I’ve been re-watching “Ted Lasso” in anticipation of its return next week. I was late to the show because I was skeptical that something that began as a commercial for something I wasn’t interested in was going to interest me, but I was wrong.
The first season was the perfect balm for the first year of the pandemic, and the second season added depth and a dose of reality to the story line. The thing I like best about the show are the moments when the bullies are bested; in fact, one of my favorite scenes provides the title for this piece.
I thought about this scene when I saw the latest Elon Musk Twitter brouhaha. I don’t follow Elon but I see enough from him to know what stupidity he is spewing that day. On Monday an employee reached out to him via Twitter to see he’d been fired:
Dear @elonmusk 👋
9 days ago the access to my work computer was cut, along with about 200 other Twitter employees.
However your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am an employee or not. You've not answered my emails.
Maybe if enough people retweet you'll answer me here?
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 6, 2023
The ElonStans immediately began making fun of him, and of course so did Elon. Halli never lost his cool though, despite Elon’s mockery of his disability, and patiently answered Elon’s questions in this thread.
Hi again @elonmusk 👋
I hope you are well.
I’m fine too. I’m thankful for your interest in my health.
But since you mentioned it, I wanted to give you more info.
I have muscular dystrophy. It has many effects on my body.
Let me tell you what they are: https://t.co/2vb16kP6Yv
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 7, 2023
Turns out Halli is a pretty sympathetic figure, someone dealing with a debilitating illness who is making life better for other disabled people in Iceland. Oh, and he was Iceland’s 2022″Person of the Year”.
Then we learned this key fact: Halli sold his company to Twitter in 2021. But instead of taking his payment in a lump sum, his contract stipulated that he be paid instead as an employee, so he could pay income tax because he’s thankful for all of the benefits he’s received growing up and living in Iceland.
But Elon’s picking a fight with someone pretty great isn’t all of it. See when Elon fired Halli, he triggered the clause in the contract that stipulates that Halli is now to be paid the full sale price as a lump sum. Oh, and he sold it for 100 million dollars. Yep. So Elon had second thoughts and they’re working things out. And to think that Twitter is free.
In the “Ted Lasso” scene I referenced at the beginning, Ted gives a speech that includes this (no spoilers):
You know, Rupert, guys have underestimated me my entire life. And for years, I never understood why. It used to really bother me. But then one day, I was driving my little boy to school and I saw this quote by Walt Whitman, and it was painted on the wall there. It said, “Be curious, not judgmental.” I like that.
So I get back in my car and I’m driving to work, and all of a sudden it hits me. All them fellas that used to belittle me, not a single one of them were curious. You know, they thought they had everything all figured out. So they judged everything, and they judged everyone. And I realized that their underestimating me… who I was had nothing to do with it. ‘Cause if they were curious, they would’ve asked questions.
Good advice for Twitter and beyond.
The episode is called “The Diamond Dogs” so you know where I’m going with this.