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Hack Watch | February 9, 2024

Celebrating A Year Of All In

Economic MediaTech
Celebrating A Year Of All In

Let’s Examine The Tech Dufuses Who’ve Become Twitter’s Economic Pundits As A Result Of Elon’s Algorithm Fixing

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter (we refuse to call it X) has changed the site a lot. Despite his promises to end the bots, they’re now ever-present. Dumb guys paying for blue checkmarks now comprise the top replies to every tweet no matter how moronic their reply. And Twitter now rivals 4Chan for the internet’s most racist place. But perhaps one of the most consequential changes of Musk’s Twitter was his decision to promote the podcast that perfectly encapsulates the Silicon Valley dunce: All In. 

The podcast consists of former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, Venture Capitalist David Sacks, and tech investor Jason Calacanis. (There is, actually, a fourth member of the All In podcast, but for the life of me I cannot remember ever coming across a David Friedberg tweet. Blissfully unaware of his presence until writing this, I have decided to leave him out of this piece in the hope that he continues his under-the-radar approach).

Perfectly ensconced in a bubble of wealthy tech yes-men, the All In podcast guys have become influential economic pundits over the past year. Despite seemingly never having a correct opinion, David Sacks, Jason Calacanis, and Chamath Palihapitiya have all risen from niche figures to prominent voices due almost entirely to their connections to Musk. And it is due to their newfound prominence on a social media platform (still, alas) beloved by media and political figures that their terrible economic punditry is worth examining. 

While Palihapitiya has made countless bad tweets, in the past year it has been Sacks and Calacanis who’ve stolen the show. The two of them have used their newfound Twitter prominence to make awful predictions, threaten economic turmoil, and even deliver one of the worst campaign announcements in recent history. The two of them have worked hard to dispel the idea that Silicon Valley VC’s are either liberal or intelligent. 

As such, let’s remember some of their best work from the past year.

Breaking Onto The Scene: Causing A Bank Run And Then Crying About It

While the All In podcast buddies began to appear on everyone’s timelines with more frequency as soon as Elon took over the platform, their breakout performance was the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which they helped orchestrate (oops). 

Despite widespread claims that Twitter was to blame for the run on SVB, more recent reports have made it clear that it was group chats and DM groups among Silicon Valley’s elite (like the All In podcast) that caused the run. But while Twitter may not be to blame for the collapse of SVB, it was the ideal platform to witness the meltdown of the All In bros. 

Worried about their deposits and those of the companies they had invested in, both Sacks and Calacanis began posting tweets in a frenzy begging for the Fed to backstop deposits at the bank. Seemingly attempting to start nationwide bank runs in an attempt to force the Fed’s hand,  Calacanis’s unhinged tweets were the perfect introduction to tech founders’ understanding of economics: If something bad is happening to me it must be happening to everyone else. This is the key to understanding all economic prognostication from the All In gang. 

David Sacks Outsmarts The Bureau Of Labor Statistics (Or At Least He Thinks He Does)

In June, convinced that the layoffs in the tech sector were indicative of the economy at large, David Sacks decided that he would fix the data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics himself. Armed with the unflagging confidence of a Musk acolyte, Sacks put together a conspiratorial tirade alleging that the government was either incompetent or was attempting to distort numbers to cover up what was all around us: a secret recession. Fortunately for the economy, if not David Sacks, the numbers he found to be in conflict from the BLS reports actually include different definitions of employment, allowing for the discrepancy to be easily understood by anyone savvy enough to conduct a cursory Google search. Sadly, such research is often beyond the abilities of a confident titan of tech like Sacks.

Jason Calacanis  Invents A New Type Of Recession That Just Affects Him And His Friends

In October, Calacanis warned Americans about a new, dangerous form of recession that was hitting only him and his friends. Rather than grappling with the impact of Fed interest rates on a tech economy that was dependent on a zero interest rate environment, he took to Twitter to warn America that the layoffs the tech sector was facing would soon be moving on to other sectors. This not only did not pan out, as the unemployment rate has continued to be near historic lows, while economic growth has continued to surpass expectations. Perhaps next time Jason should take note of how sophisticated recession forecasters make these predictions and use a 1 in 3 chances hedge. 

Honorable mention: David Sacks and Elon Musk completely bungle Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign announcement. 

Announcing a presidential campaign on a Twitter livestream that crashes midway through? Only on X. 

Do the All In guys offer any particular insight into the economy? No. But they do offer us an insight into the minds of those running substantial portions of it. Despite the economy faring well, particularly for the wealthy, there is still massive discontent fueling their conspiratorial beliefs. Perhaps that insight is worth their presence on my “for you” tab.

And perhaps the media–still addicted to X–will take a valuable lesson from Musk’s pals and cease assuming that just because someone is rich or works in tech, that they have an understanding of the economy or politics worth elevating.

Economic MediaTech

More articles by Henry Burke

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