Remember Ted Turner? He was the media darling of the seventies, eighties and early nineties. He created the revolutionary TV news concept called CNN. Then he bought the Atlanta Braves baseball franchise and turned it into a World Series champion. He even skippered an America’s Cup victory – then, the highest profile yacht race in the world. To top it off, he even married Jane Fonda, who was considered to be the American version of royalty.
But before this recollection ascends Ted Turner to deity status, it should be remembered that he was also a pig. Behind the charisma and the southern charm Ted Turner was, more often than not, a moody monster. In so many ways, he was the Elon Musk of that era.
He dominated the fields in which he was a player. And his character dominated the scandal sections of the media.
Why this lengthy dissertation of Mr. Turner and his similarities to Elon Musk? Well, it so happens that the real subject of this piece, Linda Yaccarino, has worked for both men. At the time of publication, she still works for one of them.
Linda served her media apprenticeship under Ted Turner. And, as you are no doubt aware, is drawing the curtain down on her career by heading up the operational side of X.
Her brief? To expand the social media platform’s advertiser base.
There are easy jobs. There are tough jobs. And then, there are impossible jobs.
When she accepted the CEO position offered by Musk in May, X had already lost half its advertisers. It seemed the perfect solution, given her vast experience in the commercial side of media. Thanks, in no small measure, to her initial time with Ted Turner.
But then Elon Musk had a surreal blowout at a televised conference. He told Bob Iger of Disney to go away (not quite those words). He then announced the plot by advertisers to blackmail him. His ideological see-sawing between anti-semitism and pro-semitism has become, for now at least, the active ingredient in the world’s perception of him. And has now triggered another mass advertiser exit from X.
I’m trying to imagine Linda Yaccarino’s eyes widening as the garbage continued to spew out of Elon Musk’s mouth at the conference. Anyone in close proximity to her may have been concerned that she’d developed a flash thyroid problem.
I’m also trying to imagine her phone call to Bob Iger a few weeks later in an attempt to pick up the pieces.
Bob Iger: “Hello”
Linda Y: “Hi Bob, How are you? It’s Linda Yaccarino here.”
Bob Iger: “Who?”
Linda Y: “Linda Yaccarino….from X.”
Bob Iger: (In an exact imitation of Elon a few weeks earlier)
By labelling Linda Yaccarino with the title ‘Tech’s biggest loser in 2023” we’re not being derisive, as the word ‘loser’ may suggest.
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