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How Elon Musk’s brutal crackdown at Twitter is inspiring Tech founders and investors

Hi, I’m Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a roundup of some of our top stories. 

I want to start by wishing you all a happy holiday season and New Year. 2022 was another year for the history books. The biggest military attack since WWII. Historic inflation across much of the Western World. One of the biggest financial scandals of all time.

Through it all, hundreds of thousands of you have opened this email and spent a little time with me each weekend. Thank you for reading. It’s a privilege to be in your inbox every week.

On the agenda today:

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Elon Musk’s biggest fans: tech founders

Tech execs applauding Elon

Lisa Blue/Philip Pacheco/Getty Images; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/Insider

From the moment Elon Musk took control of Twitter, he has been moving fast, breaking things, and sparking outcry. This past week, he said he’d step down as CEO after a Twitter poll found most respondents wanted him to.

Through it all, one group has been quietly cheering on the CEO from the sidelines.

For many Silicon Valley founders, Musk’s approach to his Twitter takeover makes him a visionary. His “hardcore” approach to cost-cutting and efficiency is a stark contrast to the Silicon Valley norm of lavish benefits and coddled workers — and tech execs see it as a blueprint to emulate at their own companies.

Why tech founders love Musk.

Partying, spending, and sexual-harassment accusations at Pollen

Callum Negus-Fancey and Liam Negus-Fancey in front of a festival themed background.

Alexander Wells for Insider

In May 2019, Pollen CEO Callum Negus-Fancey walked through the woods, grinning as he sprayed Fireball into his employees’ mouths out of a fake fire extinguisher. About 400 Pollen employees were camped out for five days to celebrate the UK-based events and travel company.

Three years later, Pollen’s parent company went bankrupt. About 430 employees were let go without their final paychecks. As of July 20, Pollen and its subsidiaries owed customers $8 million in refunds, according to an internal spreadsheet obtained by Insider. 

From the outside, Pollen’s collapse was a shock. But according to 31 former Pollen employees, the implosion was years in the making. Many Pollen operated a little too much like its festivals: Drugs were often present, and heavy drinking and partying seemed to be part of the job description.

Inside Pollen’s implosion.

The rise of the WFH whistleblower

Business man blowing orange whistle on blue background 2x1

EHStockphoto/Shutterstock; Rachel Mendelson/Insider

The Securities and Exchange Commission has seen a historic jump in complaints to its whistleblower program over the past few years: The program broke the record again this fiscal year with over 12,300 tips — a 136% increase from 2019. And this surge may not be a coincidence.

As the pandemic spread and workers retreated to their makeshift home offices, employees began to reconsider their relationship with work. The space between employer and employee helped many people come to terms with the malfeasance happening at their companies and, eventually, report it.

How remote work sparked a flood of whistleblowers.

Inside the grumbling at Goldman Sachs

David Solomon

Crains New York

There’s a sour mood at Goldman Sachs — and some of the blame is being pinned on CEO David Solomon. The news that bonuses are expected to fall across Wall Street doesn’t seem too surprising amid rising interest rates and sluggish dealmaking.

But at Goldman, dozens of insiders say that resentment is brewing because Solomon isn’t doing more to punish money-losing teams — and it could lead to a wave of defections from the bank’s top ranks. 

Read more on the turmoil at Goldman Sachs.

This week’s quote:

“It’s kind of amusing when I hear buyers’ pessimism about the market, and how they want to hold out for a great deal in a year from now. It’s unrealistic. I’ve been in this game a long time, and those people always lose out.”

More of this week’s top reads:

Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Jordan Parker Erb, Hallam Bullock, and Lisa Ryan. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.

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