OpenAI Dangles Perks and Early Access to Win Investments in AI StartupsRead Now

Aug. 27, 2022 7:00 AM PDT

Near the end of Season Three of “For All Mankind,” Dev Ayesa, the show’s stratospherically ambitious CEO, makes a risky pitch to his employees without seeming to consider the possible downsides—for them. His company, Helios, has already revolutionized renewable energy and for-profit space travel. Now he wants the staff to take pay cuts and give up stock options to leap into another abyss with him.

“When the conversation turns financial, that’s just a pure blind spot” for Ayesa, said Edi Gathegi, the 43-year-old Kenya-born actor (“Twilight,” “X-Men: First Class,” “The Blacklist”) who plays him. “He is so rich that he hadn’t considered that would be a problem for anybody that he was appealing to.”

Hmm, a brash tech visionary with his head in the sky and a trail of disgruntled people around him on Earth: That sounds rather…familiar? It should. Ayesa has some obvious parallels to our real-life Elon Musk. But the character is more than a pastiche Elon, and it’s the consistent ability of “Mankind” to believably reimagine real-world people, events and technology that has made the Apple TV+ show stand out—no phasers set to stun, no Kessel Runs.

The series first takes off by rethinking the space race—the Soviets beat America to the moon in episode 1—and by season 3, crews from the U.S., the USSR and Ayesa’s for-profit Helios have made it to Mars. As viewers catch up to the recently concluded Season Three, we asked Gathegi about the tech leaders who informed his portrayal, the show’s alternative vision for the future and whether he’d ever want to become a real-life CEO.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
Exclusive entertainment
Netflix Tells Advertisers Sign-Ups to Ad Tier Doubled in January
Netflix is making progress in its plunge into advertising—slowly. The streaming firm told advertisers in the past 10 days that new sign-ups for the tier with ads had doubled in January over December, a sign that low-cost offering was catching on with subscribers, ad executives say. Netflix didn’t tell advertisers how many sign-ups that amounted to. But last fall, when it was first...
Latest Briefs
Peacock Drops Free Tier For New Users
Intel Cuts Salaries Amid Grim Outlook
AMD Forecasts Sales Slowdown Due to Weak PC Demand
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Photo: Bloomberg
Creator Economy
Meta’s Resistance to Sharing Ad Sales Starts to Crumble
For at least a year, one question has hung over Meta Platforms -owned Facebook and Instagram : whether the apps will introduce a way to share a cut of ad revenues with more creators, similar to how YouTube pays video-makers.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Photo by Getty Images.
The Briefing markets amazon
Snap’s Spaghetti Strategy Is Cause for Concern
Snap’s abysmal financial forecast for the current quarter continued the company’s string of rough news.
Art by Shane Burke. Photo by Bloomberg
Musk Leaves Twitter Staff Without Equity Plan as Deadline Looms
Shortly after Elon Musk bought Twitter last fall, he promised Twitter staff that they could look forward to the kind of stock rewards employees at SpaceX—another private company Musk runs—enjoy.
Illustration by Getty Images.
Opinion venture capital
The Relationship Model Is Killing Venture Capital
The social and racial homogeneity of the venture capital industry has long been a source of frustration for entrepreneurs and investors alike.
Illustration by Josh Brill
Exclusive entertainment facebook
Meta Insiders Debate Key Issue for Reels: Whether to Share Ad Dollars With Creators
When Wall Street analysts dial into an earnings call tomorrow with Mark Zuckerberg, they’re likely to pepper the Meta Platforms CEO with different versions of a favorite question: What’s the latest on making money from Reels, Meta’s answer to TikTok?
Stripe CEO Patrick Collison. Photo: Bloomberg.
Stripe in Talks to Raise Up to $3 Billion From Current Investors
Less than a week after telling employees that it would evaluate a public offering over the next year, payments giant Stripe is moving quickly on a deal to raise as much as $3 billion from its existing investors.