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Billionaire Buds: Elon Musk Thankful After Michael Dell Tweets His ‘Respect’

O’Ryan Johnson

‘Thanks Michael,’ the SpaceX and Tesla founder writes after Dell offers ‘respect’ to Elon Musk in the form of a famous speech.

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Michael Dell (left) and Elon Musk

Tesla founder and Twitter CEO Elon Musk thanked Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell on Wednesday for posting “The Man in the Arena,” a speech by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt that encourages those who blaze trails to ignore cynics.

“Win or lose, respect to @elonmusk for being the man in the arena,’ Dell tweeted, along with a picture that contained a portion of the speech.

“Thanks Michael,” the Tesla and SpaceX founder replied.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming,” Roosevelt said.

Roosevelt was taking aim at the cynicism of the time, and used the speech reminded those gathered at the centuries-old university about the importance of their work to humanity.

“The Man in the Arena,” as it came to be known, is a part of Roosevelt’s 1910 speech “Citizenship in a Republic,” which he delivered in Paris at the Sorbonne, on a European trip to collect the Nobel Peace Prize for his work resolving conflicts in Japan and Mexico, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Center.

“You and those like you have received special advantages; you have all of you had the opportunity for mental training; many of you have had leisure; most of you have had a chance for enjoyment of life far greater than comes to the majority of your fellows. To you and your kind much has been given, and from you much should be expected,” the 26th president also said to during that speech.

“The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer ... There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes second to achievement.”

Musk and Dell have been acquainted for years. Musk “stole the show” as the keynote speaker at Dell World in 2013, according to the Austin Business Journal.

Then worth only $6 billion, Musk drove on to the stage in a cherry-red Tesla, according to the Austin Business Journal, which gushed that he added a much-needed “wow factor.” That was Dell’s first show since he resumed control of the company and took it private.

While both men have had incredible success since then, Musk’s star has risen faster with his net worth climbing 3,133-percent to around $194 billion today, making him the world’s richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Dell’s net worth when Musk headlined the 2013 show was around $15 billion, according to the index, and has grown 200-percent to $45 billion since that point. However, if a pending merger between Broadcom and VMware makes it across the finish line, Dell – as the largest holder of VMware with 169 million shares – will walk away with $21.65 billion in cash and stock.

That move would propel Dell nine spots closer to Musk, at 13. The two CEOs are corporate neighbors, however, with both companies headquartered in Texas after Tesla relocated from California in 2021.

Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter closed last week after a chaotic, months-long journey that saw him back out of the deal, only to be pulled back in when he was sued in federal court.

After taking over Twitter, Musk walked into Twitter headquarters carrying a large porcelain sink – an apparent joke about letting his ownership “sink in” -- and dissolved the board of directors. He then courted controversy by tweeting a conspiracy theory about the attack on U.S. speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi.

And next he riled up Twitter heavyweights such as author Stephen King as well as New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who both bashed his plan to charge a monthly fee for the coveted blue check mark on Twitter.

“(Expletive) that. They should pay me,” King said.

O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at ojohnson@thechannelcompany.com..

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