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Fox Business on new Elon Musk bio – how he got tossed from running PayPal

  |   By Polling+ Staff

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and X, speaks to reporters as he leaves the “AI Insight Forum” at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers are seeking input from business leaders in the artificial intelligence sector, and some of their most ardent opponents, for writing legislation governing the rapidly evolving technology. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Who knew?

Elon Musk reminds of the old cartoon character Droopy the Master Detective basset hound, of whom it was said “he’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere.”

That seems like a description of Musk. He’s got Twitter – now renamed X. He’s got SpaceX. Then there’s the recent acquisition of a spanking new artificial intelligence company, xAI. There’s a construction company, The Boring Company. Don’t forget the Neuralink Corporation, a neurotechnology company. And there’s more.

But PayPal? And he got bumped from there? Really?

Yes, says Fox Business. https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/elon-musk-dethroned-peter-thiel-coup-led-paypal-mafia Here’s the headline:

Elon Musk was dethroned by Peter Thiel in a coup led by the ‘PayPal Mafia’

Walter Isaacson’s new biography ‘Elon Musk’ chronicles the billionaire’s power struggle with the ‘PayPal Mafia’

Fox Business writes this of Musk in covering longtime journalist and author Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Musk.

Elon Musk was ousted by the so-called “PayPal Mafia” from his role as chief executive of the payment platform while he was on vacation for his honeymoon over two decades ago, according to a new biography about the billionaire. 

Musk, who became CEO of PayPal when the new brand was formed after his online bank X.com merged with Confinity, was wearing out his welcome with colleagues in the summer of 2000 due to disputes about the direction of the company following the merger, Musk biographer Walter Isaacson wrote in his new book “Elon Musk” that was released this week.

…A nascent coup began to brew when (PayPal co-founder Max) Levchin vented his frustrations to some colleagues who shared his concerns about Musk’s leadership style and wanted to see a change at the top of PayPal. Things came to a head when Musk’s frustrated colleagues went behind his back to pull together a study that showed PayPal’s brand was more valuable than X.com’s, which drove a livid Musk to try to remove PayPal’s branding from their website, Isaacson wrote. 

The plotters were then joined by investor Peter Thiel, board member Reid Hoffman and product chief David Sachs in September 2000 – when Musk decided to take a honeymoon vacation with his first wife Justine that had been delayed after they wed earlier that year due to his work commitments.

With Musk on vacation to Australia, Levchin suggested that Thiel should return as CEO on a temporary basis, which he agreed to. That led the corporate insurgents to secure the backing of the company’s board of directors, which they secured in a meeting with Michael Moritz at Sequoia Capital’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.”

The coup was successful.

Elon Musk is a smart guy, but that doesn’t make him mistake-free. Yet one suspects that his misadventure with PayPal served as a learning experience for him in the world of creating, running and buying huge companies.

One suspects that had he not learned from his PayPal  experience he might not be where he is now – and worth Walter Isaacson’s time to write what will surely be a bestselling biographer.