Musk, Zuck, SBF: the lousiest tech bosses of 2022 – rated | Expertise


It’s been a reasonably good few a long time for America’s prime tech CEOs, as their supposed brilliance turned them into billionaire oligarchs with cultlike followings. However in 2022, issues abruptly regarded a bit bleaker.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon reportedly reduce 1000’s of employees. Elon Musk, as soon as hailed as a genius, has revealed a very spectacular degree of incompetence at Twitter. Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to greater than a decade in jail. After which there’s Sam Bankman-Fried, who not too long ago turned a family title for disastrous causes.

In a 12 months of nightmarish tech trade headlines, an necessary query stays: which delusional egomaniac had it worst? Listed here are the outcomes of our investigation.

Mark Zuckerberg

Yr in overview: The onetime boy genius isn’t wanting like such a wunderkind today. In late 2021, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Fb wasn’t dystopian sufficient for him: the corporate was altering its title to Meta and working full-speed into the metaverse, an imaginary, goggle-dependent world the place till not too long ago folks had no legs. A 12 months later, whereas Zuck has saved screaming about digital actuality, Meta’s fortunes have plummeted.

In February, Zuck’s firm made historical past for the unsuitable causes: its inventory value dropped by $230bn in a day, a nationwide file. 9 brief months later, Zuckerberg advised staff he’d misjudged the fickle winds of enterprise: “I acquired this unsuitable, and I take duty for that.” In an admirable demonstration of such private accountability, he fired 11,000 different folks.

February additionally noticed Meta’s first drop in customers, and certainly, opening Fb lately has felt like visiting the ruins of Pompeii. Parts of a as soon as thriving society stay completely preserved, all however forgotten as time marches relentlessly on: TikTok, TikTok.

The underside line: Sure, Zuck misplaced $30bn on that fateful February day, however he would possibly simply be capable of squeak by on the $44.5bn he’s nonetheless acquired.

Horrible 12 months rating: 6/10.

Illustration of Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

Yr in overview: Zuck was removed from the one tech boss to see his workforce shrink this 12 months. Amazon additionally introduced layoffs, with the New York Occasions reporting 10,000 jobs may very well be reduce. In the meantime, maybe sad that his ex-wife was making headlines for enormous charitable donations whereas he maintains a fame as Dr Evil’s closest real-life analogue, Bezos confirmed up on CNN to inform everybody that he would give away the vast majority of his then $124bn internet value throughout his lifetime. Think about residing on lower than $62bn! It’s a win-win for Bezos: an apparently selfless gesture that can presumably haven’t any discernible influence on his life.

A type of beneficiant donations: $100m (.08% of his wealth) to Dolly Parton, to donate as she pleases. Giving your cash to the world’s most beloved nation star is the sort of under-the-radar transfer that claims: I’m doing this to heal the world, to not heal my picture.

It’s not the one time Bezos threw himself at a universally adored movie star this 12 months: when he flew into house in a rocket formed like a penis, he introduced alongside Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner. Sadly for Bez, slightly than singing the praises of house, Shatner later mentioned the journey “felt like a funeral”, evaluating the “vicious coldness” above with “the nice and cozy nurturing of Earth under” – not an excellent commercial for Bezos’s bid to colonize the galaxy.

In truth, he’s struggling to colonize your lounge. His personal staff not too long ago advised Insider that Alexa, the corporate’s voice assistant, was “a colossal failure of creativeness”. Bezos’s “pet undertaking” is being “gutted”.

The underside line: A sequence of embarrassments haven’t knocked Bezos off his perch as one of many richest males on the planet.

Horrible 12 months rating: 4/10.

Illustration of Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Yr in overview: In April, the world’s then richest man – who has repeatedly demonstrated that he doesn’t perceive the connection between phrases, actions and penalties – made a proposal to purchase Twitter at $54.20 a share. Which, you’ll absolutely agree, is hilarious as a result of it has the quantity 420 in it and Elon likes weed as a result of he’s a cool man.

When it began to appear like the sale would possibly actually occur, Musk determined that really, perhaps he didn’t need the positioning in spite of everything. However the firm wouldn’t let him off the hook, and after a authorized battle, he lastly went by means of with the acquisition, main to a different of his hilarious jokes: he carried a complete sink into the corporate constructing, apparently risking a hernia so he might tweet: “Let that sink in.”

That critical and considerate angle has outlined his tenure at Twitter to date. In a bid to create a Twitter 2.0 that nobody requested for, he has erased 1000’s of jobs; made up new guidelines after which canceled them; demanded that staff be “extraordinarily hardcore”, which can clarify the beds on the workplace; reinstated the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Roger Stone; tried to reinstate Donald Trump; reinstated Kanye West, then banned him once more; and banned, then reinstated, journalists. The mayhem has shattered his fame on the left, however on the far proper, the cult round him appears solely to be getting stronger: the level-headed people over at QAnon apparently now see him as certainly one of them.

He topped off the 12 months by taking a extremely scientific ballot of customers to see if he ought to give up as CEO. They mentioned sure. Let that sink in.

The underside line: From the surface, it appears like a disaster – however Musk reveals each signal of having fun with himself.

Horrible 12 months rating: 7/10.

Illustration of Parag Agrawal

Parag Agrawal

Yr in overview: In the beginning of the 12 months, the longer term regarded shiny for Parag Agrawal. He’d simply grow to be Twitter’s new CEO after receiving the board’s “unanimous” assist.

Then got here Musk.

Although the 2 had a cordial relationship at first, it shortly deteriorated as they clashed over Musk’s buy of the platform. When Musk wished to analyze the extent of Twitter’s bot downside, Agrawal defined intimately why the plan wouldn’t work; in one other instance of consummate professionalism, Musk, then age 50, replied with an emoji depicting fecal matter.

Musk lastly adopted by means of on his Twitter buy in October. He instantly fired Agrawal.

The backside line: Agrawal misplaced his job, however to this point he reveals no clear indication of being evil, and his exit might have earned him $50m.

Horrible 12 months rating: 7/10.

Illustration of Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes

Yr in overview: 2022 was the 12 months that the lengthy Theranos catastrophe lastly got here to a head.

It began in 2003, when Elizabeth Holmes based the corporate; the subsequent 12 months she dropped out of Stanford. Like so many different younger college students, she was chasing a dream – a dream to fake to invent a extremely cool know-how and make a billion {dollars} off it. However virtually 20 years after she based the corporate, Holmes started this 12 months with a conviction for defrauding buyers over her firm’s supposedly revolutionary blood-testing system.

Possibly it actually was concerning the buddies she made alongside the best way. These embrace Senator Cory Booker, certainly one of greater than 130 folks to ship letters of assist for Holmes earlier than her sentencing. She’s additionally developed a diehard fan membership, with supporters displaying up on the trial in full Holmes costume.

Nonetheless, she ended the 12 months with an 11-year sentence. So she’s a shoo-in for worst 12 months, proper?

Illustration Sam Bankman-Fried

Sam Bankman-Fried

Yr in overview: Unsuitable! As a result of there’s Sam Bankman-Fried, who swooped in on the finish of 2022 in a powerful last-ditch effort to say the title. His cryptocurrency trade, FTX, was on prime of the world just a few brief months in the past, working adverts in the course of the Tremendous Bowl and proudly displaying its title on the Miami Warmth’s enviornment.

However by November, the corporate had collapsed. Just a few weeks later, Bankman-Fried had been arrested within the Bahamas and charged with what a prosecutor referred to as “one of many largest monetary frauds in American historical past”.

It was an unbelievable flip of occasions: what may very well be a sounder funding than an organization constructed on a factor few perceive, whereas others worship it with weird fanaticism? No less than Bankman-Fried, like Zuckerberg, is taking full duty – “I fucked up,” mentioned the 30-year-old, who had allegedly used an encrypted group chat that was actually referred to as “wirefraud”.

The underside line: It’s arduous to say whether or not Holmes or Bankman-Fried has had a worse 12 months. However the truth that there’s any competitors tells you a lot about tech and obscene wealth.

Horrible 12 months rating: 10/10, for each.



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