General News

Greek-Americans Amidst Elon Musk’s Twitter Storm Sound Off

NEW YORK – It’s not uncommon for Greek-Americans to be at each other’s throats over business and politics and almost anything, and now two of them are at odds over the short, tumultuous rein so far of Elon Musk at Twitter.

The world’s richest man has been accused by employees and critics of creating utter pandemonium after buying the social media giant for $44 billion and trying to protect his investment by cutting staff and trying to raise revenues.

“There’s a massive negative cash flow, and bankruptcy is not out of the question,” Musk said, according to a recording heard by The New York Times, adding it would take work to keep it afloat even as he rolled out the axe.

Gone are free lunches and working from home as he’s stomped all over the go-to site for letting the world now what you’re thinking and doing and there’s worry the mess can’t be cleaned up and it’s even in danger of going under.

It involves a heavyweight bout of tech giant and financial minds. In Musk’s corner is a top advisor,  venture capitalist Jason Calacanis, 51, born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Greek and Irish parents.

He attended Fordham, began his career as a reporter covering the Internet industry in New York, then founded the media company Rising Tide Studios and co-founded the blog network Weblogs that was bought out by Time Warner’s America Online for $25-$30 million.

In a bigger hit, he joined Sequoia Capital as an entrepreneur and helped steer $25,000 into a burgeoning company – Uber – which became worth $10 million, showing a keen sense for finances and the future.

In the other corner is a formidable tech opponent, Alex Stamos, from California, a computer scientist and Adjunct Professor at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

He was also the Chief Security Officer at Facebook where he had a bumpy ride after writing about the use of social media to affect elections and reporting that the site was being used by Russians to influence American polls.

The two have square off from afar about what Musk is doing at Twitter amid reports there’s chaos and confusion about his shoot-from-the-hip and fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants management style in which decisions change rapidly.

Musk has fired engineers and top managers, so many that remaining workers said their divisions can’t function and his decision for free speech is also bringing hate speech, his critics also said.

Musk is quirky indeed and volatile and the paper said he’s been spotted in the office with his 2-year-old whom he named X Æ A-12.


Firing nearly half the workers and alienating advertisers has created an atmosphere of fear and worry for the survival of the site.

Most of Mr. his subordinates remained quiet throughout the process but not Calacanis who was out front on Twitter responding to product suggestions and concerns, taking a co-pilot’s seat during rising turbulence.

Calacanis was in such a visible position that the paper said Musk sent a messenger to the so-called “War Room” in the San Francisco headquarters to tell him to step back and stop acting like he was in charge too.

“To be clear, Elon is the product manager and CEO,” Calacanis later tweeted. “As a power user (and that’s all I am!) I’m really excited,” he said as Musk reasserted his position as the top dog.

But that’s the kind of back-and-forth that worried Stamos along with where Twitter is going and how it could become susceptible to being used, warning that China and other countries could use their leverage over Musk’s main business, Tesla, to get more of their way at Twitter, said The Washington Post.

In a Twitter thread, Stamos noted that a quarter of Tesla’s current revenue comes from China, where it has a massive manufacturing operation and also acquires rare earths and which has censored social media.

Alex Stamos,who called out Russian disinformation on Twitter during the 2016 election, said Musk has a notion it’s a public square for free expression that could be a loophole for lies and give the powerful a free voice.

Without moderation, Stamos said, “anybody who expresses an opinion ends up with every form of casual insult ranging to death and rape threats. That is the baseline of the Internet. If you want people to be able to interact, you need to have basic rules.”

He said that, “When you talk about a public square, it’s a flawed analogy. In this case, the Twitter town square includes hundreds of millions of people who can interact pseudo-anonymously from hundreds of miles away. A Russian troll farm can invent hundreds of people to show up in the town square.”

That was in April, six months before Musk took over, Stamos nailing what was likely to happen and his criticism has continued over the ongoing tumult at one of the world’s most influential sites.

Musk had been complaining about Twitter’s slow performance in the developing world and with Android users, the source of one of his feuds with a now-former employee as he cleared house.

Stamos had an answer for it, offering advice on Twitter how to fix the site’s lag time, wring: “Stop firing best engineers for correcting your clear misstatements,” said Business Insider.


ATHENS – Capital Link’s 13th Annual Greek Shipping Forum takes place in person on Thursday, February 9, at Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens, Greece.

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