Twitter Wit and Wisdom under the new ownership of Elon Musk

April 16, 2023

Twitter has seen substantial changes under the new ownership of Elon Musk. But some tweeters have retained their sense of humour, and often offered flashes of wisdom. Here are twelve selected from the early weeks of April.

Thanks to

@deelomas (2 nominations)

Phone rings:
Hello, my name is John from solar panel solutions, I understand you are the homeowner?
No, I’ve just broken in to the house.
I beg your pardon?
I’m a burglar.
Oh, well, I won’t keep you, thanks for your time.


My young co workers asked me to show them some photos of me in high school. I said I’d go home and dig some out. They said, “Can’t you just look on your phone?”
And I laughed and laughed and laughed and then I cried…

Is Easter better than Christmas? Posed by #JeremyVine. Presumably this question is aimed at a slightly backward amoeba.

I think I’m an armchair Republican. But this buildup to the Coronation Show is tilting me out of my armchair.

Is today a bank holiday?
It’s a public holiday here in Germany today, one of the so called silent ones (stiller Feiertag). Everything’s closed, there’s no sports, dances, noise allowed, and the year’s early local spring fairs are closed. In tune with this, it is dark, cloudy & rainy. I’m staying in bed.

That awkward moment when a Brexit loon tried to set fire to an EU flag but it wouldn’t burn because it meets EU regulations on flammable materials.

‘When a clown moves into a palace he doesn’t become a king, but the palace becomes a circus.’ Turkish proverb.

It blows my mind that so many Americans can believe in God while simultaneously watching children being massacred 🤯. Why the need for guns if God is looking out for you?

Kate Middleton breaks royal protocol with bold Easter manicure
Newsflash: adult woman gets her nails done.

If I’m reading their lips correctly…
My neighbours are arguing about some creepy lady who lives next door

A man is ordering at a restaurant, “Do you think you could bring me what that gentleman over there is having?”
The waiter looks at him sternly, “No sir, I’m very sure he intends to eat it himself.”


The great Twitter resignation debate

December 19, 2022

December 2022 saw the great resignation debate on Elon Musk as CEO of Twitter. The story so far:
In October, The BBC featured the life and adventures of America’s wealthiest entrepreneur. Aleart famed for business brilliance and eccentric lifestyle.

I tweeted: The BBC has granted Elon Musk a three one-hour mini-series on … Elon Musk. Without charging him for three hours of advertising. First learning point. You don’t become the richest man in the world without being a great marketeer.
At that time, the lengthy acquisition of Twitter was being finalised. It had begun in April, when Musk, already an enthusiastic tweeter and investor indicated his intentions to clean up the site, and restore what he saw as free speech to it.
The board rather quickly accepted an offer of $44 billion, but then things went sour. The ‘cleaning up’ may have confirmed suspicions about the reality of some of twitters purportedly billions of followers. Fake accounts by the million were revealed as coming from armies of electronic bots. Fake news, Donald Trump might have put it.
Musk, Trump like, screamed foul. Started to pull the deal. Lawsuits began. Around the time of the BBC documentary, there was another U-Turn and Musk accepted the original offer, and fired most of the board. As you do. Or, as Elon did, anyway.
A consensus view is that he had found away into a communication channel, at a price of an early Christmas present for the richest man in the world.

The new King of Tweetland

There followed a bizarre series of tweets and interventions by the new King of Tweetland.
Among the side dramas was the complex relationship between Elon and Donald Trump . The Trump Presidency was marked by his enthusiasm for tweeting often in the middle of the night, sometimes with hilarious or incompressible results. Twitter banned Trump after the White House rioting of Jan 6. Musk argued for reinstatement, but Donald, to date has remained outside the Twitter community.

The wit and wisdom of Twitter

I began recording the drama as The Wit and Wisdom of Twitter. A flavour of them can be found in the tweet in which Elon Musk shows his displeasure with Apple.
Did you know Apple puts a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through their App Store?

He continues his attacks of free speech, while blocking subscribers for what appears to be tweeters disagreeing with his views. Free speech seems to be, crudely, something Musk approves of. As Democrat leader Adam Schiff tweets: ‘Elon Musk calls himself a free speech absolutist, to justify turning a blind eye to hatred and bigotry on Twitter. But when journalists report unfavorable news, they are banned without warning.The devotion to free speech is apparently not that absolute. But the hypocrisy is.’

Later, Elon responds to Adam Schiff in what was described as a juvenile fashion: ‘Thankfully you lose your chairmanship before long. Your brain is too small.’

Then as if nothing more bizarre could occur, the new head of Twitter announces his intention to stand down, and will put to matter to the vote.

The great Twitter resignation debate begins:

@elonmusk: Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.
Tweeters have 24 hours to respond. The inevitable twitter burst follows. Over a million voters cast their votes.
@hodgetwins: Here’s an idea, let the people have input on your replacement. Whoever is the leader of Twitter has to be unbiased in protecting free speech.
@KatattackTruth: If he steps down I hope it fades into the abyss and shuts down. No one will have the genius and passion that Elon has
@MidnightMitch: Jared Kushner reportedly met with Elon Musk to discuss his transition into the role of head of Twitter.
@TEAM_USA: I opened my account the day you announced you would buy Twitter. You gave Conservatives on social media a chance for unsuppressed free speech for the very first time. You’ve done so much for our Country and our Constitution. Please don’t give up on us now.
@Nissan_GTR: Result were botted. It’s obvious
@ZsholtWilhelm: Let me predict the consequences of this poll:
If „yes“, Elon will be CEO for a few months longer until he finds a devoted successor.
If „no“, Elon will be CEO for a few months longer until he finds a devoted successor.
@Cathius: Shhh you’re ruining the joke.

Elon finds time to make one of his Delphic replies

@elonmusk: Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it
@111Deaton: True …only ONE deserves it and He has it all! #JesusEternalLife. ” I am He that lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and I have the keys of hell and death.” Rev1:18@jordanbpeterson: Don’t do it. You get to have a learning curve just like everyone else @elonmusk
@texasparrott: Apparently he’s done this before. Is this a sign of maturity and humility, or is it poor leadership and a local of resolve? Or is there something potentially more effective for his purposes waiting in the wings? I sincerely hope he knows what he’s doing. He’s given me hope.

The final result of the remarkable referendum.

57.5% votes for his resignation, 42.5% for him to stay.
Like any good soap opera, this is not expected to be the end of the story.

Are we entering the age of the deposed super leaders?

November 20, 2022

Some years ago, business cases were largely examples of near super-human business giants, the inheritors of the great man theory of history. And of course it was mainly the great man, the builders of industrial empires. The great entrepreneurs who magicked wealth from growth, and growth from risk and daring.

But now, the stories are more often cautionary tales. The gods have feet of clay. The emperor has no clothes.

The Masters of the Universe, was a title of a typical book in the 1960s about great business leaders. When I checked with more recent titles, I discovered Masters of the Universe refers now to a computer game of fantasy figures. Although, perhaps that’s not so different from those earlier aspirational books.

I see a shift around the time of the last economic depression, in late naughties. The hero-executives were being brought low. We learned about the Enron case. The major banking crashes that wrecked Iceland’s economy (the country not the supermarket, which had struggled earlier).

In the U.K. the high rolling financiers toppled like ninepins. Fred Goodwin of Royal Bank of Scotland was hauled before a Government committee to accept blame for excessive style and actions. 

Hollywood followed up with graphic, and not totally fanciful accounts of the Wall Street carnivores, a modern kind of Greek tragedy. 

Flash Forward

In time, the world’s financial system recovered from the recession. 

Flash forward to the present day. A book arrives for review. It’s called Pulling the Plug. It relates ‘thespectacular collapse of General Electric’. Once upon a time, GE Made stuff America wanted: fridges, televisions, light bulbs, then wind turbines and submarine detection systems.

Its credit rating was on a par with government bonds for its $600bn assets.

The company began with the efforts of Thomas Edison, whose achievements remain unsullied, for his business acumen as much as his most famous invention the Edison light bulb, ushering in an industrial revolution, and the age of electric power. 

Enter Jack Welch

The next significant change in GE was a shift from making stuff to financing the purchase of stuff. The shift was driven by Jack Welch, an engineer by training, but who succeeded by political and financial skills.

Success involved a shift followed with from a manufacturing basis to one relying on financial arrangements. The buy now pay later schemes created a finance powerhouse.  Welch became hailed as a super-leader, a process not unassisted by his own image-building skills. 

In his glory days he revelled in the tough approach which earned him the soubriquet Neutron Jack, the explosive power which killed off people leaving buildings intact. The style included his beliefs in the benefits of firing the 10% lowest-performing staff each year, to encourage the others. 

He left with a multi-million payoff, and a reputation of a super manager, hailed by Fortune magazine as the manager of the century. 

Later, the consequences of his action were seen as a short-term efforts to maximise shareholder value. His financialization approach collapsed as the 2008 slump took hold. 

The meltdown with Immelt

His successor Jeff Immelt was unable to pull off a rescue, and the company fell into the clutches of an asset management investor still chasing shareholder value. Its future is unclear.

Business Giants of 2022

Our new generation of business giants has not been doing too well. Let’s take some recent examples:

Elizabeth Holmes jailed for a rather old possible fraud in modern guise. Her company created a business with a non-existent medical diagnostic process. Discovery of its status, turned the presumed unicorn (rare beast in the commercial jungle) into a Dodo.

Stock in Meta, the future vision of the creator of Facebook, Mark Zukerberg is  dropping like a stone. 

Then there is the cryptocurrency implosion. In a single week, another billionaire, Sam Bankman-Friend sees his financial empire and his reputation shattered.

And how about the eccentricities exhibited by Elon Musk, currently engaged in the latest bizarre news story over whether Trump should be allowed to join Musk’s new plaything Twitter.

Blame the financial crisis?

It is no coincidence that stories of rock and roll leaders and their companies crashing and burning, are more frequent during financial crises. Some might think the business titans might have contributed to the crisis…

The wisdom of hindsight suggests that the stock market stars turn out to be have rocketed up based on risky gambles which make them vulnerable in difficult times.

From heroes to zeroes?

Im not suggesting our business leaders are mostly inadequates hanging on the celebrity status. But what is surely the case is that hero-worship is for fantasy heroes. And sometimes fantasies are exposed for being just that.

Elon Musk’s scheme for Twitter hits the ground limping

November 2, 2022

Elon Musk continues his chaotic takeover of Twitter. He has finally clinched the on-off deal for Twitter with a deal quoted as an over-priced $44 billion. He is now proposing an extension of the site’s blue tick badge scheme for $8 a month. Millions of users are threatening to quit.

His actions  over the last few months have been that of an enormously wealthy vaccinating adolescent. At times he reflected market opinion that his object of desire was too expensive, and arguably mutton dressed up to look like lamb. 

Anyway the deal was eventually done. Mr Musk tweeted his delight, describing himself as the chief twit. His sense of humour is rarely far from the surface when he is appearing in public.

But it became clear he has grand plans for his new plaything, but no clear idea how to put them into practice. The plan is appropriately grandiose. Something about enhancing humankind by liberating voices in the global town square. His immediate actions were to fire the top team at Twitter, bring in his own firefighters, and start a discussion on Twitter on how to achieve results. First he has to make it pay.

We need to pay the bills somehow

He tweeted ‘we need to pay the bills somehow’ partly to clean up the site from an unknown number of bots and false accounts. This started a Twitter debate in which his original idea of $20 a head payment was eventually fixed at $8. Millions of users currently using the site for free were outraged. As you would expect, and no doubt Elon Musk expected. Undeterred he brought the debate to close.

“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,”

[That’s how this bad boy does business, folks

His initial target is expanding the current blue-tick badge scheme. At present, it protects public authorities as as Govt Departments from fake sites. It also caters for celebrity tweeters from politics, show biz, and the arts.Improvements to the scheme had already begun under Twitter’s earlier owners.

Doubts are being raised

Doubts are being raised beyond those of ‘furious peasants’ like myself who currently pay nothing. An examination by Verified Handles, a site dedicated to facts and carefully examined opinion, states:

Even to non-verified users this is a significant change from any verification schemes in the past. I’m familiar with smaller sites that use paid verification as a means to support development of the site. Twitter will need to change its revenue model as advertisers leave the platform. Musk has publicly stated he wants recurring paid customers to make up half of the company’s revenue.

Following an already turbulent few days, the platform will be taking a big risk that undeniably will cause impersonation, untrust and financial fraud on a scale never seen, followed by untrust and financial fraud before if the planned change goes ahead. This will cause more disruption than the 2020 account hijack, where 130 verified accounts were hacked and use to promote a bitcoin scam.

I am reminded of the nominated new word of the year for 2022 Permacrisis. A period of sustained turbulence and crisis.

The Elon Musk Show BBC2 Part1. How to show a girl a good rocket video

October 15, 2022

The BBC has granted Elon Musk a three one-hour mini-series on … Elon Musk. Without charging him for three hours of advertising. First learning point. You don’t become the richest man in the world without being a great marketeer. The title is a hint that we are to watch show biz in its treatment. We are not disappointed. 

The scene is set for a heroic tale of the childhood genius focussed on fulfilling his destiny to rescue civilisation by creating interplanetary travel for when the Earth becomes uninhabitable. 

First few minutes of the show confirm my earlier suspicions. This is one crazy dude. 

Mom, also appears as in a scene from the Munsters with a dash of Cruella de Ville. She is dressed as Queen Musk giving an address to her loyal subjects.  We learn of her grand plan which involved her searching for a mate  brighter even than she was. She quickly establishes that her plan works. She believes she produced has a genius. Recalls his mathematical aptitude, and his superhuman ability shown as a toddler to go without sleep to permit his all-night studying of astrophysics stints.

I was having trouble staying objective, rational about the show.

The young genius growing up shows social problems well  known among precocious infants. His early obsessions continue into his still precocious teens. Mom was right about one thing, the kid was super bright. He was to hit California where the time was right for ground-breaking ideas. Backers were willing to discount evidence of weird behaviours as perhaps a necessary component of the superstars.

His persuasiveness is that of the utterly self-assured visionary. This is one of the varied categories of the charismatic individual, the creator of cults. Brightness, self assurance (with or without concealed anxieties) and the extraordinary willingness to work 24 hour days and expect others to do the same. It may or may not be significant, that his grandfather founded a technology cult.

The programme has interviews with assorted family and work colleagues mostly suffering the chaotic distortion of the gravitational pull of the Musk supernova.

Most found the stress intolerable, several including at least one wife was brutally dismissed. One ex-partner found more positive things to say. Their courtship was a chaste one. ‘At our second date he asked could he put his hand on my knee. He asked my to go back to his rooms to lack at films about rockets. To my surprise that’s what we did’. 

His lifestyle, aided by his lack of need for sleep gave him the idea that was to turn into PayPal. But he found this too trivial to occupy his restless mind, already preoccupied with greater things. He starts the first of several financial coups each netting zillions of dollars up front.

By then his interest in creating an inter-planetary future for humanity has grown into an obsession, His plans are supported by $250 million he had pocketed from PayPal. 

He starts building and testing his space rocket. It blows up on take off. Naturally,  he identifies the junior engineer who is fired for the misfiring of the rocket.Fires said engineer.

In 2006 he invests in small electric car company. Tesla. Scrapes though teething problems, major faults for early buyers. Musk was appearing to work 24 hours a day. Twins and triplets impair his apparently 24 hour working days’.  Solves by a lightening divorce and a lightening remarriage. 

Second thought. This is one crazy guy. 

Meanwhile back to the rocket trials. Another failure. 

Undeterred, he tries a third time, knowing failure would mean ‘three strikes and you’re out’. Fails.

 The Tesla project is burning up money.  Customers start cancelling. Elon starts firing top team members in increasing numbers. The 2008 financial crisis was approaching. 

Me: things seem as bad as today’s global situation. Musk was as vulnerable as our new CEO Liz Truss seems to be as I write.

By much squeezing of available resources, he manages to get  a fourth flight off the ground just ahead of bankruptcy.

Success. It reaches its planned orbit. It had been corporate life or death. It turned out life.  NASA gives him a life saving contract. 

There are two more episodes. Overall, I learned a lot of background information. 

Maybe there is more to learn from watching another two hours of The Musk Show.