Shark Tank star Mark Cuban and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya disagree about whether “woke” companies tend to go “broke.”
- The two billionaires recently engaged in a public X.com spat over whether “wokeness” negatively harms companies or not.
- Palihapitiya tweeted that southern states like “Florida, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee are contributing more to U.S. GDP than the northeast corridor,” attributing it to wokeness.
- Cuban responded to this claim by simply asking, “Can you name one woke company that has gone broke?”
- Palihapitiya responded with a list of 463 startups that he implies partially failed due to alignment with “woke” narratives.
- Cuban responded, “A list of STARTUPS failing is weak, and you know it,” noting, “Most start-ups fail … Saying some failed because he suspects they may be woke is ridiculous, and he knows it.”
Why It’s Important
This Twitter exchange shows the wide disagreement that has emerged in the business world and continues to haunt investors and revenue calls with concerns that leaning too hard into issues like DEI and ESG could result in the next successful boycott coming their way.
Cuban disagrees with this fear entirely and believes that boycotts have no staying power beyond short-term performative social media outrage. As we previously reported, he has gotten into other recent snags with prominent celebrities over the issue of “wokeness” and believes that wokeness makes for “good business.”
Speaking on the enduring Bud Light boycott, Cuban argues that the boycott was opportunistic, saying, “Bud Light didn’t do anything wrong; Kid Rock was brilliant in seeing an opportunity to get a lot of like-minded people all fired up. What a great branding moment and movement for him! Once there was success with Bud Light, Target became an easy “target,” but since then, it’s all died down. Not because other companies aren’t woke. It’s that people get bored with it and go to the next thing.”
Palihapitiya disagrees with Cuban and continually asserts throughout the exchange that embracing “woke” narratives has an enduring loss of customer trust and interest, citing the significant revenue declines from Target and Annheuseur-Busch as notable examples. “This seems so obvious, but obviously not.” He also noted that many of the major companies that went bankrupt in 2022 likely would not have in other years were it not for their embrace of “woke” narratives.