Elon Musk and Twitter: A case research on self-made disaster

Whereas Elon Musk might joke about Twitter’s potential demise, lots of the firm’s crises are being attributable to its new proprietor

Mass firings and resignations, the lack of tens of millions in promoting revenues, and arguments between workers and the brand new proprietor taking part in out in public; Elon Musk solely purchased Twitter lower than a month in the past, however each have been residing in a relentless state of disaster since then.

From the start the indicators weren’t good. Elon Musk disbanded Tesla’s communications perform in 2020. And but, regardless of the necessity to clearly spell out his imaginative and prescient to the workforce, the brand new CEO canned Twitter’s communications perform shortly after taking on.

What was left was a vacuum of data. Workers had been left ready to hearken to Elon Musk (introductory city halls had been each organized and cancelled at quick discover), and needed to flip to Twitter or the media to know what was the imaginative and prescient of their new CEO and find out about what actions he was taking.

Moderately than listening to his workers, Musk would typically make grand statements on what was or wasn’t working at Twitter by way of his personal Twitter account. Moderately than taking in suggestions from Twitter’s engineers who would attempt to appropriate him, Elon fired those that disagreed with him (each in public and on the corporate’s inside communication channels).

Elon Musk clearly believes that he can remodel Twitter’s famously open tradition to at least one that resembles Tesla or SpaceX. His Twitter workers clearly disagree. For those who remained after the primary couple of firing rounds, the final straw appears to have been his Twitter 2.0 message, wherein he instructed the remaining workers they needed to work tougher and longer hours.

The message has spurred mass resignations, together with of key capabilities corresponding to payroll and product security. Media reviews declare that Twitter’s remaining administration are determined to maintain these engineers who’re important to sustaining the positioning on the firm.

In some ways, the injury to morale is arguably irreversible. To cite one Twitter worker who spoke to the BBC, “I didn’t need to work for somebody who threatened us over e mail a number of instances about solely ‘distinctive tweeps ought to work right here’ once I was already working 60-70 hours weekly.”

For Musk, the query stays. Will he change how he manages Twitter and its folks, earlier than the platform collapses? Or will we proceed to observe this disaster play out in actual time, on the positioning?

What we now have seen over the previous couple of weeks is a conflict of cultures (and communication kinds). Twitter’s workers are keen about what they do, they’re dedicated to the platform, they usually’ve all the time been open about their views. Take away the corporate tradition, and you’ve got little left. The corporate’s headcount is down from over seven thousand to about two thousand. We could also be reaching some extent the place there’s not sufficient folks to keep up the platform. And none of this was inevitable (nicely, at the least not within the house of a month).

Whether or not Musk can flip this round continues to be up for debate. However the previous couple of weeks will change into a case research in self-inflicted crises. Elon Musk couldn’t or wouldn’t hearken to workers, he didn’t talk internally, he restricted a lot of his interactions to a small group of individuals, and he wasn’t in a position to perceive Twitter’s tradition. His choices and communication type grated with workers, that means he successfully misplaced their assist from the get-go. And the much less stated about his product choices, the higher. My ideas are very a lot with the workers who saved Twitter going. They deserved higher than this.

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