Musk isn’t alone in this unfortunate habit. Successful tech entrepreneurs, or even just lucky investors, seem particularly vulnerable to what’s known as “The Peter Principle.” The principle was first laid out in 1969 as a corporate management problem, based on the observation that successful workers were often promoted beyond the level of their own abilities. The concept has over time taken on the broader meaning that successful people will expand into new arenas until they hit the limits of their ability and fail, sometimes spectacularly. Silicon Valley leaders, in particular, seem frequently eager to reach beyond what they know and prove that their unique insights apply more broadly. Like Musk, they’re frequently wrong.
The absurdity helped trigger a big crypto market sell-off, with bitcoin dropping a bit over 7% in the following 24 hours. Doge dropped much less, which makes perfect sense when you think about it. Most of the people who followed Musk into doge didn’t know any better, and still don’t.
To the genuine credit of the crypto community, all of this has been met with withering scorn toward Musk, occasionally the richest man in the world. If he had any designs on taking a leadership position in the crypto community, he has likely destroyed them.
This response is admirable simply because it shows no willingness to sacrifice the truth to coddle a misinformed but influential billionaire. More broadly, negging Musk seems positive for the industry simply because he lacks the right character to positively contribute. His embrace of arrogance extends to recently taking the title of “Technoking of Tesla.” That’s of course a bit of a joke, but there’s always truth in a joke – and crypto has no appetite for kings.
You can push back against that sort of empty swagger when your own position is so strong. Even after Musk’s rug-pull, BTC and doge prices are still above where they were just three months ago. Musk’s adventures in crypto have almost certainly been a long-term net positive simply by virtue of raising awareness, and so there’s little mourning as he files out the revolving door marked “dilettantes.”
Compare Elon’s behavior with two other figures who could rightly declare themselves king of something or other: Vitalik Buterin and Jack Dorsey. You might not even immediately connect Dorsey to crypto, but he made a huge splash by adding bitcoin sales to the Cash App in January 2018, and Square has also been funding bitcoin development for years.
An even more sterling example was provided by Vitalik Buterin, nearly simultaneously with Elon’s peacocking. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder and figurehead of Ethereum, simply destroyed billions of dollars’ worth of altcoins he had been “gifted” unwillingly in an apparent marketing stunt. He also warned token founders not to pull the same shenanigans again, saying “I don’t *want* to be a locus of power of that kind.”
Vitalik’s gesture, unlike Elon’s declarations, was met with widespread praise. Not only was it a seeming rebuke of the same spammy token-generation that doge itself was intended to spoof, Vitalik’s disavowal of his own influence is fully in line with the leaderless, community-driven ethos at the core of crypto.
This content was originally published here.