Elon Musk tweeted yesterday: “How do you make a small fortune on social media?”
The joke could be on Mr. Musk. At the beginning of last week, it didn’t look like the chaos on Twitter could get any worse. But this weekend the remaining hundreds of workers at his Dublin office will be locked out by order of Mr Musk.
Last week Mr Musk attempted to issue an ultimatum for the “Hustle Culture”.
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That email had warned employees about a culture change toward “tough” longer hours and tougher conditions. If the e-mail is not answered by clicking an icon, it means that the employee has indicated that he/she is resigning.
At least dozens refused to click the icon, according to insiders in Dublin and San Francisco.
Now nobody – including Twitter – seems to know exactly who is leaving and who is staying.
As such, Mr Musk is now reportedly concerned about the silent quitters sabotaging the platform’s services.
Perhaps he should be more concerned about Twitter slowing down or dropping out this weekend. Due to its decrees, demands and about-faces over the past few weeks, several key engineering teams have left the company, leaving few to fix or maintain critical operational matters.
The timing couldn’t be worse: the World Cup is about to begin, an event that has traditionally seen a spike in usage on Twitter. It will be surprising if the service doesn’t falter over the next few days.
Mr. Musk’s stewardship of Twitter is quickly becoming a case study in how not to take over a company you don’t really understand, even if you’ve had overwhelming success in other areas.
So far he has broken it. Advertisers have fled, high-level talent has fled. By one estimate, there are only 50 core engineers left at a company that had hundreds up to two weeks ago.
Twitter’s draw for Mr Musk has been a long time coming
Mr Musk has turned a company he paid $44 billion for into a company that is now probably worth a fifth of that.
To be fair, he can flip it. Even after his misfires over the past few weeks, Mr. Musk still has plenty of credit for transforming impossible-looking companies. He speaks of the ambition to make Twitter a “super app” adding payments and other features.
Twitter’s draw for Mr Musk has been a long time coming. Having amassed millions of followers himself, he has seen firsthand how central Twitter is to breaking news, sports and entertainment. Nothing else out there compares to what Twitter does.
But just because you’ve advanced the electric car market or made rockets return to Earth and land vertically — an amazing feat — doesn’t mean you know how to run the world’s most sensitive and critical sociological platform.
The crash that happened under his direction could even hit the man himself.
When questioned at a separate Tesla hearing this week, he said he was starting to think about stepping away from Twitter and maybe installing a new CEO.
That’s some consolation for Tesla shareholders, who may be growing increasingly nervous. What they’ve seen over the last two months is that their CEO is busy relaunching his social media toy, to the exclusion of his more important commercial jobs.
The damage done to Twitter’s reputation is hard to underestimate
Mr. Musk’s leniency is always something his investors have had to put up with. But now shareholders are losing money faster than they might have expected. Tesla has seen its share price plummet 40 percent over the past eight weeks, far more than almost any other major tech company — even Meta.
There’s almost nothing positive for Tesla or SpaceX from Mr Musk’s recent weeks in the public spotlight with Twitter.
His leadership style attracts an intensity of negative attention that Tesla rarely did, even as allegations of harassment and overworked employees surfaced. That could turn the richest man in the world from the greatest innovator alive to a tyrant who makes more bad decisions than meets the eye.
While Mr. Musk may not care, his Tesla shareholders will. The electric car company’s extraordinary market value was supported by the myth of Mr. Musk’s superhuman personality. If that turns out to be more flawed than previously thought, and potentially even bring down a company like Twitter, Tesla could soon be valued using more conventional metrics like the number of cars sold.
The damage done to Twitter’s current reputation is hard to underestimate. Users are openly saying goodbye to the platform, not because they’re quitting, but because they assume Twitter may be shutting down now.
It is not yet clear where people would gather in this case.
A planned migration to Mastodon appears to have stalled, with the service proving cumbersome and difficult to use for many people and an echo chamber of sorts for those who board.
Post.News, a new service that isn’t fully launched yet, might prove to be a better choice.
Either way, Elon Musk’s tenure so far has been a disaster. While his exceptional record shows he can never be ruled out, Twitter is becoming a black spot.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/elon-musk-is-showing-signs-that-twitter-woes-are-finally-getting-to-him-42156152.html Elon Musk is showing signs that Twitter’s troubles are finally reaching him