In a very rare ‘W’ for Elon, he gave some great career advice to young people: Don’t be a leader just for the sake of being a leader. And he’s right! An often neglected part of leading is knowing how to follow.
In what way, you might ask? Any competent member of the C suite knows you can’t do it all by yourself — delegating matters to competent employees capable of handling them can make or break a company. Considering that Elon just fired Deputy GC Jim Baker for “doing his job,” things aren’t looking too great over there.
Let’s get into the details of the “Greatness,” shall we? According to the Daily News, here’s what happened:
The Baker tweet came in reply to an accusation from journalist Matt Taibbi saying the attorney sought to leave Twitter’s new management out of vetting info about the [Hunter Biden] laptop story…To the chagrin of many conservatives, some reporting about the laptop was not allowed to be shared on Twitter in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
Before being hired as deputy general counsel at Twitter, Baker was a FBI lawyer under former Director James Comey during the bureau’s probe of Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
Musk tweeted Tuesday that he questioned Baker about his actions and found “His explanation was… unconvincing.
But here’s the thing: Baker was literally just doing his job! The legal department is there to shield the company from risks like, as a random example, knowingly posting hacked dick pics.
Despite this amounting to an in-house lawyer doing in-house lawyer things, the conspiracy theories started flying.
Putting aside again whether or not dick pics are “important to the public dialogue,” people have been using the bird app to point out that Elon has a lot of egg on his face even if these conspiracies were real.
Yes! Elon suggests that Baker’s involvement — the DEPUTY GC — was new information to him:
…But the internet doesn’t forget — he seemed to be somewhat aware Jim Baker’s general existence as early as April:
Musk’s surprise was so grandiose in fact that the only way he could respond when Baker explained his job was to give him the boot:
The C suite skill that goes hand in hand with the delegation mentioned above? Being well informed.
Considering that Elon was willing to raise a kerfuffle over the number of fake Twitter users, you’d think he’d also have the mind to check on who filled ANY of the important roles at the company he planned spending billions of dollars purchasing? Right? That seems like the common sense thing to do here. Then again, I also place importance on knowing the general layout and mechanics of things I plan on dedicating a significant portion of my life to.
Elon does not do this. I know this based on his public unveiling of his car’s safety capabilities and his Elden Ring build. Really? Two medium shields?!
This decision is likely to bite Musk in the ass if any legal Twitter fallout comes home to roost. Corporate compliance was not my forte in law school, but it seems like booting internal legal for trying to make sure that dumb, potentially actionable things don’t happen could make it a little harder to claim in court that the company acted responsibly. I’d imagine Elon’s “hardcore lawyers” would have great difficulty proving that King Twit acted in good faith when evidence of him firing all his company’s checks and balances to “own the libs” is plastered all over the internet. Surely tweets can get deleted, like how Elon deleted his own tweets when he fired Eric Frohnhoefer for answering the question Musk asked of him, but screenshots shall live on. I’m sure Elon would like to go down in history as altruist par excellence. But in my mind, I’ll always remember him as the guy who fired a FORMER FBI ATTORNEY because his commitment to proving “We Have The Meats!” to Trump & Co. would make the average Arby’s employee look like a vegan.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by tweet at @WritesForRent.