Elon Musk’s Phone Reveals Entourage of Overzealous Tech Bros

Texts between the billionaire and some of his tech investor friends show them in a bad light.

In Musk v. Twitter, an aspect of the business life of the richest man in the world is revealed. 

Private messages exchanged within his inner circle immerse us into his process when he conceives an idea.

The messages were released by the Delaware Chancery Court as part of the proceedings between the two parties. 

The revelation of these private messages is undoubtedly one of the reasons which led the billionaire to put back on the table his offer to acquire the platform for $44 billion. And to demand that Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report drop its legal action in exchange.

You can read them here.

Here are messages Musk exchanged with his tech bros about Twitter.

Some precisions for the good comprehension of some messages: Parag Agrawal is the CEO of Twitter. Morgan Stanley is the bank advising Musk, while Jared Birchall is an adviser to the billionaire.

SVP refers to Special Purpose vehicles.

David Sacks, co-Founder of PayPal, General Partner of Venture Capital Firm Craft Ventures

On April 26, the day after the Twitter deal was announced, Sacks communicated with Musk.

Sacks: Justin Amash (former congressman who’s libertarian and good on free speech) asked for an intro to you. “I believe I can be helpful to twitter’s team going forward – thinking about how to handle speech and moderation, how that intersects with ideas about governance, how to navigate actual government (including future threats to Section 230), etc. – and I’d love to connect with Elon if he’s interested in connecting (I don’t have a direct way to contact him). I believe my experience and experience can be useful, and my general outlook aligns with his stated goals. Thanks. All the best.” Please LMK if you want to connect with him.

Musk: I don’t own Twitter yet.

Sacks: Understood.

Then on April 28:

Musk: Do you and/or find want to invest in the take private?

Musk: fund

Sacks: Yes but I don’t have a vehicle for it (Craft is venture) so either I need to set up an SPV or just do it personally. If the latter, my amount would be mice-nuts in relative terms but I would be happy to participate to support the cause.

Musk: Up to you

Sacks: Ok cool, let me know.

Sacks: I’m in personally and will raise an SPV too if that works for you.

Musk: Sure

Joe Lonsdale, co-Founder of Palantir Technologies,  8VC

On March 24, almost two weeks before Musk revealed that he had become the top shareholder of Twitter, Lonsdale wrote to him.

Lonsdale: I love your ‘Twitter algorithm should be open source’ tweet – I’m actually speaking to over 100 members of congress tomorrow at the GOP policy retreat and this is one of the ideas I’m pushing for reigning in crazy big tech. Now I can cite you so I’ll sound less crazy myself:). Our public squares need to not have arbitrary sketchy censorship.

Musk: Absolutely

Musk: What we have right now is hidden corruption!

On April 4, Lonsdale writes to Musk congratulating him after his Twitter stake was revealed.

Lonsdale: Excited to see the stake in Twitter – awesome. “Back door man” they are saying haha. Hope you’re able to influence it. I bet you the board doesn’t even get full reporting or see any report of the censorship decisions and little cabals going on there but they should – the lefties on the board likely want plausible deniability.

On April 16:

Lonsdale: Haha even Governor DeSantis just called me just now with ideas how to help you and outraged at that board and saying the public is rooting for you. Let me know if you or somebody on your side wants to chat w him. Would be fun to see you if you guys are around this weekend or the next few days.

Musk: Haha cool

Jason Calacanis, Angel Investor, Podcaster.

On April 14, when Musk made his bid to acquire Twitter for $44 billion at $54.20 per share, Calacanis seems to be mocking the company for being hesitant.

Calacanis: You should raise your offer

Calacanis: $54.21

Calacanis: The perfect counter

Calacanis: You could easily clean up bots and spam and make the service viable for many more users – Removing bots and spam is a lot less complicated than what the Tesla self driving team is doing (based on hearing the last edge case meeting)

Calacanis: And why should blue check marks be limited to the elite, press and celebrities? How is that democratic?

On April 15,

Calacanis: Back of the enveloppe… Twitter revenue per employee: $5B rev/8k employees =$625K rev

Per employee in 2021 Google revenue per employee: $257B rev /135K employee =$1.9M

Per employee in 2021 Apple revenue per employee: $365 rev /154k employees = $2.37 M per employee in fiscal 2021

Calacanis: Twitter revenue per employee if 3k instead of 8k: $5B rev/ 3k employees= $1.66m rev per employee in 2021 (more industry standard)

Musk: Insane potential for improvement

Calacanis: Day zero

Calacanis: Sharpen your blades boys

Calacanis: 2 day a week Office requirement = 20% voluntary departures

Calacanis: I mean, the product road map is beyond obviously

Calacanis: Premium feature abound … and twitter blue has exactly zero

Calacanis: What committee came up with the list of dog shit features in Blue?!? It’s worth paying to turn it off

Musk: Yeah, what an insane piece of shit!

Calacanis: Maybe we don’t talk twitter on twitter DM

Musk: Was just thinking that haha

Musk: Nothing said there so far is anything different from what I said publicly

On April 16:

Musk: Btw, Parag is still on a ten day vacation in Hawaii

Calacanis: No reason to cut short … in your first tour as ceo

Calacanis: (!!!)

Calacanis: Shouldn’t he be in a war room right now?!?

Musk: Does doing occasional zoom calls while drinking fruity cocktails at the Four Seasons count?

Calacanis and Musk will exchange a lot in the days that will follow.

On May 13, Musk writes to Calacanis:

Musk: What’s going on with you marketing and SPV to randos? This is not ok.

Calacanis: Not randos, I have the largest angel syndicate and that’s how I invest. We’re done 250+ deals like this and we know all the folks. I though (t) that was how folks were doing it.

Calacanis: $100m+ on commitments, but if that not ok it’s fine. Just wanted to support this effort.

Calacanis: ~300 QPs and 200 accredited investors said they would do it. It’s not an open process obviously, only folks already in our syndicate.

Calacanis: There is *massive* demand to support your effort btw … people really want to see you win.

Musk: Morgan Stanley and Jared think you are using our friendship not in a good way

Musk: This makes it seem like I’m desperate.

Musk: Please stop

Calacanis: Only ever want to support you.

Calacanis: Clearly you’re not desperate – you have the worlds greatest investors voting in support of a deal you already have covered. You’re overfunded. Will quietly cancel it… And to be clear, I’m not out actively soliciting folks. These are our exiting LPs not rondos. Sorry for any trouble.

Musk: Morgan Stanley and Jared are very upset.

The conversation goes.

Calacanis: And you know I’m ride or die brother – I’d jump on a grande for you.

Musk “Loved” the last message

Steve Jurvetson, Tesla and SpaceX Investor.

On April 29, Jurvetson sends a link to a LinkedIn profile to Musk.

Jurvetson: If you are looking for someone to run the Twitter revamping … perhaps as some kind of CXO under you … Emil Michael is a friend that just offered that idea. Genevieve loved working for him at Klout. He went on to become Chief Business Officer of Uber for 2013-17.

Musk: I don’t have a LinkedIn account

Musk: I don’t think we will have any CXO titles

Jurvetson: OK. Are you looking to hire anyone, or do you plan to run it?

Jurvetson: This is his experience prior to Uber.

Musk: Please send me anyone who actually writes good software

Jurvetson: Ok, no management; good coders, got it.

Musk: Yes

Musk: Twitter is a software company (or should be)=

Jurvetson: Yes. My son at Reddit and some other young people come to mind. I was thinking about who is going to manage the software people (to prioritize and hit deadlines), and I guess that’s you.

Musk: I will oversee software development.

Antonio Gracias, Venture Capitalist and Shareholder of Tesla.

On March 5, a month before Musk as a Twitter shareholder was made official, Gracias wrote to the billionaire.

Gracias: Wow… I saw your tweet re free speech. Wtf is going on Elon…

Musk: EU passed a law banning Russia Today and several other Russian news sources. We have been told to block their IP address.

Musk: Actually, I find their news quite entertaining

Musk: Lot of bullshit, but some good points too

Gracias: This is fucking nuts… you are totally right. ! 100% agree with you.

Gracias: We should allow it precisely bc we hate it… that is the ping of the American constitution.

Musk: Exactly

Musk: Free speech matters most when it’s someone you hate spouting what you think is bullshit

Gracias: I am 100% with you Elon. To the fucking mattresses no matter what … this is a principle we need to fucking defend with our lives or we are lost to the darkness.

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