Updated: Feb 28
Unpopular Opinion: Netflix is struggling to make profits because Twitter has more drama. What’s more- when Twitter felt that its grip was loosening, it offered itself as the premises as well as the premise of drama (Twitter’s acquisition by Musk). We’ve handpicked our 3 favorite sagas that literally unveiled on Twitter:
1. 3 Tweet Bombs by Chanpeng Zhao
3 Tweet Bombs by Chanpeng Zhao (nicknamed: CZ) that knowingly, or unknowingly, SIGNIFICANTLY contributed to the collapse of Cryptoverse Billionaire Sam Bankman Fried (nicknamed: SBF) and his company FTX.
Believe it or not, the collapse of the $32 Billion valued Crypto Exchange platform- FTX happened within a span of JUST 10 days and it all started by a humble blog post by CoinDesk on 2nd Nov, crunching the balance sheet of Alameda Research (also owned by SBF). This triggered a sell-off and also set CZ to work. CZ, the co-founder and CEO of the world’s largest Crypto Exchange Binance, took to twitter to unleash 3 Tweet Bombs over a span of 5 days that just made everything so much worse for FTX:
6th Nov: Strike 1
CZ Tweets that Binance is gonna sell all the FTT tokens (FTX’s own cryptocurrency) because of the ‘recent revelations’ i.e. CoinDesk blogpost. Basic finance: massive sell order = price fall.
7th Nov: SBF tweets (now deleted):
A competitor is trying to go after us with false rumors. FTX is fine. Assets are fine.
8th Nov: Strike 2
CZ tweets that Binance is planning to take over FTX to solve all of its problems. However also gives a clear warning in the comments that FTT tokens will be ‘highly volatile’ in the coming days.
10th Nov: Strike 3
In what might have been the world’s fasted due diligence ever, Binance tweeted about a failed due diligence in just 30 hours from CZ’s post, pulling the plug on FTX one final time.
On 11th Nov, FTX filed for bankruptcy. The feds have charged SBF with 8 criminal counts to which SBF has pleaded NOT GUILTY and is currently in house arrest under bail. The total loss arising out of the FTX saga is estimated to be upwards of $8Bn!!
2. ELON MUSK's TWITTER RIDE
Elon Musk’s journey from being the most celebrated Twitter user to finally owning it and then (probably) breaking it. Musk and the Twitter Board both have tweeted so much about the deal. Here are some tweets that captures the essence:
Shortly after making an offer to the board to buy twitter at $43Bn, Musk launched a poll to seal his resolve: (A little bit of background: Musk believes that, “The Voice of the people is the voice of God” and so he’s been very diligent in complying with the Twitter Poll results)
In May’22, Musk halted the Twitter Deal as he discovered that fake/spam accounts in Twitter were probably much more than 5% (which was claimed earlier). To this, Parag Agarwal, the then CEO of Twitter posted a loooong thread of Tweets explaining all the complexities around bots and fake accounts, to which Musk responded:
On 27th Oct’22, Musk finally closed the deal and officially took over twitter. He literally carried a bathroom sink through the front door of Twitter HQ and then posted it on Twitter with the tagline, “Let that SINK in”:
Ever since Musk has taken over Twitter, in a bid to "Free the Bird", he has: -Fired the CEO and the CFO of the Company -Fired close to 4,000 employees worldwide (India alone saw more than 90% of its workforce being laid off) accounting for roughly 50% of its workforce. -Fired more than 5,000 contracted staff -Been accused of firing engineers and employees for disagreeing with him or nagging in the company’s private Slack. (Quite ironical for a man who claims to be a free speech absolutist); and -Created chaos by reinventing the coveted BLUE CHECKMARK that was earlier awarded to distinguish genuine notable account holders, such as celebrities and organizations, from impostors or parodies, and now simply comes for $8Bn a month. OUTCOME? Unhappy employees and unhappy customers! How unhappy? 17Mn Twitter users voted to kick him out from the position of CEO, BECAUSE he asked!
Fun Fact: This will be the 3rd time Musk is stepping down from the role of a CEO of a
Company. Previously, both in his 1st Venture Zip2 and 2nd venture X.com (later PayPal), he
was eventually asked to step down from the role of a CEO.
3. Ashneer Grover and FAMILY dragging the entire C-suite of BharatPe with them, after being kicked out of their own co-founded Unicorn Startup
Ashneer Grover along with his wife and some other family members were kicked out of BharatPe in the month of Feb-Mar'22 with allegations of fraud and embezzlement of funds. It's natural that the Grover family had their side of the story to share but it appeared that they weren't given enough opportunity to express it. This led to both sides being left outraged and with only 1 place to vent it out- Twitter!
Most of the tweets have now been deleted from both sides in fear of legal recourse. However, we've captured 2 such sagas that are just drama-overload:
Shortly after being kicked out, Madhuri Jain Grover (Ashneer's wife) took to twitter to call out BharatPe's management for unethical and immoral practices in the company:
Congrats @SuhailSameer14 @BhavikKoladiya and Shashvat Nakrani. Now you may indulge in your ‘drunken orgies’ without having to wait for me (righteous lady) to leave office. Slow clap!! — Madhuri Jain Grover (@madsj30) February 23, 2022
She also released video footage of some of the after-office parties, which was appearing to be more ordinary than one would have expected, TBH.
And drink and smoke in office and burn the place down ! For you have no pain for what @Ashneer_Grover built single handedly and you snatched !! @SuhailSameer14@BhavikKoladiya@bharatpeindia@timesofindia@HindustanTimes — Madhuri Jain Grover (@madsj30) February 23, 2022
And treat women like objects like I’ve been treated in the whole episode with the male chauvinistic Board supporting you.
And these are the people @SuhailSameer14 sitting on Governance Review and passing judgement on me ! Great work by @sequoia and @HarshjitSethi and Chairman Rajnish Kumar for a perfectly executed witch hunt with your accomplices @sumeetsingh29 and @BhavikKoladiya. @bharatpeindia — Madhuri Jain Grover (@madsj30) February 23, 2022
In the month of Apr'22, an ex-employee of BharatPe took to LinkedIn to appeal to the board to release their past salary dues. Ashneer Grover didn't leave a chance to make a statement and called out the Company for failing to pay employee dues. Here's the thread:
Even though this war was waged on LinkedIn, Twitter users called the BharatPe management out for behaving like "kids" or "BigBoss" and making a joke of themselves.
The outcome of these Twitter wars haven't been really good for the Grovers. Even though BharatPe management had reserved their right to take a legal action on the Grover family, it was understood that such a situation may not arise if both the sides parted ways peacefully. While it is evident that peace was not achieved, to add to it, BharatPe started facing financial troubles in the face of the funding winter AND Grover released a book titled "Doglapan", giving a detailed account of his side of the story. Outcome?
In Dec'22, BhartPe filed a criminal suit against Ashneer Grover and family, seeking up to ₹88.67 Crore in damages for alleged cheating and embezzlement of funds. If found guilty, they could face imprisonment of upto 10 years.
This article is a part of the January'23 edition of our Startup Newsletter. Here's the complete publication: