Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel criticized Twitter on CNBC today for its poor management, saying executives likely smoked too much pot.
"Twitter is hard to evaluate," Thiel, an early Facebook investor, told CNBC. "They have a lot of potential. It's a horribly mismanaged company — probably a lot of pot smoking going on there. But it's such a solid franchise it may even work with all that."
While Thiel didn't cite any evidence to back up his assertion, Twitter has struggled with management problems since going public in 2013. In June, Chief Operating Officer Ali Rowghani resigned in the midst of tensions with other executives. The company also replaced its chief financial officer in July.
Twitter's stock has soared and fallen since it went public in November of last year, and is now trading at around $51, up about 13% from its opening price. Twitter also recently was able to raise an additional $1.8 billion in debt.
This isn't the first time smoke has swirled around Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. The company's offices once played host to Snoop Dogg. Journalist Nick Bilton's wrote in "Hatching Twitter" that "like a magician pulling a rabbit out of thin air," Snoop pulled out "a large blunt the size of a Sharpie pen." Bilton recounts that Snoop's entire entourage started smoking, and "in a matter of minutes, the cafeteria had become the stage for an impromptu Snoop Dogg concert, with a dozen large blunts being passed around among famous rappers and Twitter employees." The company's senior executives were at an off-site meeting and a company lawyer stopped the party, "bequeathing a haze of smoke, dozens of stoned employees, and hundreds of tweets in their wake." Bilton writes that Dick Costolo, the company's CEO was "furious" when he learned about the smoking and decided it was "time for Twitter to grow up."
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Jason Goldman, an early Twitter employee, tweeted, "Yo but how high were you when you decided to go live on an ocean platform," referencing Thiel's support for "seasteading," or man-made colonies built in the middle of the ocean, out of government control.
Here's the video from 2011.
Update — Sept. 17, 1:28 p.m. ET: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has responded to Thiel's claims.
Update — Sept. 17, 3:00 p.m. ET: Founders Fund, the venture capital firm where Thiel is a partner, has continued this high-minded discourse on corporate governance.
Molly Hensley-Clancy is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Molly Hensley-Clancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at email@example.com.
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