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Musk and the SEC reached a settlement over the weekend that forces the founder to resign as the executive chairman of Tesla for the next 3 years. The Hustle Sponsored by Elon Musk steps down, pays $20m fine in settlement...
By: Wes Schlagenhauf
October 1, 2018
Musk and the SEC reached a settlement over the weekend that forces the founder to resign as the executive chairman of Tesla for the next 3 years.
In the past year, he’s launched a flamethrower pop-up shop, sulked on an earnings call, had a high-profile fling with an electronic musician, called a hero a “pedo,” and admitted he doesn’t leave the office for days at a time -- yet somehow carved out time to smoke a fatty on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
That’s all on top of Tesla’s hard-to-watch 2-year struggle to meet production goals on their new Model 3 (though, they did meet their Q3 goal).
Roasted, flamethrower style
According to The Washington Post, the SEC had offered similar settlement terms a week prior to the lawsuit that Musk passionately declined, saying the “unjustified action” left him “deeply saddened and disappointed.”
But, like any responsible parent, the SEC doesn’t give a sh*t if Elon likes them or not.
So they sued him, dropping the company’s stock by 14% (that’s more than $7B in shareholder value) -- Musk himself reportedly lost $1.6B in a single day.
Bluff called, Musk settled and agreed to resign for at least 3 years and will pay a collective $40m fine between himself and Tesla.
This may have been the best thing for Tesla
Yes, Musk is a highly intelligent and influential individual, but it’s clear the guy needs a nap. This SEC run-in may prove the white knight to a Tesla in distress, shackled to the whims of a stretched-too-thin executive.
Now, the company has to hire a chairman to replace Musk (something corporate governance experts have suggested for years), along with 2 new independent directors.
In addition, Grimes’ ex will be on a short leash: Tesla now gets to monitor the communications of the outspoken ex-chief gunslinger.
Reality show: 5 scorned founders in a house...
Life’s a breach: Facebook admits 50m+ user data breach after a week of defections
On Friday, Facebook notified users that hackers had attacked its network and accessed the personal information of nearly 50m users.
Facebook’s stock fell more than 3% when news of the breach broke, giving the giant yet another scandal to rebound from at a time when its leadership team is more fractured than ever.
Hackers love irony
The hackers sneaked behind Facebook’s security through a piece of code in the company’s “View As” feature. Ironically, the “View As” feature was rolled out in July to let users view their profile as if they were a stranger -- an attempt to increase user privacy.
Although Facebook closed the loophole, it still did not know the full scope of the attack when it forced more than 90m users to log out of their accounts on Friday.
Inside and out, people are losing faith in Facebook
Facebook lost 2 important senior employees last week when Instagram’s founders abruptly resigned, and only months before WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum also left, further calling the company’s acquisition strategy into question.
Members of Congress have redoubled their criticisms of Facebook, which is still wrapped up in SEC, FBI, and FTC probes thanks to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
But worst of all, investors also seem to be packing their bags: Stock prices fell 3.4% after the company announced the breach. Share prices are down 10.3% on the year as the company struggles to rebound.
Private Chinese social media giant, ByteDance, aims at $75B valuation
As fortunes of American social media giants continue to shake (see above story), social media titans in China are only getting richer.
The Information first reported that ByteDance, the creator of the Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, the video sharing service Tik Tok and a mess of other media-tainment apps, is in talks to raise new funding worth $3B -- a number that, if hit, would give the company a $75B valuation.
Takin’ a byte out of the private market
Though the round isn’t official, a $75B valuation would make ByteDance one of the world’s most valuable private tech companies -- for context, Uber was recently valued at $76B.
Since the company was founded in 2012, ByteDance’s apps have become a favorite among users AND advertisers in the world’s most sprawling online population.
And they aren’t looking to stay exclusive to China forever
Last year, they bought Musical.ly (now part of Tik Tok), a lip-syncing social network popular with American and European teenagers -- the company’s first sign of global aspirations.
And it makes sense: Chinese regulators don’t mess around. If they don’t like something a content company is doing, they’ll ban them faster than you can say hashtag.
Last year, ByteDance was ordered to suspend updates to its news app Toutiao after China accused it of spreading, by their standards, distasteful material.
Gremlin raises $18m to expand its ‘failure-as-a-service’ platform
Gremlin, a startup that helps companies build resiliency by purposely breaking and overloading their systems, raised $18m to expand its app-crashing toolkit.
As big crashes become more common *cough* Facebook *cough*, Gremlin is leading the charge in the new field of “chaos engineering.”
AKA breaking things on purpose
We’ve all clicked “refresh” 437 times to get Netflix or Slack working when the rainbow wheel of death comes a knockin’.
Crashed applications are a big headache for users -- but a bigger headache for the engineers responsible for getting the failed systems back online.
Founded by 2 former Netflix and Amazon engineers who have seen the sh*t hit the fan, Gremlin simulates outages and bugs in a controlled setting to help companies identify weaknesses before their real systems crash.
The business of chaos
If the future is chaos, chaos engineers should make good money, right? That’s what Gremlin is betting on, anyway.
Investors also seem optimistic: In less than a year, Gremlin has raised $25.5m and works with a number of high-profile clients -- including Walmart, Expedia, and Under Armour.
Plus, with a site that serves up oxymorons this juicy -- orchestrated chaos, proactive failure -- how can Gremlin help but fail forward?