Elon and Twitter

The phenomena happening at Twitter is splitting people’s opinions into two camps.

The first camp defends Elon Musk’s approach. And it looks roughly like this:

  1. Twitter had too many employees.
  2. A lot of them were underperforming and used to an easy life.
  3. Twitter as a product was not going anywhere (for years). Something radical was needed for things to change.
  4. Twitter in general was skewed towards left wing politics. This needed a correction.

The second camp is critical of the “means” to an end played by Elon. I haven’t seen, although it’s possible I have missed, a counter response to the first point. That Twitter, a company with 7k employees, could justify employing so many people. This is not exclusive to Twitter. It’s pretty much accepted that “Big Tech” is bloated. Having a more modest work force, is a good move. Although I cannot subscribe, just like the majority of people with one drop of empathy, on how the situation was handled.

The second point about underperforming is something I have touched in the past. It’s hard to bring the best in people in a bloated company. I have seen this happening first-hand. Top class engineers, producing 60-70% of what they would do. I am convinced that if they worked 3 days of the week, they could go on a early weekend. Environment plays a large role. People that a) never worked in a sufficiently big company b) never worked in tech, don’t realise this.

Whatever you position on this matter is, we can agree that the situation has been poorly managed. So bad that:

  1. Fired employees are now being called back.
  2. The Pay-To-Verify option was paused after a few days.
  3. Twitter is bleeding advertisers.

The third point is a second-order effect of the second. I am convinced that people that are still at Twitter warned about allowing “verification” without actually verifying anyone. But does one really need to be intimate with the intricacies of how Twitter works to reach that conclusion? Beyond that, the economics around pay-to-verify don’t really add up.

The question that keeps popping in my head, and in others, is: are SpaceX and Tesla successful because of Elon, or in spite of?