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I'm a bit surprised not to have seen any threads about this on a tech-oriented forum, as someone working in the tech industry the Musk takeover of Twitter has come up in water cooler talk at the office a few times recently.  It's a combination of morbid curiosity and amazement at the ineptness of the decisions being made for most of us (thankfully I do not work at Twitter).

 

For those who haven't been following (editor's note: wow, the list is even longer than I expected):

 

 - Musk took over in late October

 - Executives began being dismissed immediately, a trend that continued

 - Half the employees were fired in early November

 - Over the next few days, Twitter realized they'd fired people who were essential to running the business, and tried to persuade them to come back.  Not all were persuaded.

 - Twitter's chief security and privacy officers resigned the day before an FTC deadline to fail a report on protecting user privacy, feeling they could not in good faith say they were meeting FTC requirements after Musk's changes.  The FTC has said it is "deeply concerned" with those changes and is investigating.

 - A new feature was rolled out where for $8, anyone could get a blue "verified" badge.  Musk said the $8 cost would deter trolls, it did not deter them at all.  In the most infamous example, a fake but verified Eli Lilly account posted that insulin was now free, but impersonations were widespread, such as impersonations of George W. Bush, LeBron James, and Tesla.  Eli Lilly ceased all their Twitter activity, including significant advertising spending, the next day after being unable to reach Twitter's laid-off staffers in a timely manner.

 - Musk posted this week that employees had to commit to a new "extremely hard core" Twitter with long hours of high intensity work including early mornings, nights, and weekends, or take severance, by 5 PM ET Thursday.

 - At 5 PM ET Thursday, Musk was having a meeting trying to persuade key employees to stay.  Some hung up as the clock struck 5:00, showing they were not staying.

 - Twitter's public safety and trust team is considering a mass resignation

 - Twitter's communications department no longer exists

 - Anyone who criticizes Musk is being fired

 - Musk declared that only 20% of microservices that Twitter has were needed and ordered the rest to be turned off.  While I doubt all the rest were in fact turned off, enough were to break SMS two-factor authentication.  Any software developer can tell you it's obvious this will break things; it's like saying you could remove 80% of an individual car's components and it would work just fine.

 - Advertisers have been leaving the platform due to concerns about impact to brand image (see also the Eli Lilly example), worsening Twitter's profitability problem

 

And I'm sure there will be more next week.  I'm just waiting for a mass Twitter outage to occur.

 

To me it seems like a textbook example of bad management.  Almost a "here's how to run a company into the ground as quickly as possible" case.  Sure, turnaround artists often reduce staffing levels to cut costs, but the sheer impulsiveness of the decisions is boggling, the lack of planning around how things are being done, the lack of thought about changes to the product, or to the technology.

 

I've also realized that while Elon may be a good mechanical engineer, he has no idea how to run a software company, and that beyond any remaining doubt, he's a workaholic who expects everyone else to also be a workaholic.  That was already pretty likely based on his management of Tesla, sleeping on the factory floor and so forth, but now that he's running a company where workers aren't operating heavy equipment on the job, it's obvious.

 

My two personal takeaways are (1) never go work for a company owned by Elon Musk, and (2) if Elon's breaking Twitter this badly in the span of a few weeks, how reliable are the over-the-air updates to Teslas?  I want my next car to be an EV, but I don't want it to be from a company that guy is running.

 

 

So, is anyone else reading up on the latest Twitter drama in the evenings?

 

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The guy is a bit of lucky nutjob. Why the hell did he even buy Twitter in the first place? Spent $44B because he likes to twit (but probably shouldn't) it seems. I thought he was supposed to be investing time and money getting people to Mars, or is that proving too hard now? Let's hope NASA doesn't put too many eggs in that basket.

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I love reading The Verge articles on this whole situation, there are developments nearly every day.  It's quite the spectacle.  I saw estimates from departing employees...  The number of people who declined Musk's "extreme Twitter 2.0" offer could be higher than 75% of the remaining workforce.  Couple that with 50% of the employees being axed a couple of weeks ago and you're looking at a company that has lost almost 90% of its employees in less than a month.  Entire tech teams are now either gone or nearly so.  There's no one to run certain key infrastructure.

 

I feel bad for anyone who might be on an employment visa or something and can't quit.

 

I haven't seen any mention that the demand for more hours worked came with an increase in pay.  But declining came with three months severance.  Software engineers won't have too much trouble finding work in that time.

 

Elon does have some decent lofty ideas for what Twitter could be, but running a social media / eCommerce platform (as he would like it to be) isn't a lofty goal to inspire people to work their butt off like say, getting people to Mars might be.

 

Twitter has within the last day or two started recruiting for new software engineers, but who in their right mind would want to work for this guy at this point?  He's treated the existing employees like trash and clearly has no concept of work/life balance that most people would desire.

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10 hours ago, Etern4l said:

Why the hell did he even buy Twitter in the first place? Spent $44B because he likes to twit (but probably shouldn't) it seems.

lol. Exactly.

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6 minutes ago, Etern4l said:

Twitter staff locked out of the office. What kind of gestapo management is that? 

 

Honestly, it's going to take them a bit of time to figure out who is still working there and who is not.  (Filling out a "Google Form" was how Musk had people indicate their intent to stay and consent to the increased hours.)

 

Some days ago, Elon Musk has stopped permitting pushing code to production without jumping through approval hoops.  I think that he is a bit paranoid about sabotage.

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1 hour ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

Honestly, it's going to take them a bit of time to figure out who is still working there and who is not.  (Filling out a "Google Form" was how Musk had people indicate their intent to stay and consent to the increased hours.)

 

Some days ago, Elon Musk has stopped permitting pushing code to production without jumping through approval hoops.  I think that he is a bit paranoid about sabotage.

 

Paranoid, schizophrenic, bipolar - I'm not an expert, but something would appear to be out of order. It's possible that casually dropping $40B on top of everything he's been through over the years has loosened a screw or two. 

 

That said, strict governance around production releases doesn't strike me as anything but best practice. It's more about his behaviour towards the staff. In Europe he'd be in the court (again) over this already. 

 

Basically he's the single point of failure for tens of B of equity now. What could go wrong! 

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quite the "fun" 44B$ meme id say lulz

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He probably should be paranoid about sabotage at this point.  With so many employees gone, the last employee leaving on a critical infrastructure team could probably bring down the entire site if they wanted to, and the fact that Twitter has been leakier than a cloud in a rainstorm shows that there's no loyalty to the new management.  Most have some loyalty to the product they worked on and wouldn't do that, but at this point it might only take one person to decide they want to stick it to Elon to bring the whole thing down, and with the staff so thin, it could take a long time to get it back up.

 

TVs in the lobby of the New York office have already been commandeered to display Tweets of Elon firing employees via Tweets, so there's some appetite for at least small-scale intentional disloyalty.


I agree with Aaron, the employees on work visas are the ones who are really in a bad situation here.  The U.S. system of work visas being tied to a specific employer has always been open to that employer imposing bad working conditions on the employee, but this has the potential to be an extreme example of that.  Everyone else is open to look for better employers, but those employees are either stuck, have to find one of the rare companies that will sponsor transferring that visa, which is not usually a quick process at least by Elon Twitter timelines, or have to leave the country.

 

In lighter news, Elon has tweeted, "How do you make a small fortune in social media?  Start out with a large one."  So even he may be realizing that he done messed up and doesn't have a good way to fix it at this point.

 

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Never really held Musk in high regard, but this is some new level. Oh, what the hell, I don't have Twitter, so I don't care if it goes down tomorrow or not.

 

The employees who are on work visas are in a bad situation definitely, which is quite unfortunate, the rest of them will be fine I think.

 

1 hour ago, Etern4l said:

something would appear to be out of order

 

I wouldn't be surprised that he already realized he has screwed up some time ago, and now intentionally tries to bring it down because there's no way out. It's hard to come up with any sensible explanation at the decisions being made these days...

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1 hour ago, serpro69 said:

Never really held Musk in high regard, but this is some new level. Oh, what the hell, I don't have Twitter, so I don't care if it goes down tomorrow or not.

 

The employees who are on work visas are in a bad situation definitely, which is quite unfortunate, the rest of them will be fine I think.

 

 

I wouldn't be surprised that he already realized he has screwed up some time ago, and now intentionally tries to bring it down because there's no way out. It's hard to come up with any sensible explanation at the decisions being made these days...

 

Complete nonsense, in line with an extended pattern of irratic... tweets. 

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12 minutes ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

Elon went full ghetto startup mode on a "$44B" business. Hope those who endure will be rewarded appropriately.

 

I mean he might have an actual point. I am not sure what Twitter does that warrants, what? a 5k headcount originally? 

 

Still, a pretty crazy management strategy. 

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Wasn't he bringing in software engineers from Tesla to review Twitter code at some point? :classic_laugh:

 

And after that why would anyone be worried he spends too much time on Twitter? ( https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/musks-all-nighters-twitter-raise-concern-tesla-investors-2022-11-15/ ). "Go play with your new toy and let people at Tesla do their job" :classic_laugh:

 

  

1 hour ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

 

Quote

please email me a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past ~6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.

 

Who would ever want to work in an environment like this?

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Elon Musk starts revoking Twitter bans.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/18/23466625/elon-musk-twitter-reinstatement-jordan-peterson-kathy-griffin-babylon-bee

(A decision regarding Donald Trump "has not yet been made".)

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Didn't Trump say he's not coming back even if he got his account reinstated? 

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15 minutes ago, serpro69 said:

Didn't Trump say he's not coming back even if he got his account reinstated? 

 

He did say that, but I wonder if he'd really be able to pass up the potential audience, especially given that Truth Social hasn't exactly taken off (and is mired with various issues), plus he is running for office again (despite mounting legal issues) and his Twitter presence was certainly part of what put him over the top in the 2016 election.

 

(...But I think we should keep the thread focused on Twitter + Musk.)

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3 minutes ago, Aaron44126 said:

He did say that, but I wonder if he'd really be able to pass up the potential audience, especially given that Truth Social hasn't exactly taken off (and is mired with various issues)...

 

Yeah, Truth Social is a mess. Maybe Musk should take it over as well. Although, looks like he's now more of a "how to make a small fortune out of a big one" kind of guy, than the other way around.

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2 hours ago, serpro69 said:

Who would ever want to work in an environment like this?

 

Apparently not Andrei Karpathy, Tesla's former head of AI whom not that long ago Elon touted as "the best programmer in the world" ;)

 

I mean what is he trying to achieve, besides the severe downsizing. At this point he must be really furious he got forced to go through with the takeover. All these chaotic decisions indicate he is struggling to keep it together. How did the takeover even get approved? He must have had some appealing vision to present to the shareholders, or was this just based on his street cred? I wasn't following that process too closely TBH. His Twitter antics bored me pretty quickly, can't believe people were investing in Dogecoin based on that.

 

Then of course Twitter decided to FORCE him to go through with the deal. Why would you want someone who at this point probably hates your company (and is known to be a little unstable) take it over?

 

Perhaps he is actually trying to destroy the company in order to punish the investors for forcing him to take it over? I mean there would be a strange logic in that. His first step was to exact vengeance by firing everyone at the top. It's all so bizarre, yet the market is not panicking... TBH it's a bit hard to see that $41B market cap at the moment.

 
 

https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/11/03/1062752/twitter-may-have-lost-more-than-a-million-users-since-elon-musk-took-over/

 

 

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Money. He offered a premium over the share price at the time. Investors would’ve been dumb not to take him up on it. Twitter forced him to go through with it because the people in charge wanted his money. (The share price fell considerably during that “turbulence”, but the price that Musk had to pay did not.) Shareholders don’t care what happens anymore because they are no longer investors. Musk bought them all out. He is hurting no one but himself at this point.

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Looks like he is also hurting Tesla shareholders. He actually took out gigantic loans secured against $62bn of Tesla stock. Interest alone exceeds Twitter's pre takeover earnings. His vision for Twitter included:

 

* Open sourcing the algorithms - why, other than to be able to cut in-house engineers? At least the layoffs are consistent. Who will be the open source team?

* Combating spam bots - that's fine, although it would be good to know how he was proposing to improve on what Twitter was already doing. If the anti-bot algos are open sourced, won't that make bot writers' life so much easier? 

* Championing free speech - that's probably where the $7bn he took from private investors came from

 

Well, if he can avoid the meltdown, he will probably turn this into something. He still has deep enough pockets to carry the company for a bit to avoid a complete disaster and embarrassment. Then he can flog what's left to some fellow champions of free speech, like the Saudis or Qataris.

 

Really weird, but looking deeper things are leaning more on the nefarious side. 

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According to the NYT article on Twitter today:

 

About 30 minutes [after the e-mail Aaron 44126 linked], Mr. Musk sent another email saying he wanted to learn about Twitter’s “tech stack,” a term used to describe a company’s software and related systems.

 

Isn't that something you're supposed to do before you lay off the people in charge of that tech stack?  I know that when I join a new company, I take time to learn what they're already doing before I start making suggestions on how to improve things.

 

I also liked the following quote in their article:

 

One former Twitter engineer likened the service’s current state to Wile E. Coyote, the Looney Tunes cartoon character, as he runs off the edge of a cliff. Though he may still be running in midair for some time, once he looks down, he drops like a stone.

 

Maybe the Tesla investors want him back because of the collateral damage Musk's Twitter ownership is causing to the Tesla brand?  They must already have some internal damage control professionals to keep him in check somewhat.  And I suppose if he did have to sell Tesla stock to repay those loans, that would drive down Tesla's share price - although at this point I have to wonder if having a more diverse ownership group would be good for Tesla in the long run.

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31 minutes ago, Sandy Bridge said:

although at this point I have to wonder if having a more diverse ownership group would be good for Tesla in the long run.

 

Would Tim Cook deliver the iPod, iPhone and iPad, or was Steve Jobs really necessary. Is Elon still a benefit to Tesla, or more of a micromanaging megalomaniac hindering progress. Hard to answer from the outside. I suspect he is still instrumental because he intentionally surrounded himself with yes-men. You can see how this works in early stages at Twitter: those of different opinions are summarily dismissed. Apparently Jobs became different past Pixar, and really started valuing diversity of thought.

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12 minutes ago, Etern4l said:

 

Would Tim Cook deliver the iPod, iPhone and iPad, or was Steve Jobs really necessary. Is Elon still a benefit to Tesla, or more of a micromanaging megalomaniac hindering progress. Hard to answer from the outside. I suspect he is still instrumental because he intentionally surrounded himself with yes-men. You can see how this works in early stages at Twitter: those of different opinions are summarily dismissed. I understand Jobs became different past Pixar, and really valued the diversity of thought.

John Sculley delivered the Newton, one of the world's first PDAs.  He may have delivered the iPad.  But Jobs returning was likely necessary for Apple's self-belief in the mid-late '90s.

 

Tesla is big enough now, its vision well-known enough, and its financials sound enough that Elon is probably not necessary at Tesla anymore.  His mechanical engineering chops were surely valuable early on, but now they have thousands of engineers.  His marketing has been a big asset, but depending on how Twitter goes could become a liability.  And if they aren't already yes-men, the Tesla leadership has to be concerned by his dismissal of non-yes-men at Twitter.

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49 minutes ago, Sandy Bridge said:

John Sculley delivered the Newton, one of the world's first PDAs.  He may have delivered the iPad.  But Jobs returning was likely necessary for Apple's self-belief in the mid-late '90s.

 

Tesla is big enough now, its vision well-known enough, and its financials sound enough that Elon is probably not necessary at Tesla anymore.  His mechanical engineering chops were surely valuable early on, but now they have thousands of engineers.  His marketing has been a big asset, but depending on how Twitter goes could become a liability.  And if they aren't already yes-men, the Tesla leadership has to be concerned by his dismissal of non-yes-men at Twitter.

 

Their concern would be understandable. For starters, it's much easier to find educational resources on how to stop being a yes-man, than on becoming one. I ran a quick google and the situation is dire, but I did find something, kind of appropriate actually. Hope this would help them. Perhaps Elon could organize a series of internal training sessions around this.

 

 

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