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Help Us, Tech Billionaires! Please Buy These DC-Area Institutions Next

Laurene Powell Jobs and Jeff Bezos are only the beginning.

Please buy Metro. Photograph of Elon Musk by JD Lasica, via Flickr.

Laurene Powell Jobs’s purchase of a large interest in Monumental Sports & Entertainment will provide the billionaire with a great deal of influence over some of Washington’s most treasured institutions, including the Capitals, the Wizards, and the Mystics, as well as venues including Capital One Arena, Eagle Bank Arena, and Kettler Capitals Iceplex. In July, Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective took joint ownership—and will eventually outright own—the Atlantic.

These developments follow Amazon honcho Jeff Bezos’s 2013 purchase of the Washington Post and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes’s brief stewardship of the New Republic. While the latter acquisition didn’t go all that well, Bezos has by all accounts rescued the Post from a dismal decline and even restored some swash to the institution’s buckle. Powell Jobs has moved on organizations in much better shape, but her vast fortune and familiarity with the ways of successful West Coast tech titans may prove similarly transformative.

Tech people love disrupting established industries and creating solutions we didn’t know we needed, like ordering cabs from phone apps or buying garbage bags via a hockey puck on our kitchen counters. Perhaps even Washington’s most vexing problems could be solved with a little Silicon Valley know-how. Herewith, a few matchmaking suggestions for rich people and DC-area institutions.

Elon Musk and Metro: Who better to cut through the system’s difficult funding and labor issues than a guy who’s handy with a sword? The Tesla/Space X/Hyperloop visionary could make Braddock Road to Boston in 22 minutes a reality, and just imagine the geometric increase in local publication Axios’s situational awareness if Musk actually moved here. Be smart, Elon! Go deeper!

Mark Zuckerberg and the Washington Redskins: Current owner Dan Snyder doesn’t want to sell, but maybe no one’s offered him enough money yet? Zuckerberg is rich enough to not care whether the team continues to make outlandish amounts of money despite its chronic mediocrity, could write a killer post on his wall on why he changed the team’s name (because he hopefully would be enlightened enough to do that), and could offer Congress oversight of Facebook in return for turning the RFK site into a new stadium. Win-win-win-win-win-win.

Peter Thiel and the Daily Caller: How much fun would Thiel would have running his own outlet? He could model the journalism he encourages others to practice via lawsuits. Tucker Carlson’s apparently too busy with his Fox News show to pay attention to what his internet garbage factory is posting—that ends when Hurricane Thiel comes ashore! The PayPal co-founder could even endow a Hulk Hogan Chair of Media Ethics at Georgetown’s graduate journalism school.

Doug Evans and Pepco: The Juicero CEO badly needs a win, and there’s hardly a more attractive reclamation project than the troubled utility. Emergency preparedness kits come in bags, right?

Jack Dorsey and Democracy: Twitter’s CEO seems like the ideal candidate to make meaningless improvements while the core product becomes ever more hellish.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.