Mike: Yeah. It was a leak made to help Twitter, methinks, but ended up dinging Disneyâs stock price. Ouch!
Farhad: But wait, there was one more bit of Twitter news: Marc Andreessen, the famous venture capitalist and somewhat controversial tweeter, announced that he was taking a break from the platform. At an industry event this week, he explained the move served as a kind of liberation. âI feel 50 pounds lighter,â he said.
I think this is terrible news for Twitter. Whether or not youâre a fan of Andreessenâs tweets, itâs a pretty bad sign if one of your more prolific producers of content decides he needs a break â and then says he feels much better after quitting.
But Iâm doubtful this will last long. Andreessen seems to really love the daily scrum of Twitter. As someone who shares that affection, I suspect it must be hard to stay away too long. I predict heâll be back in six months.
Mike: I mean, if youâre a person with outlandish and often controversial opinions willing to defend them vehemently in public on the internet, I guess I could see how getting off Twitter would be a refreshing change. Or you could just, you know, not tweet.
Facebook, meanwhile, is supposedly readying for release its enterprise collaboration product, which essentially makes it easier to talk to co-workers and extended family members throughout the workday. Somehow I donât think this will take off.
Farhad: More ways to talk to co-workers like you? Sign me up!
Mike: Uber is promoting its self-driving trucking division, Otto, which expects to start putting actual trucks on the road next year after expanding its fleet of trucks and creating new partnerships this year.
Oh, also YouTube hired a music bigwig, Lyor Cohen, who created the legendary Def Jam label and currently runs the label home to Fetty Wap, an artist I am told is beloved by âthe kids.â Itâs in the same vein as Apple picking up Jimmy Iovine or Spotify poaching Troy Carter, I gather. If youâre a tech company that has generally bad relationships with the music industry, you hire a veteran to be the face of negotiations for your company and hopefully do a bunch of repair work over the long haul.
Funny thing is, after asking about Cohen on Twitter yesterday, everyone told me the guy is sort of notorious for being, um, brusque, so weâll see how well that charm offensive goes.
Farhad: Look, anyone who signs Fetty Wap is good in my book. âTrap Queen,â amirite?
Mike: Indeed. The big thing this week, however, had little to do with traditional technology stuff and was more about space: The final frontier, as it were.
In a nutshell, Elon Musk, everyoneâs favorite playboy billionaire and âIron Manâ inspiration, showed off his plans to take us to Mars within the next eight years. A few hitches: Itâll cost $ 10 billion if everything goes to plan, and weâll probably have to be O.K. with the first people to go up possibly dying.
Sounds good to me. Thoughts?
Farhad: Iâm split. On the one hand, this is so great! After the Cold War-inspired space race, the United States government has long forgotten about big bets on space exploration. Whether you care about space for high-minded reasons â you think that exploring the universe is the highest purpose of humanity â or for more practical ones (you believe, like Musk does, that we need a backup plan in case the Earth goes to pot), the news that someone is finally pouring resources and ingenuity into a big extraplanetary goal should warm your heart.
Mike: It does! Also it seems like people who go to Burning Man really love it, too.
Farhad: On the other hand: Man, isnât this guy stretched too thin? It does kind of seem like he keeps raising the stakes in order to distract everyone from his problems, right?
Just look at his schedule: In the past few months Musk showed off Teslaâs first mass-market electric car, the Model 3; presided over a controversial merger of Tesla and SolarCity; outlined a new âmaster planâ for Tesla that suggests it will one day compete with Uber as a ride-hailing company; set out huge and potentially unfeasible production goals for the car company while dealing with fallout from accidents involving Teslaâs self-driving tech; tried to rally his workers in the face of a cash crunch at Tesla; and, on top of all that, Muskâs rocket that happened to be carrying another billionaireâs satellite exploded on the launchpad.
Thatâs so much stuff! If he ever wants to finish anything, shouldnât he, like, focus?
Mike: This is why you will never be a billionaire playboy, Farhad. Focusing on stuff is for losers. Blasting out ideas in a shotgun spray of creativity is how history is made and old industries are disrupted. Just ask me, Mike âPlayboyâ Isaac, a wellspring of creativity.
Anyway, the people have voted and youâre on the first rocket ship to Mars, not me. Any last words before possibly making the ultimate sacrifice?
Farhad: On the one hand, I will dearly miss my wife and kids. On the other hand, I will no longer have to do this insufferable weekly chat with you. Tough decision, but I think Iâm going with Elon. Mars or bust!