update: I work at Twitter … what do I do?

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer worked at Twitter and was wondering what to do as the company imploded? Here’s the update.

I started drafting an update a while ago and then Elon sent that email about clicking on the button if you want to remain at Twitter and everything just became so surreal and chaotic. It’s been a couple weeks and I feel like I’m just starting to process things. (Ed. note: That’s a reference to Elon Musk’s email giving Twitter employees a short deadline to click yes if they agreed to work long hours and be “extremely hardcore” … and saying that anyone who didn’t would be let go with severance.)

I don’t think any of us were expecting things to be good when Elon took over, but everyone was just so incredibly surprised at how quickly things went downhill. I wrote everything out in chronological order since that felt like the best way to make some sense of the chaos.

→  10/27: During the first Halloween party Twitter had held since the pandemic, Elon fired most of the senior leadership team.

→  10/30 (Sunday): Several of us were added to Slack working groups because Elon had decided to launch Twitter Blue Verification, meaning that anyone would be able to be verified as long as they paid for it (what were we “verifying” then? I do not know).
We spent the next two weeks dismantling the verification program we had built over the past several years. It wasn’t a perfect program (or even close to it), but it was carefully and thoughtfully built and I was very proud of it.

11/3 (Thursday): An email from Twitter was sent out saying layoffs would happen and we’d all know by 9 am the next day if we were “safe” or not. About three hours later people started losing access, and this continued all night/into the early morning hours. Mass panic ensued.
During the layoffs, the product manager of Blue Verified hosted a meeting/check in at 9:30 pm. I still think about this — as our colleagues were losing their jobs, she kept pushing the work on this worthless product forward. I think about this moment a lot — it perfectly captures the difference between the “before Elon” Twitter and the Twitter we have now. As an example of olden day Twitter, I had an infant when the pandemic hit, and all the daycares in my area had closed down. Twitter worked with me to ensure my schedule was flexible enough that I could get my work done and still care for my baby.
The next day no one (including managers) knew who was left — our online directory was removed so people would just ping people on Slack to see if they were still at Twitter.

The next couple weeks were full of reorgs as managers tried to consolidate who was left, people getting fired for speaking out against Elon in Slack, and people resigning. Twitter Blue Verification launched and was then rolled back because of the disastrous impact it had (the exact same impact Trust & Safety and the Human Rights teams had predicted).

11/9: The infamous “everyone must return to the office, starting tomorrow” email was sent. Three heads of teams resigned (Data Privacy and Compliance among them).

11/10: Word got around that Elon was hosting an all-hands for some orgs, and everyone started joining in via a Google hangout link. He didn’t say anything useful and didn’t answer questions about the return to office email aside from saying “if you can be in an office and do not come in, I’ll consider that your resignation.”
The next week, my team and I prioritized a proposal to roll back a decision Elon had made that was resulting in a lot of accounts getting suspended. We were able to put something together that I think would have resolved the concerns that prompted him to make the decision he did while still preventing suspension for this set of accounts. However, before we could send it to him, he sent the “push the button email” at midnight on 11/16.

11/16: Even more panic — everyone was asking everyone else if they were going to push the button or not.
  Alex Spiro (Musk’s lawyer) came over to our area and started talking to a couple folks at the desks. At this point, we had heard nothing aside from what was in Elon’s ultimatum email and people were desperate for answers, so they started gathering around him. Alex said that it was good that people were gathering around since he wanted to share his thoughts with everyone.
  He started talking about how Elon had launched rockets before, so we should trust his vision and we should all push the button and stay. One of the people on my team asked what Elon meant by “exceptional performance” in the email — in particular, how would this be evaluated for our team members?
  At this point, Alex told everyone that he had not yet read Elon’s email, and someone had to pull it up on their phone and show it to him so he could read it. He then explained how the email was intended to be motivational in nature and we just weren’t used to getting emails from Elon yet but he was and “this is just how Elon talks.”
  People started asking more questions, and then one employee started getting visibly upset and started having a panic attack — she was crying and was on the floor. Alex didn’t know how to handle the situation so pretty much ignored her and the conversation essentially ended at that point.
  Hearing from one of Elon’s closest advisors that he had not actually read the email himself but that we should nonetheless trust Elon made people feel even more uneasy and panicked about the decision (if that’s even possible).

→  11/17: Our team saw a strange calendar invite pop up at around 11:50 am for a meeting that was taking place at noon.
  When we joined the meeting, it was to hear similar lines about how we should all stay/we should all push the button and we should trust Elon/he has launched rockets into space before, etc. etc.
  A lot of people asked if we could have more time to make a decision like this, but the question was ignored.
  When 2 pm came, almost no one on my team pushed the button. Those that did push the button were mainly people who needed healthcare, were about to go on maternity/paternity leave/etc.

I also didn’t push the button and am now on the outside of a company I’ve been at for a decade. On some level I know I couldn’t have pushed the button, but I feel so sad nonetheless. I still have close friends there, and I miss my team and the work we got to engage in so much. It still hits me at weird moments that I don’t work there anymore. I got emotional about it today for the first time in a week.

Anyway, that’s my update in as succinct a way I can manage to provide it. Yoel Roth, the head of Trust & Safety who resigned over Elon’s changes, also talked at a Knight Foundation event and he captured everything way better than I have in this email. It’s a long talk but so accurately describes what it was like living through the past few weeks.

Note: I’ve been contacted by a legal firm working on this case who asked me to note here that anyone working at Twitter who didn’t push the button may be eligible for the full amount of severance they were promised after the merger agreement was signed, and that they should contact an attorney if they want to ask about pursuing that severance. They noted that the difference for many employees can be tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, due to the inclusion of the RSU vesting (stock grants).

{ 677 comments… read them below }

  1. Eldritch Office Worker*

    Wow. Just wow. I have no words. I’m sorry you had to deal with this, OP, but I can’t overstate the importance of transparency in this situation and for users to understand what’s happening at this huge, cultural impactful company that they engage with on a regular basis. This is a big moment and it’s…a lot. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Very much appreciated. It takes a huge amount of emotional labour to tell these kind of things and please be assured that this is being shared among every tech professional I know.

      1. The OP (a Tweep)*

        Thanks very much for saying this – I’m reading though the comments right now and feeling supported by all these kind words, so this is truly appreciated :)

    2. Robin Ellacott*

      Seconding this. I’m on Twitter and it’s very cleared things have changed, and not for the best, but this glimpse behind the curtain (the Wizard of Oz analogy really works here) is a whole new dimension of awful. I’m so sorry for those who built and cared about the platform.

      Best of luck to OP and their former colleagues.

      1. Sharpie*

        …and rhymes with ‘duck’.

        I…have no words, OP. I’m so sorry things have imploded in a way that’s impacted you and so many others in this way. I hope that 2023 brings you nothing but good things, you deserve them

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      So, what does launching rockets (something many people have done way better) have to do with what a hot mess this all was?

      Elon Musk is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. (This statement could be applied to so many ultra rich men I hear about in the news lately.)

      1. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Right, it would have been hard to hold back from asking, “Why do you keep saying he’s launched rockets into space as if it’s a credential for running a social media network?”

        1. Lilo*

          He also DIDN’T launch rockets. He hired very talented engineers to design and launch said rockets. From what I’ve read every time he has attempted to directly influence said rockets, it has been a disaster.

            1. nnn*

              He told engineers to print out their code for him. He doesn’t even know about Github. A lot of his requests to engineers have been nonsensical.

              1. Momma Bear*

                Agreed. If he doesn’t even know what the code does, then it’s just performance art, not real evaluation.

                1. TIRED but happy*

                  Apparently someone printed out the css code to neopets or something and gave it to him in a meeting when he asked for this, it may have been at twitter.

                  I saw it floating around a few weeks back. He had no idea. I laughed.

                2. Selina Luna*

                  I don’t know what Neopets or Github are, but I’m pretty sure the code required to run this advice column is more than the DNA shown in the 1993 Jurassic Park movie… Printing it off would be ridiculous.

              2. Cohort 1*

                Well, we all know a former president who reportedly had a standing order to print out all emails. Probably still does.

                1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

                  I mean, as much as I hate that guy, and as stupid as that requirement is, it’s still nothing compared to asking someone to print out source code.

                  1) Email can be read and understood by non-technical people who are the type to want it in paper format. No one who asks for thousands of pages of source code could
                  Possibly be qualified to read said code

                  2) Emails aren’t usually hundreds of continually cross referencial files. At worst they’re nested, but even then the organization is fairly straightforward. If you can’t see the libraries and functions being referenced in a piece of source code (and probably the documentation for those libraries and functions) most source code is meaningless even to people that know what they’re doing.

                  3) Most email chains aren’t hundreds of thousands of lines long

                  I always think it’s a waste of time and money to print email, but it’s at least reasonably possible to consume email content on paper

                1. Fishsticks*

                  What does that even MEAN, like in his OWN mind, though? Code is complicated and interconnected. There’s no such thing as a single ‘salient line’, the entire site relies on the various bits working together?

                2. Anonomatopoeia*

                  Seriously. I saw that and was like …does he think that there are places in the code where, amid a thousand lines of nonsense and trash, it says “output the text input for seeing by others” or “make the reply link do a replying”? Like, what even is salient code? By implication there must be unsalient code, and while I agree that for example if one attempted to save a Word 95 doc as html it came out with a bunch of very unsalient markup and I imagine the same thing likely happens in code if one doesn’t cull stuff as it’s replaced, who would give their boss code in which they had let trash pile up for ten years and call out “I wrote this one line on this page where it says to make the link do the linkythingy” and everyone would feel great. What the entire hell.

              3. goddessoftransitory*

                Did you see the Thoughtslime video about this brouhaha? Mildred had a blast pointing out that asking for printed out code is like trying to read a novel where all the words are in alphabetical order.

                1. Worldwalker*

                  Am I hopelessly old-fashioned because I miss the days of endless yards of printouts and heavy use of a highlighter?

                  I use a modern IDE, I live in the interactive debugger, I know intellectually that it’s a better way … but I still want to print out a stack of fanfold pages (has to be fanfold!), put it on the floor, and scribble all over it.

                2. whingedrinking*

                  Yes! Mildred’s whole, “Look, I reach for the most ludicrous ways to describe the actions of horrible people, and even I can’t make it worse than just reading off a list of stuff Elon has done” shtick was one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen all year.

          1. RunShaker*

            and a whole team of people hired to manage him so that he didn’t (wasn’t allowed) to have direct influence over the decisions on any part of operations. That there is a waste of money. And second on he isn’t smart at all….the money seem to have erased his brain & replaced it with that crap of an ego. I think money can buy happiness to a point, but with money he gained, it ruined him.

          2. Some Dude*

            I have spent 15 years as an engineer in the space launch industry, thankfully not for SpaceX. This gives me business on running a social media company.

      2. L.H. Puttgrass*

        Also: Elon Musk does not launch rockets—unless he insists on being the one to push a button, which I wouldn’t put past him. SpaceX, with 10,000 employees, launches rockets. That Musk or his lawyer would credit all that to Musk alone is all you need to know about whether you’d want to work for him.

        1. ArtK*

          I read an account of an ex-SpaceX employee who said that there was a lot of effort put into “managing Elon.” It sounded much worse than the usual managing up. The guy is a walking Dunning-Kreuger case.

          1. Fishsticks*

            Yeah, there’s essentially a small team of people whose entire job is to keep Elon from touching things, metaphorically speaking. And to listen to his tantrums and tell him he’s a very smart good boy and then keep going with what they were doing anyway.

            1. The OP (a Tweep)*

              Yes! I saw that account as well and it definitely rings true to what I experienced during the first few weeks after he took over. For example, for the proposal I was working on, I was first asked to provide a very brief half page summarizing it (which is somewhat standard), and then I was asked to turn it into a sentence with as few words as possible. This is in addition to already including a brief summary at the top of the proposal, which is standard for any doc we prepare.

        2. Certaintroublemaker*

          Not to mention, building a physical item that is paid for individually is worlds away from building a social network that users and advertisers need to feel confident in participating in. Completely different kind of business.

        3. Mangled Metaphor*

          I lived in Blackpool for many years. Every year there’s the Illuminations switch on where a celebrity pushes the button to turn on the lights.
          If you genuinely believe it’s that single button and it *actually* switches on the lights, I might have a bridge to sell you.
          Elon may have pushed a button, but if they had any sense all it did was flash, while the actual work is done elsewhere.

      3. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

        It’s just code for “He’s rich which means he’s better than you, and you have to do what he thinks is best.” Everything his fanboys have been saying to defend him in this latest debacle just boils down to that.

        1. There You Are*

          I am so very, very tired of white men who inherited their wealth thinking they’re the smartest person on the planet because of their massive amounts of money.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*


            A mediocre white man with inherited cash is not suddenly a genius.

            There’s a lot wrong with Amazon, even on the engineering side of the house, but at least Bezos doesn’t sabotage his own company by micromanaging.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              And unlike former guy and musk – Bezos actually built the company without inheriting “life changing amounts” of money.

                1. fhqwhgads*

                  Right, one dude turned one million into billions. The other dude inherited billions and bought stuff that may or may not actually make money, but he’s still got billions either way. (Not a fan of either, but they’re not really comparable unless we’re looking at a binary good/bad, in which case they’re both the latter)

                2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  Also – a loan has to be paid back in most cases.

                  Yeah – he got a family loan to start the business. But think on that, he had to get a loan to build the business, and he did.

                  That’s different from inheriting gobs of money and a company and taking it to the verge of bankruptcy multiple times or having a daddy who owns gem mines.

                1. Working Hypothesis*

                  Well, at least when it’s all at once. Most people make that much over the course of a career. If you work for forty years, from 25 to 65, then you only have to make $25K a year take-home to have earned a million over time.

            2. fluffy*

              Funny thing, I worked on the original Kindle, and Bezos absolutely did micromanage that project. But on the plus side he at least had technical acumen and a good understanding about the technology and decisions involved.

              Still, we had a joke that he was the world’s richest QA tester.

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                I probably know you. I set up the workstations for the original Kindle development team before they moved to their own space, back in the converted law office.

              2. MM*

                Quelle surprise. @ this whole thread: playing “find the good, competent billionaire” to express your dislike of another billionaire is never going to work out! I promise that if you look into Bezos at the same level of detail, you will find plenty of off-putting stuff. (I’m not just speaking theoretically here, I just don’t feel like detailing the early market manipulations, trail of dead employees, abuse of domestic workers re: bathroom access, longtermist-lite ideologies that ALL these guys share, Musklike cowboy ambitions exemplified by ~going into space, etc.)

      4. MisterForkbeard*

        I’m seeing this response a lot ON Twitter. “Elon is a visionary and he’s done neat things therefore he can’t mess this up!”

        Its bewildering that after such a series of critical blunders, his management team’s pitch is “join the cult”.

        It really puts recent Musks turn into villainy in context, too – he’s siding with the people that give him unconditional love and praise, even if they want awful things.

        1. Sloanicota*

          So much like a former president who was always referenced as an uber-successful business leader as the reason we should all trust him.

          1. Fishsticks*

            And just like that former president, his “success” is because he was born on third base but tells everyone he hit a triple.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              I actually read an analysis semi-recently that noted the the former guy would have been a lot richer if he’d just put things into trust and left it there. If that was true, how can you credibly claim he was a successful businessman (course we should have known that – he filed for bankruptcy running casinos, running casinos)?

              1. Fishsticks*

                Anyone who can go bankrupt on a casino can never be described as remotely successful.

                But, yeah, his wealth would be significantly greater and not exist in a house of cards built with debt and tax evasion if he had simply never touched his inheritance at all.

                1. RVA+Cat*

                  The world would be such a better place if TFG had spent his life playing golf and spending his inheritance.

                  Kind of like if a certain Austrian fellow had made it as a painter…

            2. Worldwalker*

              I’ve never understood how ordinary people think TFG “is one of us” when he’s never been less than a multi-millionaire since the day he was born.

              There are a lot fewer people who have gold-plated faucets than there are people who are trying to make sure water keeps coming out of those faucets.

        2. I am Emily's failing memory*

          If I were one of the remaining Twitter employees, I would adopt this tactic any time management questioned my decisions. “Trust me, I’ve bought a house, I know what I’m doing.” “Don’t worry, I won the national spelling bee as a teenager, I’ve got this.” “Look, I successfully haggled the price of my car down by $2000, I think I can handle grooming a few llamas.

        3. ArtK*

          Asked someone who said that Musk was a “tech genius” to provide examples. He said “Zip2” and “x.com” (which became PayPal.) Neither of those is advanced technically — basic e-commerce stuff — and there’s no evidence that Musk was actually involved on the technical side.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            So, an e-commerce platform created right when everyone else was doing it…?

            And I’ve got some problems with PayPal.

            1. ArtK*

              Yup. The concept of escrow is as old as the hills, and, IIRC, it’s common in auction houses. The only “brilliant” thing there was putting it online.

          2. JoshE*

            Paypal was pretty revolutionary for its time, but it should be noted that Elon has very little to do with it beyond providing money. He was the one who wanted the name x.com and was overruled on it because that was dumb, and he was the CEO for about 6 months before he got canned because he sucked so much

      5. Roland*

        Rich people and their fanboys love to assume that being successful in one field is directly and fully attributable to the person being generally smart and capable and will thus translate to any other field.

        1. Sharpie*

          Knowledge is knowing that a tomatorl is a fruit… Wisdom is not putting tomatoes in your fruit salad.

          Anyone can know stuff. The trick lies in applying that knowledge in a workable way, and listening to people who have more relevant knowledge than you do, something that Elon Musk is not known for.

      6. Not teenage but still ninja turtle*

        It means he’s very good at taking expensive things that someone else built and making them explode, of course.

      7. Well...*

        I feel like when people need to reach for such flashy and outlandish credentials, they are BSing. For example, Feynman figured out what caused the Challenger disaster. That’s a flashy part of his career, but he also had many, many other accomplishments to point to that impress the kind of people he worked with day-to-day. If he were talking to a group of grad students, he wouldn’t say, “I figured out why a rocket exploded!” he’d say, “I invited Feynman rules.”

        I don’t love using Feynman as an example because according to reliable accounts he was pretty sexist, even for his time, but he’s the only relevant rocket guy I could think of.

        1. Worldwalker*

          Richard Feynman was one of the people on the committee that investigated the Challenger disaster. I don’t think one person merits the entire credit.

          Besides, he had a few other odds and ends. There was that Nobel Prize, for instance. And, yeah, Feynman Diagrams. And a stack of other things.

          1. Well...*

            I was under the impression that he was the person on the committee who actually figured out the problem, but the man has a lot of mythology surrounding him so that could be wrong

      8. Middle+Aged+Lady*

        Elon Musk is a manchild, narcissist and a Nazi sympathizer. I pity anyone who ever encounters him in a business or personal capacity. It frightens me that he has so mich power and influence.

      9. AnonInCanada*

        Elon’s seriously has taken his fastest Tesla and drove it straight into Crazytown. The problem is, he also drove it into a wall and now he’s not coming out. I feel sorry for OP and everyone who worked at Twitter when sane people like Jack ran the place.

        You don’t suppose Elon’s bitter because he was compelled to cough up that $44B for his digital soapbox? Naaahhhh… /s

        1. DJ Abbott*

          There’s a much less expensive digital soapbox. It’s called a blog. Or a vlog if you prefer.
          Money made him stupid.

          1. Princesss+Sparklepony*

            He could have bought Parler for much much less. Or trump social or gab. He’s going to turn Twitter into a facsimile of those. Good thing for him he has money to burn because I see it burning from here.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            True. But Jack did a much better impersonation of Sanity than Elon seems capable of at any point in the last oh, five to ten years?

      10. goddessoftransitory*

        Absolutely G*****n nothing, is what.

        If I showed up in a surgery theater demanding to do a heart transplant because I had launched a rocket, I’d be hauled out by security. If I came to your house insisting that you let me rewire it then and there because I launched a rocket, you’d call the cops. Hell, if I shoved a cashier out of their spot behind the register at the QFC and announced I was doing this from now on because I launched a rocket, I’d be in custody.

        ACTUAL ROCKET SCIENTISTS stick to rocket science. Because they understand they have a skill set; in demand and requiring intelligence, of course, but not that “I launched a rocket!” translates into “Therefore, I am brilliant at WHATEVER I choose to do, no matter how little experience I’ve had in it.”

    2. t-vex*

      If there is an upside to this situation, it sure makes me feel a lot better about my own people management skills.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Hi, I’m Alex Spiro, an attorney spokesperson for Elon Musk.
      Press that button and swear fealty to Elon! He launched rockets.
      Because, yeah, the first thing they teach in law school is “don’t read the contract.”

      Thank you so much for this update and good luck, OP!

    1. JustAClarifier*

      I misread this as “Muck” at first and was 100% on-board with that nickname, even though my eyes are apparently going haywire and that’s not at all what you had said lol

  2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

    The Emperor not only has no clothes but has minions gaslighting everyone into thinking not only does he have clothes, but they are the most amazing clothes ever.

    I’m sorry OP, but I’m glad you got out.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Speaking as someone whose worked in regulated industries, the minute those in compliance bail, you are smart to get out as fast as you can.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        +1. I don’t know this industry and I have no insight to the legal regulations that might be at play, but I would be running for the hills.

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Twitter is under an FTC consent order for privacy violations. Its Chief Privacy Officer leaving is rather a big deal.

        2. ArtK*

          The EU has some very strong regulations around privacy and anti-hate; Twitter is going to have a very rough time.

          1. Irish Teacher*

            Yup, the commissioner of the internal market of the EU made headlines almost immediately after Elon Musk took control of twitter, by declaring that “in Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.”

        3. Dinwar*

          Check out Legal Eagle on YouTube. He’s a lawyer, and has some very interesting insights. In brief, Elon got away with a lot of crap with SpaceX because the FAA doesn’t really have rules for private rockets yet and he could simply throw money at problems. The FTC and FCC don’t play that way. They are VERY different organizations than Elon is used to working with, with a LOT more teeth and a firm track record for using those teeth. I get the impression that they’ve decided to use this as an opportunity to remind billionaires that the rule of law applies to everyone. The EU is the same, only more so–they boss around countries, and Elon’s antics are not amusing them.

      2. Observer*

        the minute those in compliance bail, you are smart to get out as fast as you can.

        Yeah, I’m not in the really highly regulated industries, but that still was a HUGE red flag. If your compliance people are bailing, you need get out if you can, and cover yourself if you can’t while working to get out asap.

        1. ferrina*

          I work adjacent to a highly regulated industry, and as a vendor, we are really careful to CYA. If compliance is noping out, run. And stop buying any of their products immediately.

      3. periwinkle*

        I work in the L&D space and since it’s a global company I need legal review of training class evaluation surveys before they’re sent. I can’t survey employees in countries covered by GDRP. And this is just for a simple no-PII-collected survey asking if they found a training class useful and relevant.

        I’m betting that the compliance-related failures will take down Twitter, not the technical issues. It’s just a question of which compliance area will hit hardest – there are so, so many to choose from.

      4. Some Dude*

        That’s what caused me to deactivate my Twitter account – it was very clear noone was driving the train and since I don’t *need* it professionally or socially, I cut bait.

        1. Aitch Arr*

          I finally left when The Elongated Muskrat posted a picture of P*p* the Fr*g.

          I’m on mstdn.social now.

      1. Sharpie*

        That took me a moment to realise you meant cigarette lighter… I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the word Bic to refer to anything other than a ballpoint pen!

        1. Giant Kitty*

          “Flick your Bic” was their extremely popular advertising slogan back in the 1970s. The commercials were pretty silly, I’ll add a YouTube link to one in my next comment

  3. Emily+S.*

    What a terrible situation. OP, I hope you can find another position where you are valued, paid well, and have a good work-life balance.

    I think it’s probably for the best to not be at Twitter anymore, since it has gone so far off the rails — but I am so sorry for the pain you’re going through.

    1. Kes*

      Yes, I appreciate OP sharing their experience during what I’m sure has been an extremely difficult time. I really think that apart from the diehard Elon fans, those no longer at Twitter are really the fortunate ones at this point, but I’m sure that doesn’t make it easy to watch him destroy a company that you were proud to be a part of.
      I hope for another update to come that OP has found a great new job at a more stable company than Twitter now is.

      1. Princesss+Sparklepony*

        I’m hoping OP finds a great job at a new company that becomes the better twitter. But I’m a bit of a curmudgeon. And I like to see people getting better lives revenge.

        1. The OP (a Tweep)*

          I am very much hoping for the same thing!

          I’m a little worried currently since there are so many tech layoffs happening, but I’m hoping that once we get to January things will turn around a bit. And another positive thing is the amazing alumni network Tweeps have quickly built out – there are several Slack groups just for job sharing and networking, so I think that’s going to help a ton.

  4. KHB*

    Thanks so much to LW for an inside look at this trainwreck. I find it so sad that the whims of megalomaniac leaders have such power to destroy institutions like this. I’m not a full-fledged anticapitalist, but knowing that stuff like this is baked into the system might be enough to make me become one.

    1. DJ Abbott*

      It’s disgusting. I noticed it with the former guy too. “ They were once [potentially] men…”

      1. DJ Abbott*

        To clarify, I’m applying that quote to the men who worship and enable them, not the main subjects of this discussion.

    2. Despachito*

      As to being anticapitalist… imagine someone like Musk leading a socialist/communist country. This would be even a bigger disaster, because now at least people are free to leave and criticize. In a totalitarian regime, they would be imprisoned or killed.

      1. adastra429*

        The two options for governance are not capitalism and totalitarianism. I don’t want to derail the thread, but wanted to push back on the idea that socialism inherently means a dictatorship.

    1. Empress Matilda*

      I’m afraid to say I agree. Even Alison’s worst-ever bosses don’t rise to the level of this entire piece of crap. He’s doing so much harm to so many people, and there’s nothing in the world that will stop him.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And what’s really sad about it is that he really doesn’t seem to have stopped to consider the impact his changes are having on anybody.

        It’s why the Whomping Willow routinely won “most evil” person/character in Harry Potter world lists.

        1. Princesss+Sparklepony*

          I sort of liked that about the Whomping Willow. It just didn’t care.

          But I don’t like it in people.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Agreed – and in something like a plant – you can just avoid the area of said plant. People are far to mobile for that to work though.

      2. MM*

        More than anything, I feel for the people in many countries who rely on twitter for coordinating disaster response, and activists for whom twitter is their best bet for visibility (my Iranian friends are FREAKED about this right now–worst possible timing). Twitter is the last primarily text-based social media site, i.e. one that you can access without high data bandwidth. It had become pretty load-bearing over the past several years. People are going to die in floods and storms if twitter goes down at the wrong time.

        I do feel for the employees too (especially those on H1-B visas), but most of my anger is at how little this guy seems to know or care about what actually makes twitter important, and who uses it.

        1. The OP (a Tweep)*

          I think about this all the time and it makes me so so angry – that the things he’s cutting or changes he’s making on a whim have real world impact and will absolutely lead to real world harm. I think that’s why so many of us stuck around for as long as possible – to try to get him to understand this crucial piece.

        1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

          Yep. He has pooped in ALL the workers’ lunchboxes, and exploded way more than a few small bombs.

          1. SpaceySteph*

            As someone who works at NASA this comment sent me.

            I have had some not-great managers in my time here, but thankfully none come close to this.

  5. lilsheba*

    Elon Musk is a total and complete idiot when it comes to running a company. There is no way to sugar coat that.

    1. Cat Tree*

      He’s a cancer on society and shouldn’t be in a position of so much power when he’s this incompetent. He’s playing pretend at being a Social Media Mogul with his daddy’s emerald mind money, at the expense of actual hardworking people who are now losing their jobs. The whole situation is disgusting.

      1. Dinwar*

        “He’s playing pretend at being a Social Media Mogul with his daddy’s emerald mind money…”

        This does have shades of “Entertainment 720” doesn’t it? With him in the role of Jean-Ralphio, without a Tom Haverford. Amusing when it’s fictional and only a handful of characters, one of which is completely unlikeable. Not so much when it’s real and involves thousands of people.

  6. Sebastian*

    I am so sorry, LW. This is beyond ridiculous.

    I’ll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

    1. ferrina*

      Yes! LW, you are wise to leave, and I’m so sorry you need to go through this stress and heartache. We’ll be thinking of you!

  7. Caramel & Cheddar*

    It’s a running joke that his rockets constantly explode — how is this reassuring and a reason to trust him?

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I think he grossly overestimates how many effs most adults give about space.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I wish I could root for him and space, but he’s such a disaster I expect something Challenger-ish to happen someday :(

    2. Spaceball One*

      That’s… not really accurate. The Falcon 9 is a very reliable vehicle. But that has nothing to do with Twitter anyway, so the argument that “rocket success = Twitter success” is just goofy

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And honestly the actual scientists and engineers at SpaceEx have managed to find a way to keep him out of their hair and therefore are able to get stuff actually done.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          Yeah. SpaceX seems reasonably well run, but it’s well run by everyone else while they ignore him as much as they can.

        2. Vio*

          Indeed. Funding Project A does not mean he can successfully run Project B.
          Personally I don’t use Twitter but there is no denying that it’s a massively successful, if occasionally controversial, social media platform. When purchasing something like that it would make a lot more sense to take time to understand it and how to make it better, not try to demolish and rebuild from the ground up. The guy’s a moron who seems to think that just because he has a ton of cash he must therefore be The Best and have All The Answers. In actuality he just happens to have far more money than anyone could possibly need and appears to have little to no interest in using any of it for humanitarian projects. All he wants to do is feed his own already inflated ego.
          Sadly at the expense of countless hard working people who would have otherwise continued to be great employees if they weren’t working for a cartoon villain level idiot.

        3. Princesss+Sparklepony*

          The SpaceX people are probably glad he’s busy with twitter. It clears up their time from having to deal with him – until he gets bored with Twitter or it does actually implode beyond reviving.

        1. Caramel & Cheddar*

          No, I am talking about the SpaceX SN class of rockets that have indeed blown up multiple times. I don’t want to put a link here in case the spam filter eats my comment, but google “Space x rockets blowing up” and you should find both videos of said explosions and also a few articles outlining every rocket that has blown up. This was all widely reported and it’s surprising to me so few people apparently know about it.

          Teslas are indeed famous for exploding, but since Elon’s lawyer didn’t ask folks to trust EM because he builds electric vehicles, I stuck to the rockets blowing up.

          1. Spaceball One*

            The SpaceX Starship is a fairly new (developed within the last few years) vehicle that’s still in work. Rockets blowing up during testing is not unusual and hasn’t been for decades. “This is why we test” is the mantra. Source: I’ve worked in the space business for 25 years.

            I am not a fan of this guy by any means. But there is no commonality between the success of the Falcon 9, the development status of the Starship, and running a social media platform like a derpy overlord.

    3. redflagday701*

      “He puts rockets in space” is such a ludicrous reason to me to trust him. For one, as others have pointed out, it’s not like he’s personally building and launching them. More importantly: Rocket science is physics. It’s complex physics, to be sure, but humankind has been launching rockets for a loooooong time. It’s impressive and there’s obviously a lot of spectacle to it, but it’s a qualitatively different skill set from managing — and particularly from running an utterly unique global communications system.

      1. Well...*

        Yea, I think it’s just such a complicated idea that it’s hard to push back on the moment (how do you argue with someone who’s so wrong about something so complex?). That allows whoever is arguing to bulldoze you into compliance because they appealed to authority and weren’t challenged.

        It’s one of the lowest forms of rhetoric IMO.

    4. Dinwar*

      The rocket explosions were built into the testing scheme. They would have preferred the rockets to not explode, sure–those things are expensive!–but that was a bonus, not a necessity. The explosions were in test flights, and provided useful (if costly) data that was rapidly integrated into new designs. It’s typical for R&D, but at a much faster pace than normal.

      There’s no way to apply that logic to Twitter. If he wanted to he’d have to have a specific goal in mind. Rocket science provides that–SpaceX is in the short-haul space trucking industry, the goal is to get stuff to a place and get the container back to take more stuff to that place. What goal does Twitter have? “To be the digital town square” isn’t really a goal. There’s no way to measure it, or to break it down into actionable steps. How do you put “Make Twitter into the digital town square” into a Gantt Chart? What’s your next action item, and what are the critical path items? If you can’t do that, what you have isn’t a goal. It’s a dream. Nice, but not a plan.

  8. Empress Matilda*

    Oh, OP. That sounds absolutely horrifying. I’m sorry for all the stress he’s putting you and your (former) coworkers through. And as much as this sounds like the messiest, most chaotic breakup in history, from the outside I can say I’m very glad you’re out of there.

    I hope you have the means to take a few months off, just to breathe and get your feet under you again. Please take care of yourself – this is a lot to deal with!

  9. Siege*

    Launching rockets isn’t, comparatively, hard. It takes a lot of money and a lot of math, math that’s been being done for at least a century and probably longer. It’s not as though Musk took a totally planet-bound civilization and invented flight and parked a rocket on the moon and blew a big raspberry first try.

    On the other hand, I would argue that we have yet to see a good social network that doesn’t elevate certain minority views and quash other minority views and generally not function in the way the majority of users want. So that’s clearly a lot harder, and will remain so while billionaires are in charge.

    OP, you should have told Spiro that Elon has also launched a fleet of murderous exploding cars, if only to watch his face BSOD as he failed to deal with that statement. (I’m assuming a person who can’t handle a panic attack is not someone who can kind of see how people work and why platitudes don’t, but I could be wrong!) I’m sorry you’ve lost such important and close friendships, and I wish you a soft landing somewhere better.

        1. HA2*

          Rockets don’t go “LOL I’m being launched by Musk, gonna change directions just to spite him LOL”. People are much harder to control than rockets.

        2. Well...*

          I’ll chime in and say that even people in hard sciences generally need empathy and social skills to be successful. It’s only people who start out on third base who get away with acting like this and succeed (and they only do so in particularly toxic environments).

          The Big Bang Theory isn’t real, and it’s very few physicists who actually behave that way.

          1. Siege*

            The problem with that (I don’t disagree) is that the people born on third base are notably the people rising to the top in the tech industry. I am very happy to armchair-diagnose Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, Jack Dorsey, and so many others as shells of humans, who create the toxic environments in which they flourish. Even with the managing-up piece someone referenced in this thread (I think it was Tesla managing Musk?) the fact remains that they are operating without empathy for anyone they don’t understand, which narrowly overlaps “white, male, and has a lot of money”.

            But yes, as a former computer science teacher, I am so frustrated whenever I have to talk to a tech person who doesn’t get users. It should be critical to inculcate empathy in children, and reward it and let it flourish throughout their schooling, but we don’t, and we particularly allow a largely-white, largely-male set of people in the tech industry not bother to empathize. That doesn’t mean the lack of empathy is universal or that suffering teaches empathy, but toxic masculinity requires of men that they just flagrantly not care about others, and we take that behavior and shunt those people into tech in huge numbers, and then this is the result. If we corrected against toxic masculinity in any way, we wouldn’t see this kind of nonsense, but we don’t, and in fact we create structures like the Big Bang Theory to normalize this atypical non-empathetic person in this specific industry. Can’t be weird and bad for the human race if there’s a TV show about it! (And yes, the parallels with copaganda are STRIKING.)

      1. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Ha, I always thought that expression was so funny because like, rocket science is pretty simple? Sure, the math is complex and requires incredible precision, but the concepts aren’t hard to understand. I used to teach afterschool science classes to elementary kids and we did a unit on rockets where we covered the fundamental concepts and then they build their own little working rockets (that go like, 30-50 feet up). Literal second graders can master the basics of rocket science with minimal adult supervision.

        1. Darsynia*

          To me the phrase is less about difficulty and more about time investment.

          It’s a flashy example of something that requires a lot of schooling to be trusted with something that, at the highest levels is very expensive, involving a large team of people. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s related to the way some see leaving Earth’s orbit as a cumulative human endeavor kind of achievement, too.

          1. MM*

            I would bet money that the origin of this phrase and the equation of rocket science with “pinnacle of human intelligence” comes straight out of the Cold War. That is, it’s much more ideological than empirical.

        2. Anon for this*

          The rebuttal I’m familiar with is “rocket science isn’t brain surgery.” Brain surgery is complicated, difficult and high-stakes for human life. Rocket science is essentially creating a big enough explosion to create liftoff. Big boom over there at Twitter now for sure!

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            A big enough CONTROLLED explosion. If you don’t control it (which is where all that math comes in) things go really super bad really fast.

        3. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Rocket science is math, engineering, quality control, testing, project management, software design, and lots of other hard things, all of which have to be done right or You Will Not Be Going to Space Today. The fundamentals are well-known, but the implementation details are difficult to get right—and there’s very little tolerance for not getting those details right. Knowing the fundamentals of how a rocket works? Elementary school kids can understand it! Building a rocket? A whole lot harder than it looks.

          But for all those problems, we either know the solutions or have a pretty good idea how to find the solution. And the success condition is clear: if you launch the thing into space where it’s supposed to be, or, for manned flight, get the people where they’re going and bring them back safely, you’ve succeeded.

          Content moderation is another beast entirely. There’s no obvious answer. Even the problem statement could be contentious. What’s effective content moderation look like? At the simplest, something like, “Remove bad stuff, leave the good stuff?” “Free speech, but without misinformation?” “Look, whatever you do, just try very hard please not to destroy Democracy?” And even if we can agree on a goal, there’s no blueprint for how we get there. AI is laughable. Large teams of human reviewers means subjecting large numbers of humans to things that humans should not be subjected to.

          When I say that content moderation is harder than rocket science, it’s not that rocket science is easy. It’s that content moderation is hard at a fundamental level of not even knowing what “success” looks like, much less how to get there.

          1. Ellie*

            Rocket science is hard ok – people can die because of a single bit-flip amongst millions and millions of instructions. Social media management is also hard. Elon Musk doesn’t know how to do either one.

            1. MM*

              People can die because of social media too! Probably, in aggregate, a lot more of them than can ever die in rocket launches. Between stalkers, hate mobs, coordinated hate speech (Facebook has been implicated in more than one actual attempted genocide, though obviously causality/counterfactuals are hard to establish in those cases), extremist and terrorist recruitment, and emergency information during natural disasters and terrorist attacks, there are a lot of lives on the line all the time.

        4. JustaTech*

          Or to quote satirist song writer Tom Lehrer “Once the rockets are up who cares where they come down, that’s not my department” – Werner Von Brown

          The math is easy, the engineering and materials development are harder, but they’re not anywhere near the same scale of complexity of a biological system, let alone a system full of humans expressing opinions.

      2. ferrina*

        Rocket science doesn’t have nearly as much PTSD associated with it.
        Love to all the moderators out there- thank you for all your work and making the internet a better (semi-decent) place!

    1. Siege*

      (To be clear: “certain minority views” means racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, transphobia, Gamergate, misinformation, disinformation, and whatever that weird anti-CSAM campaign that led to the first Livejournal Strikethrough was, plus more I’m not directly thinking of. “Other minority views” means “people trying to live their lives and talk about their marginalization and ask for or demand accountability and improvement.” I just assume half that is a trigger for the auto-filter.)

    2. bamcheeks*

      I would argue that we have yet to see a good social network that doesn’t elevate certain minority views and quash other minority views and generally not function in the way the majority of users want

      Hmm, I would argue that LJ did exactly that, but it couldn’t survive the shift to ultra-capitalised social media. It made just about enough money to keep itself going for its users, but nobody was getting mega rich of it, and that wasn’t what web 2.0 was about.

      1. Siege*

        The fact that it was vulnerable to the Warriors of Truth or whatever they were called is concerning. Generally, I agree with you from the standpoint of being able to customize your user experience, little corporate interplay (no brand pages), and being able to follow people through several means, but the big drawbacks were the difficulty in finding people (Twitter’s retweet function has made it invaluable for that) and the lack of good ways to capitalize to cover costs. But I think there are a lot of lessons to be taken from it and they’re mostly ignored in favor of getting money out of a network.

      2. Darsynia*

        As a permanent LJ account holder who was around back when fandom was moderated into oblivion there, nah, not really. The site was purchased by people from a country with anti LGBT views and their crackdown on anything they hated was thorough and swift. The framing of LGBT relationships as inherently problematic* left vibrant, large groups of people without years of work as the communities were deleted without much warning and prompted the creation of Archive of Our Own as a place for fans, created by fans.

        There are nuances to the ‘moderation’ that wouldn’t be appropriate to get into but I would be curious to know if the fandom mass exodus hindered the site’s survival afterwards. Those fandom spaces went from a warren of interconnected personal journals and group communities to a wasteland, and fandom really hasn’t been the same since. Seems like Twitter’s going to do that, fracture and separate and not regain that symbiosis in a meaningful way.

        *note: it’s only in the past ten years or so that F/F and M/M relationships in fandom have gone from ‘must be marked as NSFW and/or Mature’ content to something viewed as normal and healthy. For example, a simple G rated story content-wise would need to be marked as Mature or higher simply for *containing* LGBT characters or couples.

        1. bamcheeks*

          That’s what I mean by didn’t survive the movement to monetisation. I think there was a stable period where it worked incredibly well because it was focused on meeting the needs of users and earning enough money to keep going, but that couldn’t last.

          1. Darsynia*

            Ahh I read your comment as it was great with moderation and it was the monetization that killed it. I think the moderation was great until the purchase and the new moderation policies destroyed the place, so that’s where the miscommunication lay with me.

        2. COHikerGirl*

          I had a permanent LJ account. I migrated everything over to Dreamwidth and deleted my account. None of the new regulations would have impacted any of my usage of the site but I just couldn’t support that.

    3. FFS it's not rocket science*

      “elevate certain minority views and quash other minority views”

      Can we not both-sides nazis/maga please. Just stop.

      1. Siege*

        Can you tell me what about that line is “elevating Nazis”? I clarified in a separate comment that I was concerned calling out abhorrent views was going to trip the auto-filter. I did not grant Nazi or MAGA views legitimacy. I’m curious to know where you think I did!

        1. Hobbling Up a Hill*

          If I stand on my head and squint, I would assume that calling Nazi’s a minority in the same sentence you’re using ‘minority’ to cover the vulnurable groups Nazis go after (Jews, queer people, the disabled etc etc) could be seen as both-sides-ing the discussion.

          1. Siege*

            And yet, I used “minority” in the sense of “most people do not share these views” on first use and “most people do not live these experiences” on second use, a distinction I thought was plenty clear. It’s isn’t, after all, rocket science, as the first commenter’s username says.

    4. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Was it the motel chain Howard Johnson that had a commercial where people who stayed the night at HJ now thought themselves so smart they could be a CEO or aerospace engineer? hmmm, I one time flipped an omelette with the whole chef wrist flick thing without dumping it on the floor, I’m now qualified to be a Formula One race car driver.

      The scary thing is that Spiro not recognizing that “this is just how Elon talks,” is NOT the consolation and endorsement he thinks it is.

    1. LizB*

      He’d have to be taken out of the running to give anyone else a chance. He’s really in a tier all his own.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            Frankly, yes. I think even our PM who couldn’t outlast a head of lettuce isn’t in the running now.

          2. River Song*

            Hopefully Allison will make it official but regardless The Elon Musk Chaos Goblin Worst Boss Award is cemented in my head cannon.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              My problem with that is that the Musk Ox is a valuable animal that gives back to its environment and fills a vital ecological niche.

              I have yet to find anything beneficial or necessary that Elon does. He’s another spoiled rich waste of air.

        1. The OP (a Tweep)*

          As a fan of the worst boss of the year awards, I love this idea!

          Or just putting Elon in his own category and then having people vote on all the other worst bosses.

          1. Summer Sugar*

            Yes, I love this idea too! The absolute worst boss of them all can get the “Elon Musk, Worst Boss of the Year” award and the runners-up can get the “Craptastic Service” award.

      1. Ellie*

        Oh I don’t know, he hasn’t tried to take anyone’s liver yet.

        But who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    2. Delta Delta*

      Seems like there needs to be a Second Worst Boss of 2022, since that’s where the competition really is.

    3. All the Words*

      He’s in the stratosphere when it comes to his ranking as Worst Boss of the Year. He’s so far beyond anyone else that he needs his own category and we can continue with the contest.

      1. ferrina*

        He’s on the Bad Boss Rocket? His bad decisions are self-driving? He’s pressed the button and committed to ultra management awfulness?

        1. Mockingjay*

          Maybe SpaceX can calculate an intercept orbit so Elon can be stuffed into his Tesla.

          After all, Elon, can you say you’ve launched rockets if you haven’t actually flown yourself?

        2. Troutwaxer*

          That could be the name of the trophy for Bad Boss of the Year. They could receive the Elon Rocket!

          1. Bob-White of the Glen*

            See, now I kind of feel like we need to design a bad boss award, and yes, in the shape of the rocket. :D

      2. MM*

        Well, now I’m wondering whether “Boss” has to mean “treatment of direct reports” or if it means “management of the whole organization and thus employees many layers away,” because a number of Amazon employees have literally died due to their working conditions. Municipalities that were once eager to site a major Amazon distribution center start saying a few years later that they didn’t anticipate having to weigh the jobs created against a major burden on their ambulances and hospitals. Destroying twitter will almost certainly lead to some deaths on the user end, but not likely on the employee side. So, if it’s the second set of criteria, I’d have to think Bezos gives Elon a run for his money.

        1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

          Ugh I thought I was up to date with the worst on Amazon but I hadn’t heard about that little cost/benefit calculation. Ouch.

    4. Unipotamus*

      You beat me to this (didn’t notice and commented below). I’m with the others in thinking that we may need some Worst Boss Subcategories to keep this fair to non-billionaire terrible bosses.

    5. Cat Tree*

      He’s so good at winning worst boss competitions! Surely we should trust his judgment for other accomplishments.

  10. nevermind the rockets*

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that, it sounds awful. Now I wish the Twitter board had more sense and had rejected Musk’s offer to buy the company, but more importantly, I hope and wish for a better outcome for you and your team. You didn’t deserve this, but I know you’ll find saner employment elsewhere, and soon.

    1. Observer*

      Now I wish the Twitter board had more sense and had rejected Musk’s offer to buy the company,

      I hate to say this, but it really is not surprising that they not only agreed to his original proposal but then they actually sued to force him to go through with it.

      Because the reality was that Twitter was already a mess, and the biggest problems were in the leadership. And the fact that this is how they handled his buyout is a symptom of that deep rot.

      I think that ultimately Twitter was going to fail, unless some radical changes had happened. The difference here is that the failure is faster, more destructive and much more cruel than it would have been. But, absent some MAJOR changes at the top, it *would* have ultimately failed.

      Think about it for a minute – not only did the Board accept his proposal, Jack Dorsey actually ENCOURAGED him before he made his proposal. How did he not understand what the likely outcome would be?! *NOW* he’s apologizing. Well, that’s the kind of incompetence that is all but indistinguishable from active cruelty (as someone noted in the last thread.) Unless and until he does something to help the people who have been hurt by this mess, I’m going to hold him responsible for a lot of this.

      1. Observer*

        This is NOT to exonerate Musk. He’s a horrible person and bringing maximum destruction right now. Even if he or someone he hires manages to turn things around, it won’t be because of the insanity he’s pulling now, but despite it.

        And I really, really doubt that he will be able to turn it around.

      2. Curmudgeon in California*

        Jack isn’t a lot better in the management talent space, IMO, but at least he knows how to delegate and keep his fingers out of the gears most of the time. Both of them are probably white supremacists to a greater or lesser degree, and are just fine with white men harassing and stalking anyone who isn’t a cis, het, white, Christian, conservative male.

        1. Fishsticks*

          I don’t know if he’s a white supremacist but I do think it’s clear he flat out doesn’t care about anything that doesn’t affect him personally, and therefore as long as those white men are harassing and stalking people who aren’t him, he doesn’t see the big deal.

          Hence being willing to step up and ban Trump… because of the possibility of legal trouble that would actually affect Jack.

    2. HA2*

      I think it speaks to different priorities.

      The Twitter board had plenty of sense. They got a huge paycheck, and for them that was the point of running twitter – to make money. Selling to Musk was a more effective way of doing that than continuing to run the company, because he overpaid for it, so they took him up on his offer.

      …but wouldn’t it be nice if the people running a global communications platform actually cared about making a global communications platform, rather than just caring about making a buck.

      1. Ben*

        Ironically, the best way for a company like Twitter to focus on doing its core job well rather than milking it for every dime of shareholder value … is for someone to buy it and take it private.

        Elon’s showing pretty clearly that he isn’t primarily motivated by profit, and nobody can kick him out! Imagine if he used that privilege to run a good business unburdened by shareholder pressure instead of, well, whatever this is.

    3. EPlawyer*

      Unfortunately Twitter Noard had a duty to their shareholders. Not the employees or the general public. So they did their job correctly.

      1. Jackalope*

        Not really. Even assuming that your comment is correct that their primary responsibility is to shareholders, they just absolutely ranked the value of the company by selling it to him in what was an easily foreseeable set of actions. They may not have been able to see that it would tank *this* fast, but the writing was still on the wall.

          1. Jackalope*

            Unless all of them sold their shares and Twitter no longer has any shareholders, it is still in their interest for him not to drive the company in the ground.

            1. EPLawyer*

              He took it private. There are no shareholders. That’s what the 44 billion went to, buying out the shares, so he would be the sole owner. With the Saudis, of course.

              1. Jackalope*

                Oh, good to know. Somehow I’d missed that bit. I still think that that wasn’t the best way to resolve things for shareholders, but that certainly makes this thread make more sense.

              2. Kevin Sours*

                A private corporation still has shareholders and there are perhaps a dozen in NuTwitter. But it’s a new company with a new board and not the previous board’s circus.

            2. Kevin Sours*

              So there are shareholders. But those shareholders either new which means the prior board had no obligation to them, or they chose to reinvest their shares in the new company instead of caching out. The basic calculus was that Twitter wasn’t worth $54.20 a share and wasn’t likely to worth that much in the forseeable future. If some people decided to reinvest anyway, that’s not the board’s problem.

  11. The Birds Work for the Bourgeoisie*

    I know I will be in the minority of this commentariat, but I think this Twitter armageddon is way overblown. Having worked at a prominent tech company, slacking off is the norm and productivity is mediocre at best. Musk comes in knowing that and immediately implements changes to combat it. “If you are not providing value, get out” is how a successful business is run.

    1. nnn*

      Those aren’t the issues with Musk’s actions. Far from it. It sounds like you haven’t followed what’s happening very closely.

    2. Lola*

      How is firing entire teams that help the website run increasing value?

      Are you on Twitter? I am and it’s become a mess. Half the time tweets don’t load properly, a lot of people I used to follow are gone. Not to mention the whole Blue Check disaster, when people were impersonating famous people and companies. (that was actually highly amusing to watch).

      He didn’t just get rid of the slackers, he got rid of vtial infrastructure.

        1. Spaceball One*

          Sad that “The Birds Work for the Bourgeoisie” can’t tell the difference, and thinks a sledgehammer is how you get things done. Glad that person is not my boss

      1. kiki*

        Yes, I think that’s something a lot of Elon stans are willfully ignoring. Sure, there is always some bloat at any company. We all know that person who somehow does nothing but still has a job. But that’s a low percentage at most organizations. There is no way half of Twitter’s staff was unnecessary bloat and slacking. And even for the folks who were technically slacking, they still likely held valuable knowledge of processes and system. Cutting half the company off all at once was a recipe for disaster.

    3. CheesePlease*

      I think there are much MUCH better ways to do this though. It appears as if he had preconceived notions about twitter and made huge changes without learning anything. Setting the expectation to be “hardcore” is useless. It’s not like he set up new productivity standards, gave 3-6 months for people to work towards that and then made changes.

    4. tessa*

      So you saw laziness at your tech company; as such, all techies are lazy? The logic defies reason. Anecdote isn’t generalizable.

      Besides, I seriously doubt if what you say is true – that this is “overblown” – Twitter would be undergoing its current metamorphosis. Look up.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Yeah, during my college years, I worked retail in two different stores. If I were to judge the retail sector by one of those…well, in the first, it was pretty much expected that your 15 minute break would take at least half an hour. It wasn’t unusual for people to go out to a café for that, then go back to the staff room to put away your coat, money, etc and spend a few more minutes chatting to your coworkers. (You also had an hour long lunch break later on.) In the other…they timed how many items you checked out per minute and you’d be in trouble if you weren’t scanning enough. The second store was busier but had a fraction of the staff, because the amount of work expected from each person was so much greater.

        So if I were to base my assumption on the first workplace, I’d assume most retail staff had a fairly easy job, took long breaks, etc whereas if I based it on the second, I’d assume retail staff had a really demanding job where they hardly got a break at all.

        The fact that people slacked off in one tech company (or one branch of one tech company) doesn’t necessarily mean that was happening at twitter.

    5. Empress Matilda*

      Maybe in theory, but isn’t there usually some sort of *plan* behind it? Firing large groups of people and causing mass panic, weekly re-orgs, removing the company directory so nobody knows who’s in and who’s out, sending critical emails that your senior advisors don’t know anything about – there’s no strategy behind that.

      He’s just come in and carpet-bombing the whole place, without articulating any kind of vision about his long-term goal. And he doesn’t care how much harm he is causing – not just to individuals, but to the company he just bought. He’s going to be left with people who are consenting to be exploited because they don’t have any other options – most of the people who are not staying are not loyal, they’re just desperate. That’s no way to run a business.

      1. nnn*

        Right and the fact that he then ended up begging some of the people who were let go to come back says he didn’t exactly do this with any skill or strategy.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        Funny, I thought his goal was to waste a bunch of money and destroy Twitter. Mission accomplished

        Some people have too damn much money.

      3. Me+...+Just+Me*

        Agreed. But it is the way that re-orgs and take overs happen. Heck, in a previous job, I once emailed a colleague for an entire month, wondering why I wasn’t getting a response, only to find out that she had been down-sized, but nobody knew. I’ve also been the director, having to lay folks off — you wouldn’t believe the disorganization and lack of thought by the decision-makers. Clueless. As in, maybe we shouldn’t announce massive restructuring to happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas if we are at all worried about public perception. Or, a few months after, when my boss’s boss came to me to say that she was concerned that morale was down — uhh …. you just eliminated entire departments; that doesn’t make for happy employees.

        1. Dinwar*

          “But it is the way that re-orgs and take overs happen.”


          The company I work for was infamous (internally anyway) for going through re-orgs regularly–when you asked someone how long they’d been with the company they’d often let you know how many they’d been through, not how many years they’d worked there. The company expected managers to be open, honest, and to effectively communicate issues with the staff. Then we got bought out. There were reductions in force, including a bunch of people offered early retirement (those who declined were fired a few months later, to no one’s surprise). While some were surprises, no one went a month without learning that someone they’d worked closely with was fired.

          We were never asked to sign what amounts to loyalty oaths to keep our jobs. We were never told that we would have our hours increased. We were never told to justify our production by asinine metrics. For one thing, the executives asked the managers for input on these decisions and our managers knew us well enough to know where the slackers were and who was necessary even if production rates don’t immediately indicate it.

          This isn’t the first time a company has been restructured. The business world has worked out a lot of the kinks in the process, by trial and error but still. Musk has abandoned any pretense at following the established protocols. The most generous possible interpretation is that he’s re-inventing a very dangerous wheel, and doing so without taking into account that companies are composed of human beings. Which is sort of like a butcher not understanding that meat comes from animals, or a carpenter not understanding that timber frames require wood.

      4. Curmudgeon in California*

        I would describe Twitter under Elon as similar to playing chess with a pigeon: He comes in, kicks over all the pieces, half completely off the board, then he craps on the rest while strutting like he won. (This is based on discussions I’ve had elsewhere with ex-Twitter employees, including a formerly highly placed person.)

      5. TeapotNinja*

        The way he did the layoffs was just completely wrong from any perspective you could think of, including from the perspective of Elon The Genius.

        He first lays off 50% of the staff. He then tells everyone WFH is over, if you’re not happy, get the f out. After all that he then further tells the remaining folks “go hardcore, or go out”.

        The way he did that he cost Twitter more money in severance than necessary, lost more people than he wanted and didn’t manage to keep the people that would’ve been best for the company.

        The most incredible thing is that Twitter is HIRING to replace people the idiot drove away. If I was any of the lenders who he hoodwinked into paying for the acquisition, I’d be furious. He’s just burning the money.

    6. Jennifer Strange*

      I mean, this is a letter from someone ON THE INSIDE explaining how bad it is. But you somehow know it’s overblown because you also once worked at a tech company? Yeah, that tracks.

      1. Properlike*

        A *prominent* tech company. I have in mind which one, because I’ve met several people who name drop this company to justify antisocial opinions about How The World Really Works.

    7. not a doctor*

      His changes temporarily shut down 2FA, locking people out of their own Twitter accounts.

      Does that sound like great business leadership to you?

    8. RabbitRabbit*

      Sounds like he’s thrown productivity into complete disarray because of his whims, actually. He’s violated EU and UK laws with his layoffs, paychecks had to be ‘cut’ manually for many people due to firing Payroll, he rolled out and back various verification methods. How you can sit there and say “this is fine” (cue backdrop of flames) is mindboggling.

    9. Charlotte Lucas*

      He also violated the WARN Act.

      And for data-lovers out there, analysis shows that down-sizing/mass layoff do not generally help companies or the economy, but instead just help things get worse faster. In fact, being slightly overstaffed in general leads to creativity & good problem-solving during slow times & less stress during busy times.

      Humans need down times & breaks to function, just like all the other animals.

      1. kiki*

        100% agree. I also think that in the last decade or so, the definition of adequate staffing and “overstaffed” changed. Bare minimum capacity is the new normal in a lot of fields and departments. This has resulted in more staff burnout and less customer satisfaction. It’s really resulted in a race for the bottom.

        1. DJ Abbott*

          Absolutely! This comment needs to be posted everywhere, all the time, until things get better.

        2. RVA Cat*

          This is exactly how we got to the brink of the railroad strike. Heather Cox Richardson’s letter for today breaks it down in detail, but it’s built around people on-call 24/7 with two people running a 2 or 3 mile train.

      2. Gracely*

        This. It’s much better to have more employees than you *need*, because you want to be at least somewhat insulated from people leaving/being sick/not getting overworked/etc. You also want to have a reputation for *not* ruthlessly eliminating people on a whim, because smart workers are going to stay far, far away from that.

        Maximum efficiency isn’t actually as efficient as some people think.

        1. The OP (a Tweep)*

          Yes, exactly this – also out of the people I know who are still there, every single one of them is currently looking for other jobs.

      3. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

        Yes this. You are a highly sensible person as your username also clearly indicates.

    10. Hen in A Windstorm*

      Bullshit. Walking in the door and assuming everyone is incompetent until proven otherwise is a terrible business model, which is why the company is tanking. This drives away the people who *are* competent and have options, leaving you with the people who are scared and the people who are faking it.

    11. CatCat*

      Yeah, I’m sure the top productive employees with talent and options are super pumped about staying with the company after all these shenanigans lol.

    12. Generic+Name*

      But he used words like “extremely hardcore” and not “be sure you’re meeting expectations”. As the LW noted, what does that even mean?

      1. Jenny+Islander*

        He thinks he’s the manager. He’s just the money guy. We’re looking at what he thinks management is, without a group of trained managers between him and the actual company, so that they filter what he knows about the company and moderate what he tells people to do.

      2. Lizzo*

        It means you can work effectively on four hours of sleep (not continuous, mind you), and a diet of coffee, Red Bull, and cheap takeout food…? :shrug:

      3. Ellie*

        It means be young, preferably male, and work 100 hours a week. Musk didn’t invent that, its the well-known, hardcore standard across IT. The only thing unusual about that email, was the option to opt-out at the end of it (and the chaos and firings that preceded it, obviously – most tech-bros assume everyone’s up for those hours).

    13. Essentially Cheesy*

      It’s very possible, if not very likely that you are at least partly correct – but still, there has to be maybe about a million better ways to go about managing such a dramatic re-org, right?

      I’m just very glad to not be working at an extra-large prominent company.

    14. Anonymouse*

      Seriously, he’s known for wanting the best at everything. I read an article years ago that he will fire anyone that’s not the best at whatever they do. It’s not new news.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        Yeah that’s the problem with Elon. His standards are high! It can’t be that he is a a spoiled Space Karen that seems determined to watch the world burn because of his own hubris.

        Any half talented SWE isn’t going to work for this guy.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          If I had been at Twitter I would have had my resume out the moment that negotiations for the purchase got serious. I’ve read on how he “manages” at Tesla and Space-X. I don’t like to work for racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQIA a**holes, and from past events it seems that Musk is all three.

      2. Anne+Kaffeekanne*

        By that parameter pretty sure he should be the first to go in any of his jobs. Weird how he never is (and if that IS his best… big yikes)

      3. Paris Geller*

        But he isn’t the best at anything?? (except proving to us all the idea that money=talent/hardwork/the American dream we’ve been led to believe).

      4. HA2*

        So what exactly has he done to ATTRACT the best to Twitter?

        The discussion of “firing people who aren’t the best” seems backwards to me, because it presumes that “the best” are also desperate for jobs, and so all you have to do to get them is hire them and then fire everyone else. …but “the best” have their pick of where they want to work. That’s why tech companies have all these neat perks and pay boatloads of cash! It’s not because the bosses are somehow real committed to making a cushy life for slacker liberals, it’s because to get the best tech workers to come you have to offer boatloads of cash, and to get them to stay you have to keep them happy by treating them well.

        Seriously, why would anyone but a Musk fanboy want to work at Twitter right now?

        …well, they might if they’re desperate and Twitter is better than unemployment. But “the best” aren’t in that situation.

        1. HA2*

          Well, there is one way to get great people to come work for you despite mediocre pay and shitty conditions – to offer the chance to make something truly unique, to lead a field. I think there are some great people that went to SpaceX because if you want to make new rockets that’s the only option, or went to Tesla because if you wanted to make electric cars that was the place to be.

          But Twitter? Social networks are not that. Nobody grows up dreaming of content moderation.

          1. Web Crawler*

            Idk- I know a number of brilliant techies who are interested in social media, designing online communities, and trying to figure out ways to build this stuff to make them safer for marginalized groups.

            It just tends to be that they don’t look like “the best” because 1) you have to have a lot of soft skills and a social science background, and those aren’t as valued in tech circles. And 2) people who are interested in making online communities safer tend to be marginalized themselves- and with that, have probably gone to “lesser” schools and have a harder time networking.

            1. As Per Elaine*

              I agree with your points, but I’d say that Twitter still isn’t (wasn’t?) unique in the same way. It’s been one of the bigger players, sure, but there are a lot of platforms where someone who’s interested in issues surrounding online community can find/build a niche.

        2. TeapotNinja*

          If you can take working for a complete asshole, there’s probably a big opportunity for some take no prisoners, type A personality to climb the ladder really quickly. Could even be a career move, if you can bullshit your away around the obvious PR nightmare of having Twitter 2022 – 202X in your resume.

      5. Fishsticks*

        If that was his genuine interest, he would trust his “best at what they do” hires and keep himself out of it.

      6. Anonomite*

        Did that article also talk about how he actually sucks at what he does and hasn’t created anything? Did it talk about him overpaying for a social media platform because he thought he could do it better and then crashing it entirely? Did it mention that many of the people left are only there because their visas require them to work at Twitter or leave the country, therefore basically setting up a system of indentured servitude?

        That article you read was a warning.

      7. Irish Teacher*

        That’s not how you do that though. Firing people who don’t say “I promise to be the best” is not the same as firing those who are not the best. We’ve seen plenty of letters here from people with employees who insist that they “greatly exceed expectations” or are “making your life so much easier” when the letter writer judges their work to be a major problem. Those people would probably hit the button and keep their jobs.

        The other people likely to hit the button are the people who think working insanely long hours is a good thing and the way to get ahead. Some of them probably do good work, but…most people cannot sustain that and it is very likely a lot of those people will do poorer work than the people who work 9-5 due to being over-tired.

        The people most likely not to hit the button? The ones who know their work speaks for them to the point that they won’t have much difficulty getting another job so they aren’t willing to work ridiculous hours when they are getting good work done in the normal 40. The people who take instructions seriously and wouldn’t agree if they weren’t totally sure they could achieve it. Those are the people you want in your workplace.

        Is it possible some people will look at that e-mail and say “nah, I’m too lazy to give my best. I’m not pushing it”? Sure, but…it’s not going to be a case of the good employees pushing it and the bad ones not. A whole load of other considerations come in and…people really aren’t good at judging their own output. Most people believe they are fairly average. So the people working hard and putting in more than 40 hours a week will think everybody is doing that and that hardcore is much, much more than that. The people who are really slacking off and doing maybe 2 hours work a day will think “nobody does more than that” and that hardcore means actually putting in some effort for three or four hours of an eight hour day.

        Asking people to give a commitment without being clear about what that commitment means and then simply taking their word for it isn’t going to tell you who can meet your criteria and who can’t.

        1. Braken*

          Agreed with Irish Teacher.

          Those less likely to click the button are people who have options, a financial safety net and can step off the sinking ship and instability.

          Those more likely to stay are those with fewer options or those who are buying time to job hunt/keep health insurance.

          Being “the best” isn’t the factor. They are not screening for what they think they are.

        2. Julian*

          He went on another fighting spray on the people who had hit the button. But unlike the people who hadn’t, no severance for them.

      8. TechWorker*

        Except his ways of determining who is ‘best’ are absolutely batshit and would be laughed at by anyone who’s spent more than a few months working in software. Except for that.. yea…

      9. Dinwar*

        How does he determine who’s best?

        The only metric we’ve seen in this fiasco is “How writes the most lines of code?” This is a horrible metric, for a lot of obvious reasons–not every position is 100% code-writing, some people have harder tasks and need to take more time, it prioritizes speed over efficiency and thus results in crappy code, and the list goes on.

        It’s fine to have high standards. But you need to understand what you’re doing in order to set those standards. When you choose poor standards to evaluate people, you get bad results. This is not a new concept; it is in fact a very old risk in using metrics to evaluate performance.

        Secondly, why is having the best a good thing? This is a serious question–relying on “the best” creates fragile systems. There are two ways to get high-quality results: Have outstanding people, or have high-quality systems. If you opt for the first route you can get by, until you get someone who’s merely really, really freaking good at what they do. Since you’ve relied on outstanding people you have no systems to act as checks against errors, and you end up looking incompetent. I’ve seen this happen to a number of companies, usually at the point where they stop being a startup and start being an established firm. High-quality systems, on the other hand, are built specifically to take human error into account. If you have high-quality systems you can take average or even below-average people and still do high-quality work. The ideal is a combination of both, but you rarely get that.

        I was on a job once that relied on high-quality people. I mapped out error rates, and was able to identify every time we had staff in a key role change merely by looking at spikes in the error rate. The job lacked the systems necessary to withstand even routine transitions, much less a significant problem! And to be clear, these were amazing people, probably in the top 10% of their field. But as soon as one person got sick, got a better offer, or…well, had literally anything happen, the system couldn’t bear the weight.

        1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

          This… may have changed my life. You are exactly right and I love this distinction.

      1. Web Crawler*

        I’m surprised that he has any left, but I guess that’s how deeply embedded the cult of genius is in our culture

        1. Starfleet+HVAC+Engineering*

          Cult of “perceived” genius. All Musk has ever done is throw money around. He’s invented nothing.

        2. DJ Abbott*

          I think it’s just as much-if not more-the cult of money and power. Sadly, there are a lot of people who worship these things and follow rich powerful people without question.

    15. Falling Diphthong*

      Randomly firing people is not the way to ensure that you only retain the highly productive people. Nor firings based on lines of code written last month. Nor firings based on whether you found that email motivational, told yourself “Elon launches rockets!” and clicked yes.

      The new thing where they want the remaining people to turn in their coworkers for not being productive enough is not the sort of policy that says “Management definitely understands what these workers are doing.”

    16. Veryanon*

      I don’t think you’ve been following this story or what’s been happening at Twitter. Not only did EM basically cause the company to implode, but he’s also allowed all kinds of objectionable, racist, and dangerous people to come back (see: TFG, Ye, etc.).

      1. Properlike*

        These are the people who fawn at the feet of all the white, male, billionaire VISIONARIES! Who wear black turtlenecks and think that being an a****** is the way to manage.

        It’s a common thread, the male ego made manifest. We should be over it.

        1. Observer*

          I said this before and I’ll say it again. The comparison to Jobs isn’t great. Because Jobs was not a good person (to say the least). And there were a lot of genuine problems with his business and employment dealings. But he DID actually build something, and he did actually learn a lesson or two from his setbacks. And even at his worst, he didn’t pull the kind of insane stuff Musk is pulling.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Jobs at least could step back and let the lower level managers actually manage sometimes, and was able to learn a little from his failures. Musk is like a bull in a China shop with no introspection. (Otherwise their temperment is/was very similar.)

      2. Me+...+Just+Me*

        I’ll be honest — I’m of the opinion that censorship is pretty universally bad, so I’m pretty okay with the “objectionable” stuff coming back. I realize that my open-ness to letting others spout their nonsense makes me a bit of a minority.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          There’s a distinction between “letting people spout their nonsense” in the sense of the government not arresting them, and “letting people spout their nonsense” in the sense of demanding that private entities must let people turn things into a cesspool in the name of not censoring. (And once it’s a cesspool, the normal users leave, and if it’s ad-supported the advertisers leave.)

          1. DJ Abbott*

            This Is a good place to mention the intolerance paradox.
            Tolerating intolerance makes intolerance spread. So the only thing that should not be tolerated, is intolerance. You can Google it for more.

        2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

          It’s hate speech and it’s dangerous. People are going to die and have died as a result of the “nonsense” others post on Twitter.

          1. drinking Mello Yello*

            This. Stochastic terrorism is a real and dangerous thing. Doxxing people is a real and dangerous thing. Social media platforms are not the (US) government and don’t have to host every shitty view for the sake of the First Amendment.

        3. deesse877*

          This is ignorant, and any survivor of fascism will tell you so. Racist and genocidal public speech is not a “nonsense” bad opinion. It’s a way to do moral and discursive violence, to inure us all to all forms of violence and cruelty, and to enable and hasten material violence.

          They know perfectly well that they make no sense, and you abet them when you assume that they are naive.

          1. Me+...+Just+Me*

            I don’t assume “they” are naive. But, I do assume that adults can decipher for themselves which views align with their world-view and those to discard. I’m 100% for free speech with very narrow limits. “Violence” is actual physical injury — not bad words or views, in my opinion.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer*

              Your views are very unformed. And I say that nicely. Hate speech is harmful. Someone telling me that I don’t deserve rights because I’m not white/not straight/not of a certain religion/not able bodied/not oh the list goes on can be EVERY bit as damaging as someone dropping a brick on my foot.

              It’s a good thing when people are denied a platform for hateful and bigoted views. When you give a free platform to everything then all you get left with are the bigots.

            2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

              What plane of existence are you on that there hasn’t been physical violence as a result of people spewing hate on Twitter? Because there has and it’s escalating.

            3. ADidgeridooForYou*

              Bad words or views are what lead to violence, though. Look at all the attacks happening recently – the vast majority of them didn’t wake up one day unprompted and say “hey, I hate [insert marginalized group here].” It came after months, sometimes years, of engaging in hateful and toxic communities and absorbing paragraph after paragraph of vitriol against women, POC, LGBTQ people, you name it. When left unchecked, what starts as someone tweeting “I hate women” eventually escalates to someone else saying “I hate women so I’m going to act on it.”

            4. Siege*

              The fact that QAnon has taken off as it has, and the number of people who believe that drag shows are grooming children but that the arrest records of pastors for CSA is meaningless is the sharp counterpoint to your idea that “adults can decipher for themselves … which views to discard.” Same for the amount of violence being meted out against marginalized individuals who are held to vastly different standards and those not marginalized. Same for the idea that the last two elections were stolen. The fact that any of these are discourse in modern America is definitive proof that actually, most adults don’t bother to evaluate what they hear, and we do need to promote public safety by limiting stochastic terrorism.

            5. Irish Teacher*

              But it’s not only adults who use social media sites. The age to sign up for most of them is 13+ and it’s really not difficult to sign up at a younger age (though I guess one could argue the sites are not responsible for people breaking their rules) but even at 13, people are very much still determining their world views and could well be influenced by social media. I would argue that adults could be influenced too, but I think there is a particular concern about young teens and even preteens.

              I also think that in some cases words and views can be far more dangerous than physical action. If I punch somebody, well, that’s pretty awful, but if I stir up dozens or hundreds of people, some of whom have access to weapons to personally target them, that is likely to do you a lot more harm than one person could on their own.

              Propaganda is effective. Yeats wrong, decades after the event about how he still worried about “did that play of mine send out, certain men the English shot?” And that was a play, fiction. I suspect personally interacting with people on social media could be even more effective. (Now, those men were fighting against colonialism, which I would argue isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you can use words to persuade people to go to their deaths fighting against colonialism, you can use words to persuade people to go to prison for racist or homophobic assaults or any other kind of violence one can think of.)

        4. Fishsticks*

          While I understand where you’re coming from, when it comes to stochastic terrorism, I think pulling their platform is a good idea. Ye is Ye, but what the former president did often crossed a line into dangerously violent misinformation and encouraging terrorist acts.

        5. Anonomite*

          The shooting at Club Q in Colorado can pretty easily be traced back to the posts from Libs of TikTok, so this is a pretty shitty take.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            No. The posts were from right wing agitators, not “Libs”.


            1. Liv*

              “Libs of Tik Tok” is a right-wing twitter account that purports to show “liberals” on Tik Tok acting “woke” or whatever, and that has been traced as the source of a lot of RW violence against LGBTQ folks. That’s what Anonomite is talking about.

        6. Irish Teacher*

          There was a pretty good video I saw once that pointed out that extreme censorship and no censorship online both…pretty much amount to the same thing. Extreme censorship means you only get one point of view, but no censorship means that the people who want to say horrific things tend to move in and because most people don’t want to have to hear or interact with those views, they start leaving and…you end up with only one point of view.

          I definitely understand being wary of the owners of social media imposing their rules as to what people can and cannot say. There are definitely concerns there.

          But no censorship at all would include things like adults being allowed to say things to groom young teenagers. It would include terrorist organisations being allowed to recruit. It would include allowing people to tell others to go and commit crimes for them.

        7. Curmudgeon in California*

          Hate speech, stalking, threats and doxxing are not “free speech”, they are criminal acts.

        8. M. from P.*

          Your openness to letting people spout hateful nonsense might be a sign that you don’t feel personally endangered by hate speech.

          This is not something all of us can afford. For people who witnessed atrocities or whose family members witnessed atrocities hate speech can actually cause a physical reaction.

        9. Allegra*

          Boston Children’s Hospital has had three bomb threats in a month because of right-wing twitter accounts lying about the care they give trans youth and stoking outrage. It’s not “spouting nonsense,” it’s stochastic terrorism. Tech companies have to regulate dangerous speech on their platform or the platform functionally devolves into “free speech for fascists and harassment for everyone else.”

          1. Aitch Arr*

            Not just bomb threats, but a Texas man has been charged with sending death threats to one of the physicians providing gender affirming care at BCH.

          1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

            Yes, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? ;-p

            I’d say someone needs to check their privilege!

        10. Bob-White of the Glen*

          And I’m guessing it’s easier for you because you are not one of the groups that will face repercussions from uncensored hate speech. You won’t be lynched, you won’t be raped, you won’t lose your job because you “took their job”, there are no gas ovens waiting for you. You don’t have to worry about the lowest in society getting so aroused by hatred and anger they go out to punish those they think responsible for their sad, pathetic lives. Oh, also hope you don’t have kids in school because….

          Most of us here are advocates of free speech. But actively organizing hate movements and violence is not the same as countering an argument.

    17. Irish Teacher.*

      But you don’t judge who is providing value by an e-mail like that. Heck, the slackers are the ones likely to hit it because they might figure they can just lie whereas those who work the full 40 hour week would see that as meaning “work 12 hour days” and wouldn’t.

      Those kind of vague criticisms/promises don’t work because the slackers either think working half an hour a day is really hard-working or else that they are so good at looking busy that will still be able to get away with slacking off. It’s the people who ARE working hard who will take it seriously and think it means they will be expected to do more.

    18. zuzu*

      His own lawyer couldn’t define what he meant by “extremely hardcore” and “high productivity” because he hadn’t read this exceptionally consequential email. Instead he just told employees to “trust” Elon because he “launched rockets.”

      Frankly, he should be disbarred for that.

      But more to the point, if you’re just equating hard work with number of hours with butts in seats, then you don’t have very good metrics for measuring productivity. And neither does Musk or Spiro, since apparently, that’s what they see as “hardcore.” Instead of evaluating what’s been working, it’s get your ass in the office for 16 hours a day and print out all your code even though I don’t understand it and can’t actually evaluate it, and if you balk at that, you’re not loyal.

      You might be comfortable with all the loyalty in a company flowing one way, but many people are not. And as post-Elon Twitter is finding out, when you come in a wreck a company’s culture and destroy a product so thoroughly because you don’t understand either the company, the product, or the user base and just want to stroke your ego, the only people left in the company are those who have no other options, the users you want on your site are fleeing because you let the fashies in and all the data privacy and human rights employees left, and the advertisers want no part of this mess.

    19. ArtK*

      Nice job simping for Elon. I’ve been working for tech companies, including a bunch of household names, for 40+ years and haven’t found slacking off to be any kind of norm. Unless you refer to working a reasonable amount of time and maintaining work-life balance as “slacking.”

    20. Observer*

      “If you are not providing value, get out” is how a successful business is run.

      If you really think that that’s what is happening here, then you REALLY have not been paying attention.

      It’s not just that he fired way more people than he should have. It’s that he’s doing illegal things. He’s setting metrics that don’t make sense. He’s making insane demands (eg regularly working so many hours that you need to sleep in the office.) He’s not communicating properly. He’s making pronouncements about stuff he knows nothing about. He’s pushing feature changes that are creating major problems.

      And not only is he setting ridiculous metrics, he doesn’t even know how to measure them. Code reviews have their place, but the ONE thing no competent reviewer looks at is the number of lines of code! And that’s just one example of the kind of stupidity that has been happening.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Code reviews have their place, but the ONE thing no competent reviewer looks at is the number of lines of code!


        If my output is judged by lines of “code” on a printer page, I can make a simple fizz-buzz take lots and lots of lines. It would not run faster, and in fact would slow down a lot.

        So if “lines of code” is the Muskrat’s metric, expect to see Twitter get very, very bloated and slow. After all, what you measure is what you get.

    21. NotoriousCrone*

      Speaking as someone who has also worked for several prominent Tech Companies, I’m gonna say you’re wrong here. There is a huge difference between being a Chaos Agent and being a Change Agent. Twitter needed the latter, Elon is the former.

      Did Twitter need some changes? Absolutely. What needed to happen was for someone to sit down and do a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the what the roadmap was, and what resources were needed to implement that roadmap. And then look at the current resources to make the adjustments. Just walking in the door and firing a bunch of people is not that. It’s obvious at this point that Elon did not do his homework.

      Furthermore, at no time has Elon offered any incentive to stay beyond, “You’ll still have a job.” You will notice in the letter from the former Twitter employee that Elon did not answer the question as to how employee performance would be measured. From what I have read, he’s measuring lines of code, which is a really horrible metric for software development. Coding is only a small piece of software development. Elon does not know who is providing value and who isn’t. You cannot sustain a business like that.

      1. Observer*

        There is a huge difference between being a Chaos Agent and being a Change Agent. Twitter needed the latter, Elon is the former.


        It’s obvious at this point that Elon did not do his homework.

        I think it was obvious long before this point. A lot of people were sounding the alarm.

        Elon does not know who is providing value and who isn’t. You cannot sustain a business like that.

        That’s the key to all of this. He has no idea who is providing value.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          You don’t manage a technology firm by firing rockets into the office and saying that’s ‘clearing the deadwood’. I’ve seen tech companies rise and fall and a common trend among the failures is assuming that anyone who isn’t kissing up to management is a waste of resources.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*


          Bloated code is also slow code, IME. So he is measuring people on something that will make his site run slower.

          The only reason I still use my Twitter account is to watch the fall in realtime. Then again, I watch train wreck videos on YouTube.

      2. Troutwaxer*

        “Hey, highly-trained technical worker with in-demand skills, you’re lucky to have a job!”

        1. Bob-White of the Glen*

          “And with a mass company exodus there is no chance you would ever build a better model to compete against me!”

      3. Summer*

        This all boils down to one simple fact – Elon is just a rich moron. He’s never actually created anything. If he wasn’t born rich, he’d be a nobody and the world would be better off. Instead, because he got mad that no one on Twitter liked him or found him funny (because he’s detestable and deeply unfunny), he decided to flush $44 billion plus lots of people’s livelihoods down the drain.

        Plus now he’s playing to the MAGA loons and lapping up their slavish devotion because he’s “owing the libs.”

        I hate Elon with the fire of a thousand suns.

    22. bunniferous*

      YWhat you say could be true but it can also be true that things were handled sloppily and chaotically. Parenthetically while in general my own Twitter experience is about the same, I have noticed I am getting way more spammy messages, and running across way more unwanted porn while checking out nonporny hashtags. (To be clear I never want porn so for me that is definitely a bug not a feature.) OP, I hope you land on your feet at a better job soon.

    23. Darsynia*

      This is a surface-level assessment that ignores all the huge issues at play.

      Do you think creating a culture of fear and uncertainty is a winning combination when your company’s already not profitable and your compliance team has quit? There are ways to do that exact thing, cut the slack, without imploding your main source of revenue. He wanted people to show up with print-outs of their ‘best code,’ FFS. The CEO is bantering with horror novelists about major site changes (which backfired, btw), anyone with the desire for job security is going to leave, whether they do good work or not. It’s just self-preservation at that point.

      Real people shouldn’t be forced to make decisions about their future in less than 24 hours on a vague promise that ‘being hardcore’ will result in bonuses. Reportedly, most people who stayed either HAD to, because of visa status, or they didn’t have the financial stability to make a drastic change like that. I’ve also seen that there are multiple people who took the severance deal who are now suing for that promise to be kept, which doesn’t bode well for those still working there, who could lose their job on Musk’s whim at any point for any reason.

      Bottom line, it’s absurd to imply that this was the right way to do things, because there was a way to get the result of ‘if you’re not a valued worker, you should leave’ without setting the company on fire in the process, lol.

    24. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      You don’t run a successful business by pushing out the entire legal and payroll departments.

      You know who isn’t providing value? The guy who walked in and told everyone, no matter how competent and productive they were, to prove it to him, personally, by sending him the best lines of code they’d written in the last month.

      Was that “prominent tech company” Microsoft in the stack ranking days, when it was assumed not only that 10% of the staff were incompetent, but that ten percent of each department was incompetent?

    25. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

      Well, from what I hear, he’s hiring.
      Why don’t you apply, and see how it all works out for you?

    26. Starfleet HVAC Engineering*

      Question, does Elon’s boots have that substance you can lick to get high like some toads do?

    27. Pyjamas*

      Yeah. I’m probably in the minority here too. In Elon’s shoes, I’d not have wanted to employ a bunch of ppl who were all set hate me from the moment I set foot inside the company. I’d have expected a bunch of “I would prefer not to’s” from the existing staff and preferred to hire new ppl.

      Oh well. We will know in 6-12 months if Elon is just plain crazy or crazy like a fox.

      1. Pyjamas*

        And lol what any of us get from licking elons boots? We’re just nobodies in a comment section ;)

      2. Jennifer Strange*

        In Elon’s shoes, I’d not have wanted to employ a bunch of ppl who were all set hate me from the moment I set foot inside the company.

        So you’d rather be driven by ego? Guess that says a lot about you.

      3. Dinwar*

        “In Elon’s shoes, I’d not have wanted to employ a bunch of ppl who were all set hate me from the moment I set foot inside the company.”

        Then get out of management. If you purchase a company with the intent to make changes OF COURSE people are going to dislike you. That’s normal business. It happens even in good buy-outs and restructurings; I’ve seen enough of them to know it’s just part of the process. To throw a tantrum and fire half the workforce without a coherent plan, or to take actions that will obviously put you in violation of federal requirements, is incompetent. And if you want people to remain loyal and work harder for a while you give them a reason, not “I put rockets into space”!

      4. Bob-White of the Glen*

        But good managers would not be universally hated, and simply buying the company didn’t make people hate him. His behavior is why people hate him, and he can’ fire everyone in the world who (secretly) thinks he’s a toad.

    28. M. from P.*

      I think I read that exact same comment (“slacking off is the norm, etc”) under a youtube video about the Twitter story. Just sayin.

    29. MM*

      Definitely, that’s why so many major advertisers paused their campaigns and every familiar contact they had at the company disappeared. The way to run a successful business is 100% to tank your primary revenue stream and negotiate the price of a new one with Stephen King.

  12. Falling+Diphthong*

    The rocket thing is a recurring motif.

    “We’re in violation of an FTC ruling.”
    “Elon launches rockets into space.”

    “Our company’s ad is next to white nationalist stuff, and we can’t contact anyone to take it down.”
    “Elon launches rockets into space.”

    1. Beth*

      “Elon hired people to burn up vast quantities of non-renewable resources to launch giant phallic symbols into space for no reason and without regard for any consequences.” FTFY

  13. Momma Bear*

    That whole “trust Elon” thing is just so creepy. He didn’t even know what was in the email but he wanted everyone to just follow along. This isn’t high school. I’m sure you have conflicting feelings OP, but remember that ultimately it is just business and you needed to make the decision that was right for you.

        1. Cat Tree*

          Yeah, high schoolers often have more sense than people give them credit for. Of course teens are immature and still need guidance, but nothing even remotely similar to this happened at my high school. I think the caricatures of teens in movies and TV make people forget about their own teen years.

          1. Web Crawler*

            +1 to this

            Mine had some cyberbullying and posturing and people with more confidence than sense. But it was like 0.0001 of this level of madness

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Gotta agree – feels way more Cult than Schoolyard. Cults don’t do well with contrarians, but I have yet to be in a school that doesn’t have a few contrarians in the population.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      I find that the more a person has to say “just trust me” the less you should trust them.

      1. Momma Bear*

        Exactly. It’s like someone who is truly a Master/Good Leader/Nice Person doesn’t have to say it. Their actions show it.

  14. Squidlet*

    This is SO awful. I’ve had some horrible work experiences but nothing that even comes close – for which I am so grateful right now.

    Sending big hugs and lots of love to you and your former colleagues.

  15. Me+...+Just+Me*

    Chaotic and definitely in the public eye. I’m glad you get the 3 months severance. I’ve been through re-orgs (obviously not in the public eye) and they were only slightly less disasterous than this — not sure if this provides any comfort, however. Sorry you’re having to go through this.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      One of the embarrassing early takes (which the tech writer soon admitted was embarrassing) was about how great this was going to be, with one detail that by taking it private Elon would do all the changes out of the public eye.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        A lot of people underestimated how bad this was going to be. I certainly wasn’t sure – it could have been awkward but fine, it could have been unexpectedly successful, or it could have been a private shitshow that the end user had very little line of sight into. I can’t hold anything against the early optimists.

        But in reality this is *almost* the worst case scenario.

    2. Aggretsuko*

      I hope OP actually gets the severance–I’ve seen some questionable things as to whether or not people are actually getting that money….

      1. Cat Tree*

        I would be concerned that Twitter doesn’t even have that much money to pay out even if the promise was made in good faith. Or enough employees in accounting to actually arrange the payments.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Also paying people who are still working there seems to be a “thing.” At least delayed enough that someone suspected someone was manually going through entering “And now pay Bob Jones.” “And now pay Caleb Jones.” “And now Casey Jones.”

          And don’t tell me this is great because Elon launches rockets into space.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Ummm, that’s “Run Away!!!” levels of awful, if they can’t/won’t pay severance and/or payroll in a timely manner. Plus full employment for lawyers.

          2. Siege*

            Somehow, it is still great, because, yanno … Pony Stark launches rockets into space. He just exudes greatness, which is why it is great. It is great that someone who survived his rigorous pruning of Twitter (by verbal grenade) has picked up the greatness needed to manually pay people. This is much more great (because rockets) than if someone was able to pay everyone in a batch. That’s not great, because that person doesn’t launch rockets.

  16. None The Wiser*

    This must be so difficult, but you sound like a very talented person and I’m sure that you and your colleagues will figure out the next steps.

    It was brave to not push the button, and I know you will look back on it as the right decision, even if it all sucks just now.

  17. Brain the Brian*

    Thank you, LW, for sharing this update and for all the work you and your colleagues put in over the years. I have confidence that wherever you land will be eternally lucky to have you.

  18. Fieldpoppy*

    LW, thank you so much for sharing all of this. From the outside, we can see that things are bananas but this level of detail… well, it helps me feel better about what’s happening inside healthcare right now. I’m so sorry this is happening to you and your colleagues — you built something that had a lot of value for a long time.

  19. Falling+Diphthong*

    To re-quote Popehat from 11/11:

    “If your employer’s lawyer ever tells you that you won’t get in trouble for doing what the company is telling you to do, make sure to ask them, preferably in writing, if they represent YOU and are giving you legal advice. They love that.”

    (This was in response to the lawyer telling employees they totes would not go to jail for violating the FTC.)

        1. DJ Abbott*

          I would never, ever trust a lawyer who is working for my employer (or anyone else who is trying to take advantage of me). I would get my own lawyer.

  20. oranges*

    I’m so sorry to the OP for all of this .
    I’ve been following along with drama of the last several weeks, and it’s easy to forget that there are so many real people with real lives being tremendously impacted by all this drama and bullsh*t. Ugh, I hate this for all of you!

  21. Shorty Spice*

    There is a screen cap going around of someone describing working at SpaceX and saying that EM is basically a boy king making constant ridiculous pronouncements/“decisions” and that there is an entire level of management devoted to managing him so that his edicts can be circumvented without him really knowing, and pointing out that there’s no such management level at Twitter. He’s a monster with far, far too much money and power. He bought Twitter to take it down because his feelings were hurt. And the fact that he had that kind of money and access to billions in financing shows how far we’ve fallen as a society. It’s beyond pathetic and immoral.

    1. Shorty Spice*

      Forgot to add: and his quest to destroy Twitter has real life consequences for a lot of people including Twitter employees. Not to mention what losing twitter will mean for independent journalists, activists and others who rely on it (even as imperfect as it is) for their livelihood and organizing.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      A theory on his offer to buy that made sense is that he thought they would turn him down, even if he offered to vastly overpay. Then he would have proof he could cite for how Twitter was a conspiracy by liberals to keep conservatives off the cool site.

      Instead it turns out Twitter was run by capitalists who would take his money, and the content moderation was there for the same reason every other social media site has it–without it the site becomes an open cesspool dotted with white hoods, the normal people leave, the advertisers leave, and no amount of “Hey, don’t go! Wade out here in the cesspool and debate me!” lures them back.

      (Also fitting the facts: The other billionaires offered him a commemorative plaque if he could buy Twitter and completely destroy it inside of three months.)

      1. Properlike*

        This is how we got a certain president. “Never gonna win, I’ll leverage it to elevate my business plans.”


        1. Your+Local+Password+Resetter*

          It’s also how Brexit happened, funnily enough.
          Starting to see a pattern here.

      2. Wilbur*

        I think the theory I heard was that he wanted to tank to stock price, and thought he’d be able to get out of the deal. Kind of like the social media manipulation of stock prices he did with Doge coin and Tesla stock.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      On a society level, I am most concerned that the banks gave him the money, then immediately started trying to offload that debt at steep discounts.

      1. Nicki Name*

        The banks signed contracts to give him the money back when the acquisition process started and tech stocks hadn’t crashed yet. So they had to give him the money even though it had become a much worse bet since then. The best they can do is cut their losses.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          Not exactly. They were a significant investor in Twitter already and rolled that over into NuTwitter instead of cashing out. Which left them as the second largest owner of NuTwitter.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          The Saudi royals (and Qatari royals) may view “Twitter is destroyed and we now own a big chunk of Tesla” as a desired outcome.

    4. Nicki Name*

      Yeah, the scuttlebutt in tech circles for years has been that SpaceX is so successful because its leadership is very good at keeping Musk out of the day-to-day management of the company.

      (Also, Musk didn’t actually found SpaceX, he bought the title “founder” from the people who did.)

      1. kiki*

        Yes, it honestly makes me sad because the leadership at SpaceX seems genuinely quite good and could potentially share a lot of valuable insights and lessons with the public and aspiring business leaders. They don’t, though, because they know doing so would upset Elon and make it clear that he’s not the true king or whatever.

    5. Aggretsuko*

      I loved the penis cake anecdote that screenshot finishes off on :)

      “because his feelings were hurt” is how we also ended up with Trump.

  22. All Het Up About It*

    OP – just reading this made me emotional. I’m so sorry are going through this. I hope you land in a good spot, but I also hope you are able to take some time to dealing with all your emotions. Loosing a job is always hard, but to do so in such a traumatic fashion after a decade, I can’t imagine.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I really, really, feel for the woman who had a panic attack and was just left to cry on the floor while people carried on around her. This is your job and your livelihood, something you’ve worked really hard to create and maintain. It must be such a gut punch.

    2. Fernie*

      The sentence that got to me the most was, “The next day, no one knew who was left”.

      OP, you haven’t been through a corporate restructure, you’ve been through a bomb going off.

      Thank you for the strong and beautiful platform that you and your colleagues built. You can be proud of the work you did, and I know that each of you will bring something new and beautiful into the world in the future. Be kind to yourself now.

      1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

        Co-signing this whole thread, if you ever see it. Thank you, I had a great time on Twitter, and I’m sorry for youse all going through this traumatic nonsense.

  23. Double A*

    So, I have a Tesla battery backup on my home. It helps us use more of our solar energy and cope with fairly frequent power outages. It’s a good an useful product. Elon is also supposedly CEO of Tesla, and these shenanigans make me worried about owning a Tesla product. First off, how could he be paying attention to any of the other companies he’s CEO of (which frankly sounds like it’s not a bad thing if this is how he CEOs). Second off, is he going to just blow up a company whose product I bought intending it to last many years? It seems like buying his other products is a bad bet at this point.

    I’m sorry for anyone who is dealing with this chaos gremlin. His ego has truly become monstrous. How pathetic to be someone who doesn’t allow anyone to say no to or question him (free speech much?)

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      He’s a figurehead at Tesla, he does very little and boasts it in his portfolio. Other people are doing the work. Honestly I think you should be reassured that he’s not paying attention to Tesla, he won’t be meddling with it.

      1. mikoko*

        At least your battery works! We put down a deposit on their solar roof tiles. Two years later when they were finally ready they told us that they can’t install them in our location. It took another year, and the involvement of state regulators to get out money back.

        1. Stephen!*

          I don’t want to derail, would you be willing to talk more about the solar roof tiles in the weekend open thread?

    2. turquoisecow*

      Husband owns a Tesla car and he’s happy with it. Has considered changing it for something else but the network of super chargers that Tesla has has not been matched by other companies. (Maybe when they are forced to be compatible with other cars, which is apparently happening in Europe.)

      We tried to get solar installed from them on our house and got a bunch of BS from various installers making excuses and eventually outright lying to us about the electrical code – they told us they couldn’t put a power wall on one wall because it was near windows, but we saw other houses installed with it in a similar spot. They sent an incompetent group of contractors to dig a ditch in the wrong place and then they filled it back in terribly. I’m personally not impressed with Tesla anymore.

      1. Double A*

        To be fair, our process was started sometime in 2019 and completed in April 2020, so we got in before pandemic supply chain disruptions and Elon going totally off the rails.

    3. lost academic*

      Read the expose on safety (the lack thereof) at Tesla published years ago. That’s when I realized I was never buying anything he touched.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, I pity anyone who has a Tesla now. They’ve had 19 recalls this year. Also, a friend of a friend got hit while in his and got told it’d take several months and the car would have to be shipped 2 states away to be repaired.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, this. Sure, Tesla’s a pioneer in EV, but the big auto manufacturers in Europe and Asia are catching up and no doubt surpassing them, maybe in the US as well. The EU is going to ban the sale of new combustion engine cars and vans by 2035.

          But I don’t think our first EV’s going to be a Tesla…

  24. Cendol*

    Jeepers creepers, the chaos…I’m really sorry you had to go through all that, OP, and can’t imagine what it must feel like to see decades of hard work dismantled. Thanks for updating us and keeping such a detailed timeline.

  25. CeeBee*

    elon musk is just rich – he DID NOT invent tesla – he just took over. He’s NOT as smart as he thinks – he’s just a little man standing on his wallet.

    1. Hen in A Windstorm*

      He is really brilliant. He has great ideas. That’s where it ends. He’s been successful because of *other people* making his ideas happen, but he doesn’t see that. So now he’s a billionaire with an inflated ego. And apparently no idea how to treat other people as humans.

          1. ArtK*

            You made the claim, you get to back it up. “Google is your friend” is lazy. BTW, I haven’t seen *anything* on the ‘net that makes me think he’s brilliant.

          2. Irish Teacher*

            It’s not really possible to google great ideas because what is great is very much a matter of opinion. We could google his ideas and what he has achieved, but…you couldn’t really sustain a conversation there because if we think an idea is really useless, we have no idea whether or not that is one of those being viewed as great, so it still doesn’t allow us to discuss the topic.

            It would just be: “He has great ideas.” “Like what?” “Google.” “OK, I disagree with you. I think x and y ideas were useless.” “They weren’t the ones I was talking about.”

            You need to know which ideas a person was talking about before you can google to see if the results back up their claims that they were great.

          3. Curmudgeon in California*

            Google is your friend.

            No. Your claim, your responsibility to substantiate. Using “Google is your friend” tells me that you have nothing, and your argument doesn’t hold water.

          4. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

            I googled! I found an article that listed his five best ideas:

            People should colonise Mars
            We could route cars through tunnels
            Climate change is bad
            Everyone in the world should have internet access
            What if you could control machinery with your brain

            Speaking as someone who read a lot of science fiction in the 70s and 80s, I don’t think he was the first person to come up with any of those…

            1. DJ Abbott*

              Ditto. I read lots of science fiction in the 70s and 80s. (some of it was from the 50s and 60s). The idea of colonizing Mars especially has been around a long time.
              For those who haven’t seen or heard of it, the movie Total Recall takes place mostly on Mars. It’s not a great place, there are ongoing political debates about whether they should charge for air. Sigh.

      1. Dinwar*

        “He is really brilliant. He has great ideas. That’s where it ends.”

        I quite strongly disagree. His ideas are more akin to a college dorm bull session. The difference is that he’s totally unconstrained by finances. He can literally lose tens of billions of dollars and not care. So the risks he’s willing to run are much higher. Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they end up being fairly mundane, and sometimes they fail. Those unlimited funds shield Musk from the consequences of failure, and thus allow for him to take on high-risk, high-reward projects. If you were to give any other person those same finds, their track record would be on par. But because we remember the hits and not the misses, folks have tended to think he’s brilliant.

      2. T*

        If you think he’s had a single great or revolutionary idea in his life, you’ve been snowed by his ego.

        He’s a rich man who likes to buy credit for other people’s radical ideas. The actual people who had the ideas cashed out on him.

  26. Lilo*

    Very mild spoilers for Glass Onion. Rian Johnson clearly had him pinged in the character he based on him in Glass Onion. Given he wrote/filmed it pre Twitter meltdown that movie has turned out to be prescient.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Zuck laid off 10k+ people and yet everything happening at Twitter with thousands is so much worse.

        1. Cat Tree*

          I don’t think anyone from Facebook (er “meta”) wrote in, so I don’t think he could be nominated on this site anyway.

  27. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

    I’m so sorry, OP. This is just all… the WORST.
    I keep thinking about everything that you’ve described and about that dude just ignoring the woman on the floor having a panic attack and crying and… I have no words. I’m so sorry.

  28. Soupfordiner*

    I am in tears reading this. You describe the switch from an nice work place to a toxic one really well. For one, seeing what it does to the other employees around you must be particularly sad and hard.

    Anyway, good luck to you.

    1. Sloanicota*

      It is literally an existential threat to us all in a way, since jobs are not easily found, nor is the switch from one workplace to another an easy process. Add in healthcare and it’s a real mess, but all salary workers are One Bad Boss away from this chaos.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I’m looking at a reality where our CEO is going to retire soon and the presumed successor is suddenly not an option. Whatever happens won’t be this bad, but the “existential threat” point definitely hits home for me.

        1. Siege*

          Yeeep. My boss is elected, and she’s announced that our next convention will be her last stand for the presidency of our organization. I’ve been planning to leave around the time that my pension vests anyway – the job is underpaid (though not badly compared to non-profits!) and my partner is actively working to go back to school which will mean he drops to halftime at his job. I *think* I know who the next president will be, and I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I want to work for him. He’s a nice guy! But after working with my boss for five years now, it probably makes more sense to start looking for something else partly because of the money and partly because I don’t think I want to work with him on that level. And if the election ends up contested, there are a couple people who might run who would be awful. The “existential threat” point resonates for me too.

    2. Fishsticks*

      Yep. I went through a situation where a really good marketing/tech-adjacent company devolved into serious toxicity, didn’t recognize it for what it was, and ended up sticking around too long and being laid off for “bad culture fit” when the culture had radically changed around me (collaborative open workplace with lots of different ideas and personalities becoming closed-off, rigidly-structured, and comprised almost entirely of graduates of a specific fundamentalist Christian college).

      1. Fishsticks*

        And all of this WITHOUT leadership changes. The same President and VP, the same director of marketing. But the culture changed as they just kept hiring specific kinds of people and the other kinds were frozen out, treated terribly, or saw the writing on the wall. My fault for not seeing it sooner, honestly.

  29. Sloanicota*

    I’m so sorry OP. I was reflecting this morning that, as a lifelong nonprofit worker, I wish we had been able to pull together some kind of nonprofit option for Twitter, like AO3 did or Wikipedia, because it does have value as a way to connect people but is never going to be profitable enough to satisfy our capitalist overlords, without doing evil. Lots of people would have donated to that GoFundMe! I wish we lived in a different culture where there was more appetite for shared systems. I don’t think we could have ever started free public schools, libraries, a postal system, or social security/medicare under our current cultural framework, and it sucks.

    1. tooter*

      You’ve probably already seen this everywhere if you’re asking this – but have you checked out Mastodon? It’s not the same as twitter but it fills the same niche, and the software is developed by/as a non profit.

  30. ICodeForFood*

    OP, I, too, am so, SO sorry you and all your (former) coworkers are going through this. It just sucks.
    It’ll take some time, but you and your (former) coworkers will land on your feet. Wherever you wind up working will be lucky to have you, and you all will be lucky to be out of the now-dysfunctional post-Elon-Musk iteration of Twitter.

  31. Jennifer Strange*

    I mean, this is a letter from someone ON THE INSIDE explaining how bad it is. But you somehow know it’s overblown because you also once worked at a tech company? Yeah, that tracks.

  32. Lily of the Valley*

    Ok, a nightly stand up (as opposed to a daily stand up) does blow, but the people who are still working there need to keep doing their job so that they can keep having a job.

      1. Lily of the Valley*

        I responded earlier, and I guess it got eaten.

        If the program manager who had a stand up had canceled it, she would not have been doing her job. I don’t know what OP was expecting her to do.

        1. The OP (a Tweep)*

          I think it would have been shown a better understanding of the situation currently unfolding if she had postponed it until the next day. The meeting was held in the middle of an 8-ish hour period where people were learning they had lost their jobs by getting locked out of their computers and signed out of Slack. Some people joined the meeting and were then automatically kicked off of the Google hangout when they lost access/lost their jobs. This was not a meeting that needed to happen at that exact moment – at most, it could have been async.

          There is of course the need to continue doing your job – the day after the first round of 50% cuts, we all took some time to process the change but then people did jump back in to keep the platform running.

          But the Twitter I used to work at was a company that understood empathy and ensuring people were doing ok before pushing forward with work – if you don’t take this step, whatever you’re working on is also going to suffer.

    1. Observer*

      The fact that this is a NIGHTLY standup rather than a DAILY one says that the problem is not people not doing their jobs. The problem is that the expectations are ludicrous. There is no world in which people should be working those kinds hours. Not just for human decency, which apparently is not something you seem to think matters, but of operational effectiveness. But because outside of a very narrow set of jobs, none of which apply here, those hours lead to reduced effectiveness – more mistakes, less ability to focus, less effective thinking process.

      1. Ellie*

        Hate to say it, but those hours are industry standard just before a release is due. They are not sustainable, obviously, but during the final month before a trial, we have daily and nightly stand-ups to report progress. Most people come to one, not both though. We work in shifts to make the best use of the equipment.

        It sucks, but slipping a milestone can result in millions of dollars worth of penalties. In a decent company, some of that bonus should flow down to the workers. And its for crunch times, no more than a couple of times a year, at most.

        In this case, the manager was probably just plowing on without considering the greater context. Its not great, but maybe they didn’t know what else to do.

    2. Mississippi*

      Are you referring to the program manager? Yeah, she kind of had to go forward with both the meeting and the project. Not sure what options OP thought she had.

  33. Abogado Avocado*

    LW, your information adds to the sense I’ve gotten from the media coverage that Elon Musk is tearing apart a decent company by tearing down a damn good work force. I am sure it doesn’t feel this way, but congratulations on not pushing the button and on deciding to get out of there. Again, it may not feel this way now, but you will have opportunities to put your skills to work for another — and better — employer who will appreciate your values. Elon Musk clearly does not deserve you, nor anyone in the pre-Musk Twitter workforce. May you live long and prosper and may he get his comeuppance.

  34. Meep*

    It amazes me people think he is purposefully trying to destroy Twitter now rather than admit he is not a good businessman.

    May everyone at Twitter (except him) have a good Holiday and persevere.

    1. Hen in A Windstorm*

      It can be both! My personal opinion is that he does have some kind of plan and that this is the way he wants things, we just don’t know the plan. He’s not crazy, he is smart and rich, and he is hella self-centered. Destroying Twitter because he can is definitely a possibility.

      I’m pretty sure all the Trump haters could imagine him petulantly destroying something because he’s offended, but they don’t put Musk in the same box for some reason.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        He’s rich, but is he that smart? Money is a great cushion for poor decision making.

        Definitely a jerk, though.

      2. Caramel & Cheddar*

        Twitter is a really important place for social justice activism; a guy who okays bringing back people like the folks who run literal Nazi websites is absolutely someone who would buy the site to tank an important place for organizing against folks like him.

      3. Curmudgeon in California*

        From what I’ve seen he’s just rich. His past actions have proven him kinda dumb from a managing perspective. The last thing a good CEO does is expose his firm to * lawsuits based on racism and/or sexism

        * Cites

      4. T*

        He certainly wants you to think that he’s smart, sure.

        And no, I don’t see Trump successfully destroying something out of petulence, either. What you’re describing is far out of his ability to plan or execute.

        It sounds like you’ve fallen for the myth both of these men believe, the idea that they’re somehow exceptional besides having money. They are not. They’re dangerous largely because of how unexceptional they are; most of their danger – and a lot of the ‘cleverness’ they like to take credit for (and that you are apparently willing to believe) – comes from people around them who are using them as a resource. There are a lot of very smart people who know how to use a very stupid rich man.

    2. ScruffyInternHerder*

      I mean, I think he’s both a horrid businessman AND that he might be trying to actively destroy Twitter because he’s just that much of an egotistical jerk.

      1. Nea*

        I don’t think he’s actively trying to destroy Twitter so much as actively make it into Better Parlor and then discover that it’s not sustainable. Then when he’s turned it into an unredeemable mess and has a bazillion lawsuits filed against him, he’ll try to just walk away.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          That email reeked of “After being awake for 48 hours in a bunker taking ‘B vitamins’ we all realized that asking everyone to declare their loyalty to the hardcore would be the thing that would write the code!!! l33t!!” and then being astonished that outside the bunker it didn’t land the way it sounded inside the bunker.

  35. Willow Sunstar*

    All I can say is I’m glad I don’t work there. I’m not sure I would have pushed the button. I’ve got medical conditions that are worse with stress and for sure can’t work late at night because of them. Yeah, paychecks are needed but it is possible to get them from somewhere else.

    1. EPlawyer*

      I feel for the people who were trapped in to staying for various reasons.

      I feel for the people like OP who could go but had to abandon all their hard work. I am sure they are mourning the loss.

      1. Burger+Bob*

        I read a news article about the meltdown and it mentioned that most of the people staying were people who “still believed in Twitter’s mission of giving people a voice or had visas tied to their jobs or other personal reasons.” It made me so horrified to think of people whose visas depend on this company.

    2. Cat Tree*

      I would be tempted to push the button and then just not work any harder, while searching very hard for a new job. But i guess the risk is then getting fired for performance before finding something else and getting no severance at all. Not sure what I would actually do.

    3. DJ Abbott*

      It reminded me of the LW a few years ago who was routinely working till 3 AM at a consulting company. Sounds like that’s what Musk is going for.

  36. Essentially Cheesy*

    It’s very possible, if not very likely that you are at least partly correct – but still, there has to be maybe about a million better ways to go about managing such a dramatic re-org, right?

    I’m just very glad to not be working at an extra-large prominent company.

  37. bamcheeks*

    One of the really weird things about Musk is that he seems to have– not noticed??– that Twitter operates globally– it’s not like he’s taken over, I dunno, Target or something. Everything he’s posted about “freedom of speech” seems to take American legal standards and discourse for granted, and then all of the stuff about not realising that you can’t just fire people who work for you in the EU. It’s wild!

    1. Momma Bear*

      Don’t folks in the EU have specific contracts for their jobs and unlike most of us in the US can’t just be fired at-will?

        1. Observer*

          And he’s already lost one.

          When you are forced to take back a high level executive . . . THAT is not good for operations.

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      It also shows a massive misunderstanding of the US Constitution. I can set up a code of conduct for my own platform, because it is private. The reason the US President can’t block people on Twitter is because they are acting as an agent of government.

      1. bamcheeks*

        that’s kind of what I mean about “discourse”– it’s not even that he’s right (AFAIK) about American legislation, but he’s got an typically American understanding of it. Whereas there are places all around the world where Twitter operates and there isn’t even the expectation or guarantee of free speech, or (as in Germany) where the limits of free speech are very formally and famously contrainted.

        1. 1LFTW*

          Yeah, I agree. Someone with a “typical American understanding” of the first amendment is someone who misunderstands the first amendment. Not only do they tend to misapply it to private platforms, but they often seem to believe their right to speak is infringed when others refuse to listen to their BS.

  38. Zombeyonce*

    The only (very small) silver lining in all of this for former Twitter employees is that they’ll never have to explain why they’re looking for a new job in future interviews. All they have to do is say “I worked at Twitter when Elon Musk took over” and everyone in the interview will nod in complete understanding.

    1. Dan F*

      Add me to the list of people who think that you absolutely must rename the contest this year (and maybe forever) to “Second Worst Boss of the Year” contest.

  39. Foila*

    LW, I’m sorry for all the chaos you’ve been through.

    As hard as things feel, I really believe that not “clicking the button” was the right decision. I mean, those choices were basically “Cake or Death”.

      1. Foila*

        Ha, I was thinking that in contrast to being “hardcore”, three months of severance and not working at Musk’s Twitter sounds like cake. (But they might still be out of it, it’s not obvious that they have the cash to pay that severance.)

        1. bamcheeks*

          The awful stories were the ones from people on H1B visas who couldn’t take the risk.

          And then were fired a day or two later anyway without severance.

          1. Burger Bob*

            My stomach sank so hard when I read about people staying because they had visas tied to their employment there. I can’t imagine the stress.

  40. PassThePeasPlease*

    This was so interesting to read after following along with what was happening in the press and I’m so sorry you had to go through that OP. Sounds like you and your colleagues made the best of a terrible situation.

  41. Ahhh*

    OP I’m so sorry for all you are going through. Things sound very stressful over there and it sounds like you got the better end of the deal.

    On a personal note I’ve always enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes aspect. Op thank you for sharing your personal story

  42. PPaula*

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

    I have a question about the “push/don’t push the button” consequences. What happened to the people who didn’t push the button? Were you fired? With rights to severence and unemployment benefits? Or is it legally considered a resignation?
    The legality seams so… fishy.

        1. The OP (a Tweep)*

          Yep, this is accurate. Also, that letter from Akiva Cohen is amazing – I want to print it out and frame it :)

  43. DEJ*

    “On some level I know I couldn’t have pushed the button, but I feel so sad nonetheless. I still have close friends there, and I miss my team and the work we got to engage in so much. It still hits me at weird moments that I don’t work there anymore.”

    I was laid off from a job with a pretty public element and I absolutely feel all of this. Although there are days I miss that type of work so much, I also know that I can’t go back. I’m sorry OP. I know it’s hard. Even when you logically know getting out is for the best.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      Yeah, unfortunately the good job that OP had is literally very gone now and they will be grateful they are avoiding this drama.

  44. animaniactoo*

    I am so sorry. I hope you land on your feet and manage to find a place where you are inspired and excited about the work you’re doing.

  45. Purple Cat*

    It’s so sad how devastating this is to the *actual* employees, and lord knows Elon will come out unscathed at the end. I’m in the market for a new car and even though I drive hybrids, spouse looked at me and said “you won’t even consider a Tesla” and I said “nope! not with Elon at the helm”.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      I would not trust a Tesla. I feel sorry for everyone who bought one. A friend of a friend got hit while driving his and they said it would take MONTHS to repair and has to be shipped two states away (note: the guy lives in California). It’s their lone car.

      1. It's now embarrassing to own a Tesla*

        Well, I wouldn’t buy one again because they’ve become Elon-symbols, but my husband bought a Model 3 a few years ago and honestly, it’s been great. No problems with it, and while I don’t love the screen-only user interface, the car is a really interesting piece of technology that has some neat features. He enjoyed it a lot until it became so clear that Elon is a huge jerk and, as a billionaire, a huge problem for society. That’s sucked the fun out of what was for my husband the nicest car he’d ever bought himself.

        This is by no means the biggest problem of the whole Elon crapshow, but I’m a bit sad that my husband’s much-loved treat has been irrevocably tainted. We won’t buy another one.

  46. Havin Monahan*

    I’m not an Elon Musk fan, and I don’t understand how investors could think Tesla is not only the most valuable car company, but more valuable than the next five car companies combined. He also seems like a world class asshole. However, some of the commenters here are going way over the top regarding Musk’s alleged lack of business ability. Tesla’s might be overpriced with poor build quality, but to Musk’s credit he built the company up, overcame production hurdles, and popularized a distinctive design. Same with SpaceX…NASA’s rocket abilities have been stagnant for decades, and SpaceX (and others) have managed to be innovative in this space.

    Will Musk’s run out eventually? Maybe. But he certainly isn’t incompetent and the people saying so are pretty off base, especially since ten years ago liberals were showering quite a bit of praise on Elon

    1. Pool Lounger*

      What does “ten years ago…” have to do with it? A decade ago more people liked this guy’s shtick. Now they know better and don’t like it. That’s not proof he’s great at business. We have a lot more evidence now.

    2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      Acting in ways that results in your compliance chief quitting is incompetent. Saying that the FTC doesn’t matter to you when you head a telecommunications company and have a consent decree with the FTC is incompetent. Taking a thing that depends on accuracy (verified status) and selling it without regard to accuracy so that you can make $8 for the first 5 weeks and then nothing thereafter once people realize it’s worthless and losing millions of dollars of advertising in the process is incompetent. Requiring a pledge to be “hardcore” in the expectation that people will come kiss your ring instead of flee a sinking ship is incompetent. Competent people listen to their expert advisers. And that’s before we get to the general assholery.

      People are allowed to change their minds based on new or additional information.

    3. Double A*

      I think Elon pretty competently built up Tesla and SpaceX. There were some real asshole moves he made to do it, but it was in the realm of your standard American asshole capitalist moves. His previous success, however, has made him think he can be king of the universe and do anything and he’s the smartest man in the room in any room in the universe. Somewhere along the way, he completely lost any sense of humility, limits, trade-offs, or reality. Or maybe he was just in industries where those qualities were assets. And now that he’s trying to take over a completely different type of product what were once assets have become glaring deficiencies, but now he’s too rich and high on his own farts for anything to stop him.

      1. Temp Anon*

        My dad worked in media all his life, and pointed out that media is different from other industries where you can pull those kinds of jerk moves and still come out ahead. In the media industry, your reputation is tied directly to your value

    4. Observer*

      In the case of SPaceX, one of the reasons it’s so successful is that he doesn’t do much day to day management. As for Tesla, you are *mostly* right. However, some of his moves have harmed the company.

      And the thing is that those bad moves were clear harbingers of the problems with his current rule of chaos. Both his unhinged and uncontrolled public ranting and his failure to understand that “more hours” does not necessarily mean “better output” and sometimes it’s even the opposite are the same across the board. Same for his incredible arrogance and belief that he can say and do what he wants with little or no repercussions. Add to that the fact that while he does seem to have some understanding of how actual physical engineering works, he doesn’t seem to have the faintest clue about how software engineering works, nor how social networks and advertising work.

      1. Havin Monahan*

        I would add that Tesla’s reputation was massively, massively helped by having a “cool” “Techno-King” CEO, and that was a big driver of making status conscious people want to buy them. I have to think that quite a few folks who might have wanted a Tesla are the same kind of people who are annoyed at his latest antics, and the folks who now like Musk more are more likely to be suspicious of electric cars or more likely to buy an electric pickup like the Ford Lightning.

    5. e271828*

      Did he do it or did he allow competent managers to do it? Because his credentials for actually, personally accomplishing anything professionally are kinda hazy.

      1. lost academic*

        Bingo. This is a guy that was born on 3rd base. Nothing he does or has done is impressive to me. The ends do not justify the means.

    1. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      Love it! Was just watching season 15 the other day, and Newsome was getting himself into trouble and needed to be bailed out by Murdoch and the crew.

  47. Properlike*

    OP, I’m so sorry. This has definitely been a trauma for you and the other Twitter workers who’ve had to deal with this. Real lives and jobs are being treated as toys, after years of being valued for the skills that they are.

    It’s reasonable and rational to second-guess yourself. Remember all the Friday success stories where the LW says, “I wish I’d gotten out sooner?” You’re going to land somewhere and feel that way, once your feet are back under you. I say that as someone who’s worked abusive jobs and stayed too long, and someone who recently realized that workplace abuse is not worth it.

    I worried that I’d be judged for quitting that first job with Semi-famous Person, failing to realize 1) I’d get tons of meetings with people who wanted to know what it was Really Like, and 2) Most of them were impressed that “I’d stayed that long with her” (1 1/2 years), and 3) It made them want to help get me into a better situation. I will keep good thoughts for you and your colleagues!

  48. Just Your Everyday Crone*

    LW, I’m sorry you had to live through that. FWIW, I think you 100% did the right thing by leaving and taking the severance. Please update us again when you get a fabulous new job!

  49. UShoe*

    I’m so sorry to hear all this OP, it sounds incredibly sad, frustrating and anxiety-inducing in equal measure. All I can say is that I’m glad you got the opportunity to not press the button and get severance, rather than parting with nothing like you were contemplating when you first wrote in. Wishing you all the best for what’s next.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      He got rid of all but one member of a team dedicated to stopping child sexual abuse content for that Asia Pacific region.

  50. Rain's Small Hands*

    I wish you all the best. Having done the very stressful work environment – one time it put my in the hospital from stress – it isn’t worth it. You will land on your feet and look back at the Twitter you left – before Musk – with fondness for the people and teams….keep in mind that you can always stay in contact with those you really care about, and that the world you inhabit is both very large and very small – shortly you’ll all be reaching out to each other with “we have a great spot open on the team I ended up with that you’d be perfect for.”

  51. Slinky*

    This was a wild ride. I’ve been following the news so I have some sense of what’s going on at Twitter, but reading a first-person account really brought it home. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, OP. Really hoping you get an amazing new job soon!

  52. Yes And*

    Of all of the many layers of awful here, I don’t know why this one is sticking in my craw so much, but: Elon has “launched rockets into space” in the same way that I have “renovated my kitchen.” We made some top-level decisions about the end result we wanted, and then hired qualified professionals to do the actual work.

    1. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      Exactly! I think the idea is to show that Elon has such “vision,” but in reality, it is so much more nuanced than that.

  53. Zorak*

    Someone put it so well when they said (basically) that Musk’s cadre of yes-men has allowed him to convince himself that most people love him and there’s a small faction of haters out there, whereas the inverse is true.

  54. Lifeandlimb*

    What a f*ing mess. OP, I am so sorry you and your coworkers have found yourself in this position, especially those who feel they must cling to this rollercoaster for healthcare reasons. In a few years, I hope you will look back on this and feel relieved that you dodged a bullet.

  55. Pippa K*

    Elon’s personal lawyer coming into the office and giving advice to people who (a) are not his clients about (b) the meaning and effects of an email he hasn’t read is just…I cannot even… for some reason this is the thing that most baffles me.

    Although I guess it’s consistent with the incompetent-PR-clown style of lawyering apparently preferred by other prominent men in public life….

    1. Observer*

      for some reason this is the thing that most baffles me.

      Yeah. That’s just very, very weird. And quite cult like.

      It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens if the lawyer ever winds up needing to defend himself in court… That just might be the moment he snaps out of it.

      1. merida*

        As I was reading that part of the letter, I was so hoping that it was going to end with the lawyer snapping out of it as he read Elon’s email for the first time. Sigh. I have no words.

    2. Fishsticks*

      Hey, billable hours are billable hours. But it IS so weird that a personal lawyer was just… fine with doing this?

    3. Dinwar*

      That’s the part that made it all make sense to me, actually. This isn’t about business, it’s about a Cult of Personality. This can (probably should) be coupled with statements by people close to Musk that they aren’t afraid of government agencies. The idea is that you need to be loyal to Elon Musk–personally, individually–regardless of what’s happening. It doesn’t matter what’s in the email; what matters is that Musk is the one who sent it. Ergo, by definition it’s good.

      This is a fairly common way of governing in human history. The concept of fealty in the Middle Ages was like this–you swore allegiance to this person, and as long as they held up their end of the bargain (and “as long as” is doing a LOT of work here) you had to follow them.

      To be clear, this isn’t necessarily bad. Every organization needs someone who can see beyond the day-to-day grind and make decisions based on large-scale trends and strategic objectives that those in the trenches can’t see. The issue is that Musk hasn’t provided any such trends or objectives. The “He puts rockets into space” line is an attempt to do this–an attempt to paint him as a visionary that folks need to keep faith with and trust–but it’s not sufficient. Putting stuff into space isn’t that hard (doing it effectively, reliably, and consistently is), and Musk wasn’t doing the milling or the drafting or the fueling in that enterprise. Further, the scattered and chaotic nature of these actions indicates that Musk is doing things on whim, without any over-arching goal at all (or with the over-arching goal of creating as much destruction as possible).

    4. Curmudgeon in California*

      He probably got his law degree from a crackerjack box. Seriously, I don’t know a single competent lawyer who would push BS like that.

  56. e271828*

    The whole debacle demonstrates (yet again) that the best employees are usually the ones a company loses first when it goes into shirtshow mode, the ones that follow them fastest are the good ones, and the ones that stay are the ones with no or poor options.

    With every single glowy-haloed tech company ever, I have watched people sign on for the company line, work tirelessly and/or obsessively for them, and go through identical arcs of wounded, shocked betrayal when the company’s interests are no longer served by keeping them (for whatever reason: disability, internal empire-building, need to cut all staff by 10% to boost stock price, new owner is a narcissist, whatever).

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      From 25+ years experience in IT – this! It’s the talent you lose when the place goes to hell. Not just because they tend to just leave but because they tend to be the most outspoken – and then first on the firing line.

      Then comes anyone else with an opinion or useful skills. Then onward to anyone who stands out in any way.

      Eventually you’re left with a bunch of ‘yes men’ who can’t or won’t actually keep the place running.

      I’ve worked for 3 different tech firms that have collapsed in similar ways over the years. It can leave a lot of scars.

    2. Curmudgeon in California*

      Yep. Been there, got the axe because I wasn’t a 20-something RCG willing to work long hours for show. Even though I “bled purple” it wasn’t enough.

  57. Chilipepper Attitude*

    I feel like I am watching some sort of capitalistic apocalypse ground zero where “push the button” is going to enter our lexicon as some kind of horrific “lose everything” meaning.

    1. nona*

      Pretty sure you’d just be resurrecting the meaning, as I’m guessing it’s had the same connotation in nuclear missiles launches time. (which…is still now, I guess).

  58. EMP*

    Echoing everyone saying I’m so sorry you went through this, and thanks for the update OP. Twitter was a platform where I found a great community but many of us have moved to new places over the last month. I’m sad to be losing my part of that even.

    1. Llama Identity Thief*

      Wait, *Akiva and Kathryn* are coming in for a smackdown? My biggest use case of Twitter was always the Threadnaught so this is just perfect.

  59. Happy*

    I’ve been wondering about you, OP. When the button happened, I thought, well, at least OP will get severance!

    Best wishes to you going forward. Thanks for the update.

  60. Lily Potter*

    OP, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve gone through a couple of badly handled re-orgs, but nothing like this. I hope you’re able to land somewhere else soon.

    I would also hope that everyone who has cluck-clucked here about the awfulness of Twitter Elon Musk/Twitter has also canceled their account. I’ve read that Twitter has already lost advertising revenue; it deserves to lose subscribers too.

    1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      The counter-argument is, if someone else might want your username, or might want to pretend to be you, keep your account but stop tweeting. An account with a pinned tweet saying “CROATOAN” or “so long, and thanks for all the fish” and no recent posts isn’t gong to sell ads.

  61. Pillow*

    This is absolutely bananas. Yet I know it’s true, because my friend at Twitter has said similar.

    Except the last bit from Alex onwards, because we live in a country with workers’ rights. I am horrified that he was able to do a ton of the stuff he has in USA, and he actually attempted to do it here too, which is incredibly illegal. I was already annoyed at Elon’s tweets about Twitter in the past, when he seemed to think USA was the only country. It’s horrifying that he actually tried to run a global business like that too. My friend says he is waiting to be illegally fired, or he will quit. He’s lucky – quite senior and rich and with a great CV, so he’ll be all right.

  62. yala*

    However bad I think the situation at Twitter is, everything new I hear makes it clear it’s even worse. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that Wonderlandian nonsense, and I hope you end up somewhere that appreciates you and treats its employees properly soon.

    He fired someone DURING the party?

  63. Glomarization, Esq.*

    I’m a voice in the wilderness, but I think the original letter and especially this update include way too much information that could identify the letter writer to their colleagues, prospective employers, and Twitter’s legal team. The letter writer almost certainly signed an NDA upon hiring and signed (or click-signed) an NDA on departing. He could lose a lot of rights — and money — over these posts.

    And before the “NDAs and non-competes aren’t enforceable” comments: even an unenforceable NDA or NCA is problematic if you’re sued for a claimed violation. It doesn’t just magically go away because it’s unenforceable. Showing its unenforceability to a court is something you have to pay for.

    The letter writer needs to see a lawyer and a financial planner immediately. I’d strongly, strongly encourage them not to discuss the circumstances around their leaving Twitter on the internet like this.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I’m definitely not a lawyer but I actually don’t think OP needs to worry because I bet this very same story could come from thousands of others.

    2. Kevin Sours*

      That’s very speculative. It’s not particularly likely that they’ve signed an NDA that would cover basic events at the company. I’ve never even seen such at thing. Given the status of Non Compete agreements under California law, it’s almost certain that Twitter as a company headquartered there doesn’t bother with them. Again, I’ve never seen one working in tech for a while now.

    3. The OP (a Tweep)*

      I have not signed an NDA. I was also (I hope) very careful to only describe things that took place publicly at Twitter (ex: there were hundreds of people who heard the same comment), and not share any internal company info. I hope this keeps me protected because I definitely do not want to put myself or any of my colleagues at greater risk for harassment due to anything I’ve said (also – how do you know I’m a man?)

      I thought a lot about writing in before I made the decision to do it because it’s definitely scary to share like this. But I ultimately decided that I wanted to share what was happening because it’s my small way of exposing the absolute sh*t show that is taking place there.

      1. Kevin Sours*

        If you haven’t touched basis with an attorney there are a bunch lining up to talk to people like you. Akiva is the one I know but as alluded to in his letter he’s not the only one.

  64. Bobbo*

    Oh man, this brings back dark memories of when I was laid off a few years ago. Having to email people to ask… “are you still here?” We didn’t even get severance at the time.

    Still, I got through it Op, and I’m sure you will too. Ex-twitter programmers must be in high demand.

  65. Just stoppin' by to chat*

    Thank you so much LW for sharing your journey with us. I’ve worked in tech my entire career (17 years now), and I can’t imagine this scenario. Surreal indeed. I hope you got all of your severance, and that you find a much less dysfunctional workplace to land when you’re ready. So sorry a platform you worked so hard on has been handled this way. This is not how things are supposed to work :(

  66. learnedthehardway*

    I’d like to say that someday, this is going to be an MBA case study in how to destroy the value of a company, but honestly, I don’t think it would even succeed at that, because what would the MBA students even learn?!? I mean, duh – don’t waltz in and fire 3/4 of the staff and expect to run a viable business. That’s a blatantly obviously bad approach to M&A. No business student needs to be taught this – they presumably had a wee bit of common sense before they get selected for grad school.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I have an MBA in change management and he’s checking off a LOT of the “how to tank your acquisition” boxes.

    2. Avril Ludgateaux*

      I’d like to say that someday, this is going to be an MBA case study in how to destroy the value of a company,

      I did not see your comment and posted the exact same sentiment, but I would say there is a lot to learn from this in the “what not to do” department.

      – Do not make public statements that force you into acquisitions you don’t want, as a failed attempt to manipulate a stock price for a pump-n-dump.

      – Do not make ego-driven decisions.

      – Do not fire half your workforce indiscriminately to “cut costs.”

      – In any public-facing field, never fire your communications department.

      – If your business is a social media network, public forum, online video game, or any digital enterprise that is sufficiently built on being an online community, never fire your content moderation team.

      And so on… There really is a lot to learn that can be broken down and re-contextualized for different scale, too.

    3. Irish Teacher*

      I’m teaching Digital Media Literacy to young teens (13/14 year olds) and I’ve just been “please stop creating more resources. I need to move on to another topic and every time I try to start, you do something else that demonstrates…well, let’s just say one of the learning objectives is ‘research the ownership of major websites and its impact on access and choice’ and others are ‘critique the role of digital technologies, communication tools, and the internet in a democratic society’ and ‘outline the opportunities and risks of young people’s use of social media sites’.”

      This is just…giving me so many examples of how things can go wrong.

      So…whatever about an MBA case study, it’s already being used as a Digital Media Literacy case study on the power of the owners of social media sites and how they can influence what happens on the site.

  67. UpstateDownstate*

    This is so heartbreaking. I know we shouldn’t get attached to jobs, they should be ‘just jobs’ but we cant help it when we spend so much of our time at a place. And the OP was there for a decade! I’m truly sorry, I hope you can take some time off to recover, recalibrate and find the next awesome thing.

  68. Avril Ludgateaux*

    This is absolutely bonkers. It’s a case study in how to raze a multi-billion-dollar company to the ground.

    1. Giant Kitty*

      In response to a tweet saying that Musk is going to put Apple out of business, someone simply said “did he buy it” LMFAO

  69. Bluz*

    Thank you for the peek behind the curtain. Watching from the outside was confusing as heck. I can’t imagine experiencing it on the inside. I’m wishing you well OP and I know that better things will be coming your way.

  70. CommanderBanana*

    “He launched rockets” is the new “we hunted mammoths!”

    I’ve never used Twitter and am extremely grateful for that now.

  71. AnonTnS*

    As someone who both works in the trust & safety space and used to launch rockets….different skill set. This whole situation is so sad, and my heart really goes out to OP and everyone else at Twitter who had to make these tough decisions.

  72. Voldemort’s cousin*

    It’s so weird to see a cultural institution like Twitter unravel so quickly like this. My heart goes out to OP.

  73. Swiftie*

    Elon didn’t launch any rockets. He doesn’t actually build anything. Christ, him and his goons are so full of crap.

  74. Elon fan*

    I’m sorry people lost jobs, but for the first time since I have had an account, I actually feel represented now. I only ever used it to read when people linked to it and followed just a few people. Even so when Elon was going to buy it and I wanted to check it out, my account had been permanently suspended because I broke Twitter rules. I literally had never tweeted anything. I submitted an appeal and it came back but there was no explanation at all. Now I’m reading there daily.

    1. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

      Elon: *Ruins the lives of thousands of Twitter employees, welcomes back neo-Nazis and other bigots, makes Twitter an unsafe place for many marginalized people*

      “Elon Fan:” I actually feel represented now.

      This is not the hot flex you think it is. You’re not the sharpest crayon, huh?

  75. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

    This is why you should no loyalty to any company or corporation beyond anything that you originally signed up for. Going above and beyond in this case is throwing good intentions at bad intentions (Musk) and it’s a waste of your time, energy and spirit. Hoping that you land someplace sane.

  76. Satellite Gal*

    LW, my heart hurts for you.

    But also, screw Elon’s lawyer for saying “he’s launched rockets into space.” Elon hasn’t done SHIT to get those rockets in space. He tells people to do it, sets unreasonable deadlines, throws money at the problem so people shut up, and then Gwen Shotwell makes sure SpaceX employees execute all the work. I have multiple friends that work there, Elon gives SpaceX the idea and does nothing more to execute it. Rant over.

  77. irene adler*

    I’m sorry this happened. To anyone. OP I hope you have a soft landing and fabulous rebound into something that makes you look back on this and laugh.

    I see nothing admirable about this man. Folks where I work go out of their way to tell me I just don’t understand genius. Maybe not. But I know abuse when I see it. And I can recognize bull$hit too. Like those people who support said abuse.

    “launched rockets” has got to be a euphemism for something. Not sure what though.

  78. Bookworm*

    I’m so sorry, OP. Thank you very much for the update, though. It’s bad enough watching it from the outside–can’t think about what it was like watching it happen right in front of you.

    Hope you land elsewhere soon. Good luck!!

  79. Bob-White of the Glen*

    I am so glad you did not push the button OP!

    This set of questions/updates has certainly been on my mind, and I am so glad the collective wisdom of get out!! was followed. Hopefully you can rest and recover a bit with the 3 months of severance (hopefully it gets paid in a timely manner), before beginning the very short and very successful job search.

    Am glad you are out of that hornet’s nest and I hope you feel the same way in a year. Try to stay in touch with your fellow “survivors,” and we’d love updates when you land somewhere.

  80. Hexiv*

    “You should all trust Elon because he’s managed a successful space program” is the funniest possible excuse, because SpaceX has yet to accomplish anything that the USSR didn’t accomplish decades ago. And like, do we think the people in charge of the USSR were really trustworthy and competent? I sure don’t.

  81. Issa Secret*

    OP, I’m so sorry this is going on. It seems very much like how things go in Elon’s other companies.

    I had the displeasure of spending an hour with the HR team at Tesla, and it was one of the most unsettling experiences I have had professionally. The team spent their whole time talking about how amazing and brilliant Elon is, and then proceeding to tell us about some of the most insane HR practices imaginable. I have to keep it vague, but they talked about doing an HR overhaul that in any typical company, you’d spend months and months planning and getting organized for the change. When Elon told the team they were doing this overhaul, they asked the deadline and he said “8am tomorrow.” At this point, it was already 3pm, so this poor HR team had to spend the whole night putting together an enormous and complicated overhaul just because he wanted to “tell people what their new jobs are” by morning. All this just because he “didn’t like the numbers” and decided an overnight overhaul would surely fix it.

    My colleagues and I were speechless the whole ride back to our hotel, until one person piped up “Do you think he was surveilling us at that meeting?” and we all agreed that the Stepford Wife vibe going on in the room was 100% because they all knew he was watching them. None of those HR people still work there.

    So, I am so sorry you are going through this. I hope you can move on to better things soon.

  82. Blue Horizon*

    I suspect Twitter will be particularly vulnerable to phishing attacks for a while. They’ve just lost most of their security team, and their employees have now been trained that they need to click links in strange emails if they want to keep their job.

  83. Taylor56*

    Replace the word ‘company’ with ‘school’ and this is like every non-tenured teachers experience at public schools every June. Except we don’t push a button, we run to our mailbox at the end of the day on Friday to see if a contract for the next year was placed in our mailbox.

  84. Pseudonymous*

    For any former Twitter employees – you may have more legal options than you think. Before you sign any waivers, you should talk to a labor lawyer. There was a demand letter to Elon Musk sent by Kusk Law a few days ago (it went viral on Twitter – you can find it), and there are other law firms also offering at least a free initial consultation.

    I have no interest here, other than generally wishing ill on Musk and having sympathy for those laid off just before the holidays.

  85. Still cranky in Ohio.*

    Am I the only one who is just sooo tired of white rich evil guys messing up the world and people’s lives? We had the orange one and now this one as well as Beto. Why can’t they just do something good for once? Jeez, if I was a billionaire, I would have so much fun helping people, I think it would be the best feeling ever.

    I guess I just don’t understand why they can be so evil.

    1. Dinwar*

      It’s not a matter of evil. These aren’t mustache-twirling Saturday Morning Cartoon villains.

      A big part of the problem is that the current cultural attitude towards tech companies is “move fast, break things”–or, as our grandfathers would have put it, “get rich quick schemes”. The idea is to rapidly increase valuation and then sell. In a 20-person startup you CAN re-organize at 3pm on Friday, because everyone’s bought into the idea or they wouldn’t be there. There aren’t procedures in place, there’s just Bob hand-drawing an org chart. In a 20-person company you can expect people to work long hours because they know it’s necessary to keep the doors open (and thus to get paid).

      The issue is, larger companies can’t do that. There are procedures that need to be followed–some for legal reasons, some because humans didn’t evolve in 10,000 person multinational corporations, we evolved in tribes of about 150 people. There is slack, because redundancy is necessary to ensure services remain available. There are “useless” roles like project managers and security managers and quality control boards because those “useless” roles are absolutely necessary, just in sometimes non-obvious ways.

      The current culture lauds CEOs who engage in startup activities, and you get what you incentivize. We as a culture actively deride the stolid, methodical businessman who makes safe, boring decisions. Shows like “Shark Tank” don’t show the guy who’s found a way to cut 0.5% off the cost of a critical supply without a reduction in quality! But that stolid businessman is what the culture NEEDS. It’s fine to move fast and break things at times, but eventually you stop being a teenager and need to grow up. Eventually the company reaches its limiting factor, and growth slows or ends, and you need to switch from disruption to maintenance. The decisions stop being “Let’s change the world!” and start being “Let’s improve quarterly margins by 2%.” Since our culture has no use for people who maintain anything (look at the state of our bridges or electrical grid if you doubt that–this is actually an existential threat to our nation and people are actually dying because of this attitude), people who want to be in the limelight opt for being perpetual teenagers.

  86. DJ*

    Wow sorry to hear this. I hope you get a new job ASAP. But with so much publicity around twitter’s draconian working conditions I’m sure many employers will be happy to employ ex twitter employees.
    Encourage you and other twitter employees to reach out to colleagues above for references and offer yourselves as referees for those who report to you!!

  87. HeraTech*

    As a fellow tech worker, I’ve been just sick to my stomach watching everything go down at Twitter. I’ve been through several mergers and acquisitions, and none of them have been anything even remotely like what Twitter has gone through. As I said over on Facebook, Musk is a case study for bad management practices. People are going to be studying this fiasco for decades.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, I know it must have taken a lot out of you to write it. And I hope very much that you land at a better managed, more compassionate company.

  88. Despachito*

    I am sorry you had to go through this… and it somehow makes me happy you didn’t push the button.

    It is a sad thing what owning unlimited amounts of money does to a human brain.

  89. Michelle Smith*

    I’m nearly speechless. Just commenting to say I’m sorry and you have my support. Thanks for helping make Twitter work for as long as you did.

Comments are closed.