John Skipper vs. David Samson, Elon Musk vs. Substack
No such thing as halfway CEOs
“Moral crusade or a business strategy?” is, in my opinion, one of the era’s big, unresolved questions. It’s unresolved because corporate leaders so infrequently attempt to resolve it, preferring to sell the former as also the latter. Somehow, magically, there are no tradeoffs here. That which is morally necessary just doubles as intrinsically profitable. It’s a feature of our epistemically diffident age that almost nobody pushing a cause can admit, for even a second, to a cost or a downside, lest you leave any room for doubters.
But life doesn’t really work that way, at least not often. Your big moral choices are often moral because they don’t obviously benefit you. Speaking of which, if you haven’t heard, Twitter is curbing the shareability of tweeted Substack links, seemingly because Twitter sees Substack’s Notes feature as a potential threat.
I wish the Substack founders the best in this conflict, as I like them and am appreciative for the platform, but I’m pretty agnostic on the question of whether Twitter is smart to undermine another platform with overlapping content.
I’ll say this, though: If Elon Musk hadn’t billed himself as a noble free speech warrior, this policy could be disliked and disagreed with, but ultimately go down easier among creators and readers alike. It’s just business, or, as Logan Roy appraises, “It’s a move!”