Retiring the myth of the billionaire genius
The Future. American society has a habit of lauding billionaires as the ultimate voices of wisdom regarding business, politics, and philanthropy. But recent events at FTX, Twitter, and Meta prove that billionaires are more like us than we think: imperfectly human. The less society puts them on a pedestal, the more likely they’ll be able to sidestep disaster due to unchecked management. If they lead with more grace and humility, they may build greater trust with the public and rewrite the narrative.
A tumultuous week for titans
- Sam Bankman-Fried was hailed as a “wunderkind” and coveted for his political donations and philanthropic efforts before his crypto exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy on Friday. FTX looked like a safe bet in a volatile industry… Then it collapsed.
- Elon Musk has been struggling to keep Twitter afloat in recent weeks. He’s firing and rehiring people as he realizes the company needs them, attempting to profit from blue check-mark subscriptions, and threatening bankruptcy. Most of the company’s senior leadership has flown the coop, and now the FTC is raising an eyebrow.
- Mark Zuckerberg is pouring Meta funds into a virtual world that few want to inhabit while laying off thousands of mostly non-metaverse employees.
As American as apple pie
Some billionaires are brilliant entrepreneurs. However, celebrity worship combined with society’s respect for making bank can sometimes lead anyone astray — no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
While it’s frustrating to see so many lose their jobs due to economic instability and poor decision-making at the top, it’s still refreshing to hear one of these titans apologize. “I’m sorry” goes a long way.