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Elon Musk, dual-class shares, and who owns the future – TechCrunch

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Last but not least, technology news was entertaining this week. The fact that earlier in the week we learned that Elon Musk had bought a substantial percentage of Twitter’s stockspent the middle of the week learning that he had joined board, and by the end of Friday they were busy reading about it how the employees digest the thing it was busy.

But better busy than not, and the saga has given us a lot to think about. I would like to address the issue again today through the lens of voting rights.

Something we’ve seen in recent years is multi-class stocks in startups. Simply put, multi-class stocks exist when investors and founders create a stock class that gives them more votes per unit of stock than other, lesser types of corporate stocks. This does a few things, including concentrating power in fewer hands. At the extreme, multi-class share setups can ensure that a founder has complete control of a company forever.

Facebook is such a company. Twitter isn’t.

The difference between the two companies is not idle. Facebook is struggle to reinvent themselves itself under the leadership of the same leader who launched it to early success, while Twitter, by contrast, is now run by a non-founder and has just added a controversial power user to its board. These are very different results for publicly traded social networks.

Which brings us to what makes me laugh. In my understanding of today’s tech tribalism, the people most intrigued by Elon Musk and his own brand of capitalism are also those most in favor of using multiclass stocks to control corporations. Or, more simply, the people who are comfortable with Facebook’s CEO holding all the cards are also the ones who are excited about what Musk can do on Twitter.

I think it’s an example of intellectual dissonance and one that compels me to ask a question to people who share my view – that creating a corporate governance that looks like a monarchy is a bad long-term choice: Given that a very wealthy shitposter just pushed her way onto Twitter’s board of directors through the creative use of her checkbook. Does that change our view of corporate governance and the importance of voting rights for shareholders, which are more than mirages?

nope Not really. Elon does activist shareholder things, which is fine, although some people find him as distasteful as some find him a mix of visionary and role model.

What will Musk bring to Twitter? Who knows. But at least it will be entertaining.

Empowerment of Non-Developers

my friend and colleague Ron Miller wrote about a project at Salesforce this week where people can write code by talking to a computer. I recommend you read it. It reminded me heavily from what GitHub recently built, a method to suggest code to developers as they type. Tools come for boring development work it seems.

Clean tech from Salesforce and Microsoft — GitHub’s parent company — won’t crowd out developers. The tricky jobs they do will continue to be in demand. Instead, look at code-writing tools from the perspective of people who don’t write code every day, but sometimes need to to get their job done. For them, the market seems to be clearing obstacles out of the way.

Between Rise of no-code and low-code services, and the above work on more automated code generation, we are slowly moving towards a future where the development work will be much more at the novice level and even more at the dabbler level. This could unlock one a lot of of human potential. And maybe even reduce the developer shortage on a modest basis.

All in all I am enthusiastic about this part of the technical work. Let’s give more people more power. It will be good for humanity as a whole.



Elon Musk, dual-class shares, and who owns the future – TechCrunch Source link Elon Musk, dual-class shares, and who owns the future – TechCrunch

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