard to help lay the foundation for Twitter 2.0, Esther,” she wrote. “You will be missed.”

 Research contact: @FortuneMagazine