The Tech Company Brief by Hackernoon: Tesla In, Twitter Out

May 25, 2023


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And so it happened.

Everyone’s favorite billionaire and former “Chief Twit” of Twitter, Elon Musk, has decided to pass on the torch to someone more capable of running the company and bringing it to profitability. That someone is ex-NBCUniversal ad chief Linda Yaccarino, known in the industry for modernizing the advertising business at NBCUniversal. More on that later.

What we’re surprised about is the fact that Musk is actually delegating day-to-day operations to someone else. It’s a miracle that Musk even decided to pass on the opportunity to remain the CEO of yet another company because a cursory glance of Musk’s companies shows that he has an unholy obsession with either being listed as a founder (regardless of whether he founded the company or not) or being part of the executive suite of the organization (your Cs and boards and whathaveyous).

In fact, a dispute over his role at OpenAI was the primary reason why Musk left the artificial intelligence company in the first place (which must sting a bit, given how well OpenAI is doing currently).

No longer bogged by the sh*tfest at Twitter, Musk is free to focus on a more profitable venture in the form of Tesla. Since the start of the year, the carmaker has seen a positive uptick in its stock price as Musk slashes the prices of electric vehicles in a bid to grow sales.

Yaccarino’s appointment does raise some questions about Musk’s plan, though. Particularly, why did Musk decide to head Twitter in the first place, if he was going to step down less than a year later? As we noted previously, if the plan was to have someone else run the company anyway, why couldn’t Parag Agrawal continue in his role until a successor was found? It may boil down to petty revenge.

In the lead-up to Musk’s purchase of Twitter, the world’s richest man really, really did not want to buy the social media company anymore and did everything in his power to walk out on the deal. Perhaps Musk realized that the company’s insides looked really, really bad (financially speaking, of course) or that it was too ‘woke’ for his tastes, or heck, that running a social media company (and that too one of the OGs!) was out of his league. For whatever reason, Musk wanted out, but sadly for him, the Twitter management was having none of it.

Once the offer was out in the public, Twitter shareholders saw an opportunity to jump ship and leave Musk to sort out the mess once they were gone. So of course, they used the ambit of the law to force Musk to live up to his word and finally purchase the company by paying a small fortune (~$44 billion). Understandably, Musk was salty for being “cheated” out of his money, so the first ones to go were the former management of the company.

And then the madness happened: layoffssubscription plans, and a whole lot of craziness. But never once throughout this process was there a clear indication of how Twitter was to return to profitability (or if even such a thing was possible). All Musk achieved during his tenure was a quick dwindling of advertisers who were worried that their ads would appear next to a controversial tweet, hurting their brand reputation.

So where does that leave Yaccarino then? Well, as one of the very few women to have become a CEO in the tech sector, she has a LOT to prove and get right, and by all accounts, Yaccarino seems to be a competent pick. Her previous laurels include successfully modernizing the advertising business at NBCUniversal. And her new stint at Twitter is largely meant to woo back advertisers, signaling to the market at large that the social media company is open for business.

With Yaccarino heading the helm, Musk said he will be focusing on product design and new technology, whatever that means.

Only time will tell whether Yaccarino can help revive Twitter and turn it into a force to be reckoned with. Get ready for an ad onslaught in the near future.

Twitter ranked #17 on HackerNoon’s Tech Company Rankings this week, while Tesla was trending on the #38 spot.



In Other News.. ūüďį

  • The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance is leaving Canada amid new regulations and is looking to cut founder Changpeng Zhao’s stake in its U.S. subsidiary, giving credence to a recently published article on HackerNoon about the rise of Coinbase at the expense of Binance. Binance ranked #26 on HackerNoon’s Tech Company Rankings this week, while Coinbase ranked #35.
  • new report by NBC News says OpenAI is severely underpaying the contractors responsible for helping train ChatGPT by doing the grunt work of labeling data.
  • Twitter is introducing new services allowing users to voice and video chat. The company is also launching a service that lets users of the platform send encrypted messages.
  • Google-parent Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai will meet European Commission deputy chief Vera Jourova and EU industry chief Thierry Breton in Brussels on May 24.

And that’s a wrap! Don’t forget to share this newsletter with your family and friends! See y’all next week. PEACE! ‚ėģÔłŹ

‚ÄĒ Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon

This article was originally published by Sheharyar Khan on Hackernoon.


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