An irresistible force has met an immovable object
Two weeks into Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, I think I am oriented, have a reasonably confident read on what is going on, and have started to form an idea about what you and I could and should do in response. And I think the saga has now escalated into an important-enough subplot within the larger story of the the Silicon Valley vibe shift that it is worth tracking and understanding with some care, even if your lifestyle isn’t particularly coupled to the fate of Twitter.
In brief, an irresistible force has met an immovable object. An entrepreneur who has never met a venture he couldn’t master has met a platform that has never met a leader who could tame it. A legendary emperor has marched into a fabled graveyard of empires.
A more technical way of putting it: Musk and the society of hive-minds that is Twitter have gotten into each other’s OODA loops, leading to a kind of mutual collapse. Like two heavyweight boxers knocking each other out simultaneously.
A clear tell of a collapsed OODA loop is orientation loss, leading to predictable but obviously ineffective (and therefore exploitable) behavior. Normally, if only one side in an adversarial situation experiences such a collapse of the psyche, the other side is positioned to exploit it. This is what is meant by “getting inside the adversary’s decision cycle.”
But what happens when both sides experience simultaneous psyche collapse and nobody is around to exploit either very well? You get a situation that is rapidly degenerating on all sides primarily through compounding unforced errors, or own goals.
I call this situation the Muskening. Where every day is International Own Goal Day.1
In this first of what I think will end up being a 2-3 part series (I’m breaking it up in part because the situation is rapidly evolving, calling for updates), I want to set up my analytical frame and model Musk’s actions to date within it.