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The Daily Missive

What Makes a Tech Mogul …and What Doesn’t?

By April 25, 2022February 8th, 2023No Comments

“Make every detail perfect, and limit the number of details to perfect”.

– Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter


Addison WigginDear Reader,

What makes a billionaire different from you and me? The hoary details matter.

We’d ask Elon Musk ourselves but we don’t have to. Jimmy Soni already did.

We talked to Jimmy for this week’s Wiggin Sessions. You’ll get the full barrel soon enough. But let’s just start with the opening sentence to the prologue to the introduction to the book Jimmy wrote:

“Fuck, you’re making me rummage around the attic,” said Elon Musk.

Those words open Jimmy’s book about PayPal, the entrepreneurs who founded it, and our current age of digital commerce were founded. There’s not even a page number yet, because it’s the introduction.

Weird timing, right? We all just learned that Twitter accepted Musk’s offer to buy the whole enchilada for $44 billion was accepted.

There’s either something woefully wrong with the banking system… or, that’s a shit-ton of money for one company. “I can finance it,” Musk told a group of listeners at a TED conference before the deal was concluded.

Click here to learn more

A timely interview with Jimmy Soni about Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and the other tech masters of the universe, here.

Click here to learn moreThis week I’m joined by Jimmy Soni, an award-winning author and former managing editor at the Huffington Post. His latest book is hot off the press. It’s The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley.

The timing is convenient given Musk’s public purchase of the “town hall of America”, Twitter, sans Jack Dorsey. Dorsey is and was Twitter’s founder.

Nobody really knows what Musk’s intentions are with his new mistress. But he has said publicly he believes in free speech. We’re almost in favor of the news today. But, still, what? Who’s got the clout to leverage a $44 billion dollar deal.

One man.

In Jimmy Soni’s previous book, A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age, he detailed the genius, if misunderstood, behind information network theory which we’ve been obsessed with recently, since talking to John Robb.

In today’s session Jimmy and I jammed about…

  • The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs – guys like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel – who are routinely eating up headline and challenging the financial markets
  • What characteristics separate these billionaire founders from an everyday thinker and worker
  • The surprising industries these titans went on to overhaul after PayPal…
  • The a dark side of the information age and the digital economy created by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs

Then we inquire, where are these billionaires putting their money now?

You’ll be surprised, as I was, to hear Jimmy’s answer. Click here or on the image above to find out.

Jimmy’s a good guy. It’s all too prescient his book is out now. Especially considering it took over 5 years to write.

More tomorrow.

Follow your bliss,

Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin
Founder, The Financial Reserve

P.S. Several years ago, when my daughter was still in wee school, a friend and I were chaperones on a trip to NYC. We attended Montessori Model U.N. of which my daughter and his son were participants.

As you might imagine, there was a lot of down time. During one lazy afternoon, we went to meet his cousin who was a higher-up at a firm called WeWork, whose nominal space was in Chelsea. Fun. We met with the cousin. The founder trundled through. We met him, too. Blah, blah.

The spectacular failure of the company brings me back to the days when Corning – a company that mostly made insulation – passed itself off as a new “.com”

WeWork is/was essentially a rental company for loft space in New York. But they pawned themselves off as a silicon valley tech company with a hip new workspace concept appealing to investment bankers mostly.

The tragedy of the workspace commons is now being streamed on AppleTV. The 8-part series bares the imaginative title: WeCrashed.

I’m hoping this week to compare and contrast WeWork to Tesla. Real Estate to SpaceX. Fraud in the marketplace to sensational success in investor imagination.

Let’s gooo!


Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin Addison Wiggin is an American writer, publisher, and filmmaker. He was the founder of Agora Financial and publisher for 18 years. An acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, his books include: Financial Reckoning DayEmpire of DebtThe Demise of the Dollar, and The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar. Addison is also the writer and executive producer of the documentary I.O.U.S.A., an exposé on the national debt, shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2008. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his family. Addison started his latest project, The Wiggin Sessions, powered by The Essential Investor, in March 2020. He films from a homegrown studio in his basement.