May 11, 2022

Elon Musk should move Twitter to Texas

What will Elon Musk do next at Twitter?

Here’s a suggestion: Move Twitter to Texas. As a fellow tech CEO who transplanted a company from the West Coast to the Lone Star State in 2020, I’m confident this shift would transform Twitter’s conformist culture and create a better business that protects free speech. And it won’t just be good for Twitter. It will benefit the entirety of tech – and America itself.

Elon’s reasons for buying Twitter are clear: He wants to restore Twitter’s free-speech reputation. In his official statement after the purchase, he called the company the "the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated." That same day, he called out the company for blocking the conservative New York Post, tweeting: "Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate." Clearly, Elon wants Twitter to be a place where a diversity of opinions can be aired and heard.

But Twitter’s home base of San Francisco is a massive barrier to the goal. The city, along with the broader Bay Area, is monolithically leftist. So are the places where tech companies typically recruit, including Berkeley and Stanford. I should know: I spent years building tech companies in Silicon Valley and Seattle. In both places, I was overwhelmed by the hostility I encountered to conservatism, religious belief, and really anything outside a far-left worldview.

Twitter is swimming in that shallow pond every minute of every day. No wonder its employees give 99 percent of their political donations to Democrats. And no wonder the company has spent the past two years silencing alternative voices and acting like the moral arbiter of truth. When you’re surrounded by people who all think the same thing, it’s easy and even expected for you to shut down those who think differently.

Texas is the antithesis to the ideologically uniform and unwelcoming San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Its people hold a huge range of opinions, as anyone who’s been to Dallas, Houston, or Austin knows. Elon does, since he already moved Tesla’s headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, along with SpaceX and the Boring Company. In Texas, there’s deep respect for differing views and a profound belief that free speech deserves the strongest defense. That’s exactly the kind of environment in which the new Twitter should be immersed.

What would Twitter’s current workers do if Texas was in their future? Probably an exodus. Many are already whining about Elon’s ownership and probably harbor deep suspicion or outright disgust for the Lone Star State. But it’s a good thing if the people who don’t care for free speech or different opinions depart the company. They can and should be replaced by freedom-loving folks, drawn from Texas’ booming tech workforce.

My own tech company is proof. Since moving to Texas two years ago, we’ve found a far better talent pool, helping us grow our workforce 10-fold. The Texas model – with more freedom and less conformism – has enabled us to launch 10 new businesses in the past six months alone. By moving to the Lone Star State, we’ve been able to succeed in ways we never could on the West Coast.

The bottom line is that if Elon Musk wants to remake Twitter for the better, Texas is the best place to do it. But what starts with the company won’t stop there. Moving Twitter to Texas could spark a more fundamental shift in the tech industry.

Twitter would be the most recognizable company by far to ditch the darkness of Silicon Valley, sending a powerful signal that tech doesn’t belong to coastal enclaves. A new tech ecosystem of companies would spring up around it, while causing other tech innovators to consider the benefits of setting up shop across middle America. Ultimately, a critical mass of tech talent, capital, and innovation could begin to move to where it always should have been.

Tech has needed this from the start. Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle – their conformist culture prevents tech from truly tapping human potential. Instead, the focus is largely on harvesting people’s private data, exploiting the masses, and enriching the elite tech few at the expense of the many. The soil is poisoned, and so are the fruits. Yet in Texas, the soil is rich and clean. Tech built here does a better job of recognizing people’s inherent dignity and empowering them to rise and thrive.

Moving Twitter to Texas could be the beginning of the end of the era of "Big Tech," with its track record of censorship and exploitation. It could be the start of an era of "New Tech" that empowers and uplifts. Elon Musk is a man who likes to think big. By bringing Twitter to the Lone Star State, he’d surely be doing one of the biggest and best things he’s ever done.

Peter Rex is founder and CEO of Rex, a tech, investment and real-estate firm.

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Originally appeared on: Fox Business