Twitter's On Fire
Friday, November 11, 2022
Hey friends! Happy Friday?
Remember when I said a couple weeks ago that I wasn’t optimistic that Elon Musk would make Twitter a better place to spend time online?
Well, turns out I was both right and wrong about that. Things have gone off the rails, but it’s been hilariously entertaining for me. I do feel sorry for the Twitter employees, though.
Half the company was laid off, and more are likely to leave. Twitter no longer has a communications department. “Verified” accounts are imitating brands and celebrities and going absolutely wild. Executives are resigning. Elon says remote work is off the table for Twitter employees (good luck with that, dude).
It really seems like pure chaos. I figured it’d end up this way, but I was thinking it’d take months, not weeks. Move fast and break things, I guess!
🔥 Platformer - Inside the Twitter meltdown 🔥
For the full list of shenanigans, check out this edition of Platformer.
🎧 Hard Fork - Life Under Musk: Two Twitter Employees Speak Out 🎧
Twitter hasn’t spoken publicly since Elon Musk bought the company a week ago. But inside, employees describe a mood of fear, chaos, stress and bizarre requests to print out code.
I listened to this podcast episode last weekend. To hide the actual voices of the Twitter employees they interviewed, the Hard Fork team transcribed the audio recordings and fed the transcript into an AI voice generator, then edited the AI voice tracks back into the conversation. The result is fascinating, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a podcast with a real-time conversation between real host voices and computer generated guest voices. It’s a cool effect.
📕 The Pragmatic Engineer: Cruel Changes at Twitter 📕
Excellent write-up from Gergely Orosz in The Pragmatic Engineer Substack:
My view is Musk is playing with fire by cutting down on headcount so quickly, then encouraging more people to leave. We could see Twitter experience larger outages in the coming weeks and months, stemming from software engineers making changes to systems they don’t understand and not having colleagues with expertise to turn to, as they have left.
Also, while he is reducing headcount, he is putting the same culture in place as at his other companies, like Tesla or SpaceX. At these places, managers have 20+ directs, managers are expected to be hands-on, and working from the office is mandatory.
While Musk has all the right to implement processes and management structure as he sees fit, I find no excuse on how he is doing all of this. He offers no compassion or respect for employees who helped build Twitter, and employees feel that he is outright hostile towards them. Just the fact that in two weeks, he managed to send a single email to employees - and that email was an ultimatum on returning to the office effective immediately - summarizes his attitude towards employees of the company he bought. Elon has broken all unwritten - and may written - rules of how tech companies operate.
As the saying goes, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.
I’m thankful I don’t work at a company run by Elon Musk. I think we’re only beginning to see the impacts of his decisions.
Woof. That’s all for this week. See you next time!