News of the Day
The biggest news of the day is Elon Musk’s offer to buy the social media platform Twitter (follow me) with an offer of $54.20 per share. I’m not a market guy, but I don’t see this offer as being anything more than a distraction from his other issues in his world, and it’s feeding his extreme need to be noticed and acknowledged.
I can’t honestly comment on the financials, but $43b is a lot of money, even for one of the richest men in the world. Twitter is a very influential platform, but it’s not profitable, and so far, no one has been able to unlock its potential. He wants to borrow money against his Tesla shares but would any bank be willing to want to risk their firm's survival on Musk's latest flight of fancy?
Tesla shares have grown 5x in the past few years, but with every other automaker getting into the EV market, it’s conceivable that Tesla shares could take an 80% haircut leaving the bank holding all the risk. Ok, that ends my financial comments.
My biggest issue with Musk is with Musk, the man. Elon Musk is probably the most idealized public figure among young men. He’s loud, has fuck you money, he enjoys trolling and loves the Lulz, as the kids say. He’s what many young men would be if they had his bank account.
He’s not a good role model. He has no filter; he name-calls and bullies, lowering the bar for public figures. Sure we all had immature ideas and actions in our 20s, but for a man well into middle age, using 4Chan slang to gain the adoration of young men who have nothing to offer except their likes and retweets is off-putting. Disrespectful behaviour begets disrespectful behaviour, and if we’re all calling each other pedos or groomers or whatever, it makes the public discourse impossible to discuss the real issues that need attention in society.
I’m not one of those “billionaires shouldn’t exist” types, but I do wish the billionaires would play a more responsible role in society. Jeff Bezos is a gold medal tax avoider, union-busting greedy capitalist that dresses like a newly divorced middle-aged guy at a singles bar. Still, he’s honest about who he is and a more responsible steward of his businesses. Despite his ownership, the Washington Post continues to produce excellent journalism.
Musk rails against the government and taxes; he moved Tesla's headquarters from tax-heavy California to Texas to cut its tax burden. As a man who hates taxes, he’s had no trouble taking billions to boost his companies. The LA Times calculated Musk Companies had taken $4.9 billion from the USA government by 2015. Business Insider tallied Elon Musk’s companies' totals since 2016- $7.6875 billion.
Perhaps he’s serious about the Twitter purchase, but I doubt it. The man is a walking Tweeting SEC violation. I think he made a significant investment hoping to drive up the share price.
He wanted to join the board, then decided against joining the board, and the shares didn’t react as he hoped. He made the privatization offer, and if the market investors thought he was serious, the share prices should have shot up, but the company's stock is down 4.69% (Elon says 69 hehe) this week.
Coaching Corner - Are you having adult conversations?
This week I’ve been diving into the psychoanalytic theory of Transactional Analysis (TA). Developed by Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne in the 1950s, it explores the three ego states we enter when having a conversation; the parent, the adult and the child.
Berne proposed that our childhood experiences affected the development of our ego states, particularly our parental relationships. Negative behaviours manifest themselves in adulthood as self-limiting behaviours as an adult. The therapy he developed around TA aimed to rewrite clients' “life script.”
I’ll keep it short, but if you think about each of the states, Adult, Child and Parent, how do you think those conversational interactions play out?
The child state - There are three subsets; the adapted child is either compliant or rebellious. The compliant-adapted child conforms to others' expectations to please, and the rebellious-adapted child reacts with defiance and hostility when facing perceived conflict.
The free child is fun, spontaneous and quick to say what's on their mind, often unfiltered. The free child ego state is creative and playful.
The parent state - The two subsets of the parent state are the critical-controlling parent and the nurturing parental state. The critical parent is strong and opinionated. Their behaviour can hurt the self-esteem of the other person in the conversation. The nurturing parental ego state cares lovingly, but sometimes that can result in over-nurturing or rescuing behaviour.
In the adult state - there are no subsets, while in the adult ego state, we react and interact with the here and now. Past experiences are not controlling us. The adult ego state is open and rational and rarely makes harsh judgements about the other person in the conversation. When in an Adult conversation, we are more respectful, relaxed and actively listening to our conversational partner.
We move in and out of these states, but the aim should be to maximize the number of conversational interactions we have in the adult state.
Think about your recent interactions; where would you place your ego state with your partner, boss, or pizza delivery person after your food was an hour late?
It takes practice not to have a triggered response, putting you into one of the parental or child ego states, but when presented with a situation, pause, take a breath and think, “If I’m being my adult self, how should I engage in this conversation.”
Word the Week - Palaver (pa·lav·er)
1. unnecessarily elaborate or complex procedure.
"there's a lot of palavers involved."
1. talk unproductively and at length.
"it's too hot for palavering."
I like this word, but it's an ironic word of the week as I drop 1500 words into your inbox.
Disinformation - Conspiracies
As I mentioned in the last mailer, I am working on a series of articles about disinformation and its different forms. I’ve posted the first three articles this week. I hope you them enjoy and find them educational.
How to create a conspiracy theory - is a brief overview of why people fall down the rabbit hole and why some might create conspiracies.
Let’s Make a conspiracy theory - I lay out the steps needed to create a conspiracy theory. I don't intend to turn you all into conspiracists, but by recognizing the mechanics, you can help deconstruct current conspiracies and identify new ones when they appear.
Make your conspiracy a success story - I highlight some of the tactics malicious actors use to help their conspiracies survive and thrive. I'll give you a hint; there's a lot of tribalism and fear involved.
What I’m Reading-Listening-Watching
Watching - At home, we finally binged all available episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, and we eagerly await season 5. After such a heavy show, I needed something lighter, so we watched Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty on HBO. It’s a fun romp. Based on the Jeff Pearlman book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers, the show covers the franchise's rise through the 80s.
Listening - The Scam Economy with Matt Binder - if you're into bitcoin and cryptocurrency, you’ll hear a lot of criticism from those who have no idea about the technology. Still, plenty of people with legitimate critiques needs addressing. Binder falls somewhere in the middle, but his guests definitely fall on the latter side.
Reading - How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley - I picked up this book after reading his other book, How Fascism Works, a short, concise step-by-step instructional on how Fascism takes hold in liberal democracies.
How Propaganda is a much deeper and more analytical look at the mechanics of propaganda and the dangers of malicious propaganda in liberal democracies.
Until Next Week, thanks for reading.