The situation with Gab has been hard to watch. I had very high hopes that Gab would beat the odds, but sadly it doesn’t look that way. It has, however, been highly instructive.
I was watching this Darkstream a couple hours ago, and the meltdown of Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba (presumably, based on what was said and a number of context cues) from Gab’s official Twitter profile on the stream. Among Andrew’s infantile derping on the Darkstream, there was one interesting exchange. Around the 17 minute mark, Vox reminds Andrew that the only reason he has money is because Vox talked him into accepting donations, to which Andrew shot back “more money than you lok”. Vox continued to try to explain to him that the relatively modest amount of money he has received so far won’t carry him very far, but my initial thought was “maybe Andrew has more money right now, but Vox is exactly as successful as he wants to be.”
That thought struck me as being worth elaborating on.
So far I have had one very small business venture fall apart. I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to have people hand you a million dollars. If anyone out there wants to help me run that experiment, I would be happy to participate. But ultimately, going from not being sure whether you can make your rent to having a million dollars in hand has to be stressful. The sheer number of lottery winner horror stories shows that people who are not prepared for that kind of success lose their mind.
Likewise, one of the commenters on Vox’s blog noted that Andrew was acting like someone who just successfully took their first glider flight, and therefore decided that they can get to the moon and establish a moon base, all before even fully bringing the glider to a stop. It’s clear that Andrew does not understand the situation he is in, and that he far overestimates his reach and influence. He has gone from understanding the irrelevancy of the legacy media to gloating that he’s been on TV as ‘proof’ of how important he is. Meanwhile, Vox continues to advance ever forward with his publishing house and side projects like Infogalactic. Vox has stated multiple times that he has no interest in trying to be the next Donald Trump. He has specific goals, a clear picture of where he is currently, and a plan to achieve them with minimal risk.
He is, in short, exactly as successful as he wants to be. The distinction between long-term success and momentary greatness cannot be emphasized enough. Momentary greatness can be caused by a lot of things, but it’s fleeting. It in no way reflects on you personally unless you can maintain it over a period of time.
Frankly, given how much Vox has invested in helping Andrew get Gab off the ground, it seems crazy to me that he would be acting like this. But, I am reminded of the words of Jesus regarding rich men entering heaven. Profound and sudden wealth is a lot like finding the One Ring it seems, turning good men around and making bad men worse. One wonders if that’s not the cause of a lot of the more spectacular Kickstarter failures as well. Pray for success, but pray more for the wisdom and the moral fortitude to handle it responsibly.