A new lick of paint

It has been nearly a month since I posted something around here. I have been busy with work, life and reading. A lot of reading. Given the noisy state of media, I find books are a good source of intellectual nourishment. And there is another reason why I didn’t feel like posting anything — the … Continue reading A new lick of paint

Inside Twitter, employees told me today, there’s a mood of exhaustion. Rank-and-file staffers have little to no faith in the board, or in CEO Parag Agrawal, whose moves yesterday to fire the company’s highly respected heads of product and revenue look even more erratic.

Casey Newton reporting

The wrong guys got fired. Instead of an overmatched CEO, Parag Agarwal, Kayvon Beykpour (product lead), and Bruce Falck (revenue lead) got shown the door because CEO wanted to take the company in a new direction. I would have shown the big honcho the door. But again, the board is quite feckless. (Read: Musk or not, Twitter CEO has to go.)

Except for the CEO, no one in the company believes that firing these two executives was a good decision. Kayvon, who co-founded Periscope, was well regarded in the company and helped wrangle a good product strategy for the company. The palace intrigue is coming at a time when Elon Musk is once again turning Twitter into his pet pinata. What many see as waffling or wobbling is just a technique to get a better deal for Twitter.

The market meltdown has made Twitter less valuable.

In a research note about Twitter, Hinderberg Research which is short Twitter stock pointed out that Nasdaq is down about “~17.6%, implying a Twitter price of ~$31.40 per share without a deal.”

Musk knows that, and he also knows that there isn’t another buyer. So, this is a good chance for him to get the asset for cheaper and loaded with less debt.

The current deal for Twitter will be funded by $20.1 billion in equity from Elon, $7.1 billion from other investors, and the remainder of $19.25 billion via debt. It makes sense for Elon to lower the leverage — about 8.6 times EBIDTA per a Wall Street Journal report. More debt means the more difficult it will be for Twitter to become a more robust business that doesn’t rely on advertising — a stated goal for Musk.

He also knows no one with real skin in the game is in charge of Twitter. The board (apart from Jack Dorsey’s 2.4 percent) owns less than 0.2 percent of the company and is weak. And the CEO is out of his depth.

As someone wise once said — you don’t get to be rich or stay rich by spending your money, and you do it by getting a better deal.

May 13, 2022. San Francisco

Form vs. Meaning

There is a fundamental difference between form and meaning. Form is the physical structure of something, while meaning is the interpretation or concept that is attached to that form. For example, the form of a chair is its physical structure – four legs, a seat, and a back. The meaning of a chair is that it is something you can sit on.This distinction is important when considering whether or not an AI system can be trained to learn semantic meaning.

Scott Aaronson

Bully Pulpit

This is the third in my ongoing series of posts about Elon Musk’s quest to buy Twitter. In the first of the series, I pointed out that Twitter’s CEO might be woefully out of his depth, and the board has failed to do its job. Twitter founder and former CEO, Jack Dorsey agreed with me. I later pointed out that, there is no (motivated) buyer (just yet) other than Musk. In this third piece, I point out that Elon’s intentions are entirely self-serving. And why not. What’s the point of having billions if you can’t protect your self-interests. Continue reading Bully Pulpit

“Flow”

“When people become engrossed in what they are doing, they enter a state that is called ‘flow. Flow can be achieved by engaging in mental or physical activities that we value and that require us to concentrate fully to use our skills. When we enter a state of flow, we become absorbed and focused, and … Continue reading “Flow”