Caged buffoonery – Musk and Zuckerberg make me cringe
I will be as objective and non-judgemental as I can – you arrogant, buffoonish, narcissistic, pathetic, shameful, insecure, testosterone-maddened, power-deformed yutzes. You make me cringe in embarrassment for my gender. Have you learnt nothing on your climb?
I don’t like Elon Musk. I have previously written about this. I liked him when he built cars and rockets. Then I heard about him losing his sh*t and shrieking at employees and firing them for looking at him in a funny way. Then he bought Twitter and assumed it was kind of like running a rocket company and immediately lost 50% of his shareholders’ money. Then he decided his opinion on any subject was worthy of adulation. And don’t get me started on his thin skin and blocking anyone who criticises him. He will never be invited to my house for dinner, OK?
Zuckerberg. I used to like him. Even when Facebook was ruining the world with misinformation (and still is). Even when he monetised outrage. Even when he spent a zillion dollars on a dumb bet on the metaverse and changed the company name to Meta, which really, really made me wince. But I especially liked him when he went all in on open-sourcing his company’s AI development.
But then Zuck and Musk decided to challenge each other to a cage fight, or whatever it is. Not sure who started it, it hardly matters, they are both taking it very seriously.
So, Zuck is also no longer welcome at my dinner table.
I will be as objective and non-judgemental as I can – you are both arrogant, buffoonish, narcissistic, pathetic, shameful, insecure, testosterone-maddened, power-deformed yutzes. You make me cringe in embarrassment for my gender. Have you learnt nothing on your climb?
These two have been sniping at each other for years, using barely euphemistic insults about the other’s lack of business acumen. A billionaire’s game, but lots of them play it, taking out their d*cks and swinging them about. I have sat in many boardrooms in my career. It is really an astonishing thing to watch, this reptile-brained alpha fuse that suddenly explodes in the middle of an overtly polite meeting like an unstable ordnance. But Musk/Zuck have taken this to a whole new level, gloves off and teeth bared.
Musk and Zuck are supposed to be building the future, carefully, rationally and with a maximum emphasis on intellect. To say nothing of being a role model for the next generations of builders.
Difficult to ignore though. If they actually do this, I have no doubt that this will be one of most watched events in streaming history, fiercely bid for by the world’s largest media companies. Fans baying for blood, arguing the merits of weight versus age, fitness versus brute force, no doubt clogging social media for weeks before the event. Tickets for the physical event itself being scalped for usurious profits. Bookies taking in fortunes in bets, furiously looking to shape the odds.
I mean, what could be better than watching two of the world’s richest men engage in gladiatorial combat? With a prize of millions of post-victory fans screaming in unison “You’re the toughest! You’re the strongest! You’re the realest man! Ooo! We’re all jolly impressed!” Which will add not one cent to the value of the companies that they control, but I suppose that is hardly the point.
But it will make the winner a hero to millions.
Including, and especially, boys, who will think that this is the way to do things. The final, definitive end of all contestation and debate. Mash the other guy’s face in. And that is what they will carry away from this when the roar of the crowds subsides.
Of course, this is the basic appeal of many sports, war by any other name. And the closer the sport is to the bruising of flesh and the crunching of bones, the more, er, energetic the fans, judging from the red and twisted faces shrieking in the crowd at any UFC fight. Of course, those contestants fight for their daily bread, it is their career. But Musk and Zuck are supposed to be building the future, carefully, rationally and with a maximum emphasis on intellect. To say nothing of being a role model for the next generations of builders.
Which now apparently includes a lot of punching.
Read more in Daily Maverick: After the Bell: The Musk-Zuck cage fight that says too much about the injured ethos of tech
Yeah, yeah, I know you will no doubt spot some sour grapes here. I will never be as rich as Musk or Zuck. I will never build big, transformative companies as they have. And as for my retracted invitations to dinner, I know what you’re going to say.
Which does not stop me addressing them on this forum – this sorry spectacle will be a glorification of violence for your inflated egos. A clown show, with you two as the main clowns. DM
Steven Boykey Sidley is a Professor of Practice at JBS, University of Johannesburg. His new book, It’s Mine: How the crypto industry is re-inventing ownership, will be published in August 2023.