What you need to know about Elon Musk’s inner circle on Twitter

Like Elon Musk carries out his chaotic first days as new CEO of Twitter — cutting staff, trolling employees and users alike, and scaring advertisers — you might be wondering, who does this guy get his advice from?

In his first two weeks at the helm of Twitter, Musk has assembled a tight-knit group of his “war room” advisers. Many members of the group are longtime confidants of Musk, and some of them have very little social media experience. Since Musk is the ultimate decision maker, it’s unclear exactly how much power they have over Twitter, but these numbers have gained influence over one of the world’s most powerful online communication platforms overnight.

To better understand how Musk plans to change Twitter, it’s worth learning more about the backgrounds, relationships, and beliefs of the key men (none of Musk’s key advisers are women) who have Musk’s attention. None of Musk’s advisers responded to Recode’s request for comment.

Jason Calacanis.
Dion Lee/Vox; fake images

Jason Calacanis

what he is known for
Calacanis is an early-stage technology investor who has invested in Uber and Robin Hood. He is a popular media figure in technology who co-hosts two podcasts, This week in Startups Y Everything inside. He is also a prolific tweeter and known for be a self made networking master from his time as one of the first tech reporters in New York during the dot-com boom.

How do you know Musk?
Musk and Calacanis have a friendship. going back to the Calacanis days starting the tech trade rag, Silicon Alley Reporter. Musk later inverted on Calacanis’ now-defunct Google search competitor, Mahalo. And Calacanis was supposedly the first owner Tesla’s Model S car.

We know Calacanis has professed his loyalty to Musk as a friend of private texts published in judicial documents of the Twitter against Elon Musk case.

In April, when Musk asked if Calacanis wanted to be an adviser to Twitter after closing the deal, answered:

“Board member, advisor, whatever…you have my sword.”

What we know about your ideas for Twitter
Calacanis threw Musk in charge users for verification checkmarks several months ago, a controversial idea that Musk has now launched. “[W]Why should blue check marks be limited to the elite, the press and celebrities? How is that democratic? Calacanis wrote in a text to Musk in April.

Other ideas launched by Calacanis in text messages to Musk include charging users to message a large group of users at once, moving Twitter headquarters from San Francisco to additional Tesla factory space in Austin, splitting revenue with popular creators to post content on Twitter and require employees to come to the office twice a week.

On the subject of content moderation, Calacanis has said in court documents to Musk that he wants to make Twitter’s algorithm and moderation more “understandable and fair.”

political affiliation
Calacanis has supported some Democratic party leaders such as Hillary Clinton in the past. He also raised funds money for a journalist to investigate progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, whose opponents said he was too lax on crime – before his June 2022 retirement.

Relevant experience
Calacanis has a long career in the media as a businessman and journalist. After Silicon Alley Reporter, Calacanis founded one of the first blogging companies called Weblogs which sold to AOL for $25 million in 2005.

David Sacs.
Dion Lee/Vox, Getty Images

david sacks

what he is known for
sacks is a technology investor and businessman. He was the founding COO of PayPal, the founder and CEO of Yammer (a work messaging and social networking app that was sold to Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion) and interim CEO of Zenefits in 2016.

Sacos, like Calacanis, co-host of the popular all inside podcast and is a well-known figure in the tech industry.

How do you know Musk?
Sacks and Musk go back to their days as members of what has been called the “PayPal mob,” a group of early PayPal executives and employees, including billionaire tech entrepreneur and major donor to the republican party Peter Thiel, who went on to found or invest in other successful tech companies.

What we know about your ideas for Twitter
Sacks has tweeted that contrary to media reports, has no formal role at Twitter and is simply helping out as needed. However, Sacks has been weighing important decisions, as he was reportedly discussing make Twitter users pay a monthly fee to use the service after a period of time, according to Platformer.

The tech investor has also outspokenly defended Musk’s removal of free blue checkmark verification for public figures, and he has criticized “the entitled elite” for complaining about the matter.

political affiliation
sacks, which has donated to Democrat Y republican campaigns in the past, he is increasingly becoming a popular figure in conservative media Twitter circles. a recent New Republic profile article Sacks called him “the leading practitioner of a new right-wing sensibility that has emerged in the political realignments brought about by Trumpism and the pandemic.” Like Calacanis, Sacks was a Main supporter of Boudin’s impeachment Campaign.

Sacks aligns himself with Musk on supporting negotiations with Russia to end the war in Ukraine, and has also criticized social media platforms for put permanent bans on politicians.

Experience in social media management
Sacks co-founded a social podcasting platform called Callin, similar to Clubhouse, but one that allows you to save and edit your recordings – which was released last September. He also co-founded Yammer, an enterprise social networking app, in 2008.

Sriram Krishnan.
Dion Lee/Vox, Getty Images

sri ram krishnan

what he is known for
Krishnan is an investor at high-tech venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and previously held leadership positions at major social media companies like Facebook, Snap, and Twitter.

He is also known for hosting the popular tech talk show, The good weather show, which he hosts with his wife Aarthi Ramamurthy.

How do you know Musk?
Krishnan and Musk reportedly crossed paths in Silicon Valley circles a few years ago, but their most notable collaboration was last year when Musk made a impromptu live appearance at Krishnan talk show on Clubhouse.

What we know about your ideas for Twitter
Krishnan refused to comment to BBC about “anything Twitter related” earlier this month.

political affiliation
Unknown.

Experience in social media management
Sriram Krishnan is the only one in Elon Musk’s inner circle of Twitter advisers who has actually worked at the company and for other major social media platforms.

Krishnan built his career as a social media executive, first working at Facebook (now Meta) on mobile monetization from 2013 to 2016, then in Snapand then Twitter from 2017 to 2019 working on his core product, before becoming a crypto investor at Andreessen Horowitz.

Alex Spiro.
Dion Lee/Vox, Getty Images

alex spiro

what he is known for
Spiro is a famous lawyer who represents Musk. In the past, the has represented A-list clients like Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper and tennis champion Naomi Osaka.

How do you know Musk?
Spiro is not only Musk’s lawyer, but one of his “closest lieutenants, confidants and advisers,” according to a washington post profile. He has represented Musk in high-profile defamation cases. lawsuit you faced in 2018 to their dispute over the purchase of Twitter.

What we know about your ideas for Twitter
Spiro advises on legal policy on Twitter, but hasn’t shared his thoughts on turning the company around.

political affiliation
Spiro keeps a private profile so we don’t know much about his politics, but The charge reported that he served as an advisor to the criminal justice reform organization United Justice Coalition.

Experience in social media management
None.

Jared Birchal.
Dion Lee/Vox, Getty Images

Jared Birchal

what he is known for
Birchall is primarily known for being Musk’s. “straight” family wealth manager He is also the CEO of Neuralink, a neurotech company co-founded by Musk.

How do you know Musk?
Like Musk’s lawyer Spiro, Birchall is especially close to Musk. Bloomberg he called him the billionaire’s “right-hand deputy.”

Birchall met Musk a decade ago when he was working at Morgan Stanley in Los Angeles. according to the Wall Street Journal. He reportedly impressed Musk by raising hundreds of millions of dollars in loans at a time when Musk was “strapped for cash.”

The wealth advisor also He reportedly hired an investigator to dig up dirt from the British cave diver. who criticized Musk for trying to get involved in rescuing a football team trapped in Thailand in 2018.

What we know about your ideas for Twitter
It’s unclear what specific ideas Birchall has for Twitter, but we do know that he was instrumental in managing relationships with bankers like Morgan Stanley – who led the financing of the Twitter deal, according to texts revealed in court documents.

political affiliation
Unknown.

Experience in social media management
None.

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