Twitter ‘will need to be extremely hardcore,’ Musk says, telling staff to sign pledge or leave

cigaretteman

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Elon Musk issued an ultimatum to Twitter employees Wednesday morning: commit to a new “hardcore” Twitter or leave the company with severance pay.
Employees were told they had to a sign a pledge to stay on with the company. “If you are sure that you want to be part of the new Twitter, please click yes on the link below,” read the email to all staff, which linked to an online form.


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Anyone who did not sign the pledge by 5 p.m. Eastern time Thursday would receive three months of severance pay, the message said.
In the midnight email, which was obtained by The Washington Post, Musk said Twitter “will need to be extremely hardcore” going forward. “This will mean working long hours at high intensity,” he said. “Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

The pledge email, paired with a new policy mandating a return to the office, is expected to lead to even more attrition at a company whose staff Musk had already reduced by half. Musk said Twitter would be more of an engineer-driven operation going forward — and while the design and product-management areas would still be important and report to him, he said, “those writing great code will constitute the majority of our team and have the greatest sway.”
Layoff spree in Silicon Valley spells end of an era for Big Tech
It also comes as Musk says he is tabling Twitter’s Blue Verified, his first major product since taking over last month as Twitter’s owner and CEO, while the company sorts out issues with the feature following a botched rollout.






A week ago, Twitter debuted the product, which gives users a blue check-mark icon next to their name for a fee of $7.99 a month, and promises to reduce the number of ads they see by half as well as giving their posts additional visibility. By Friday, the option disappeared amid fake accounts impersonating people such as President Biden and basketball star LeBron James.
Elon Musk acquires Twitter and fires top executives
Sign-ups were paused Thursday night, and Musk announced via a tweet late Tuesday that the service wouldn’t “relaunch” until Nov. 29 “to make sure that it is rock solid.”

But inside Twitter, staff are using the additional two weeks to conduct a postmortem on the launch, trying to understand why the impersonations spiraled out of control, according to a person with knowledge of the internal discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

The launch — and its backtrack — was the culmination of a whirlwind couple weeks of ownership for Musk, who bought the company for $44 billion late last month. People familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal matters, as well as internal and externally compiled data reviewed by The Post, showed the new service failed to gain much traction during its brief stint — skewing toward a few niche communities and threatening Twitter’s core advertising revenue.


Power users are most likely to subscribe, but they are also the company’s primary advertising base — a key driver of revenue. Twitter would need to charge $44 a month to recoup the advertising value generated by the top segment of U.S. power users if it relied only on subscriptions, according to an internal document reviewed by The Post. The more active the user, the higher the subscription price would need to be, according to the documents — which warned of the opportunity cost of cutting ads and high subscription prices needed if Twitter were to make up for the revenue generated by ad-consuming power users.
Musk seeks to reassure advertisers, promises rapid changes to Twitter
Meanwhile, those who subscribed to Blue Verified were often accounts promoting right-wing politics, cryptocurrency speculation and users hawking adult content such as pornography, a review of Twitter data compiled by a software developer showed.

About 150,000 users were subscribed to Twitter Blue — which encompasses Blue Verified — at the time of the pause, according to one of the people with knowledge of internal matters, a figure corroborated by internal data on tweets from Verified accounts and an external analysis. That’s just 0.06 percent of the roughly 250 million people estimated to use Twitter each day.

 
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Hawk_4shur

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I used to admire his genius and many of the things he has created. He has worked to make the world a better place IMO.

But, now it seems he is an unstable thug.

When jobs are plentiful and you threaten an employee to commit to a hardcore work environment - and then offer them 3 months severance? How is this going to work out?

He is a strange, strange dude.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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Maybe. . .

Firing half the employees of Twitter and then calling many of them back 2 days later when you figure out that you need those people after all doesn't sound like the behavior of a smart man.

He's not nearly as smart as given credit for.
...or it's a way to cut a bloated payroll fast.

We'll see how it works out.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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If that's the goal, this is a sociopathic way of doing it unless these people volunteering for hardcore Twitter are going to be paid more or offered equity in the company. Otherwise it's pretty naked exploitation
How's it 'exploitation"? People can just take the severance if they want out...
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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...or it's a way to cut a bloated payroll fast.

We'll see how it works out.

Also I believe there is a law that says if you are doing that you have to give the employees 60 days notice which he did not do. So he's being sued for that.

There is also the fact that as soon as he took over ad revenues cut in half.

Musk is not that smart. At best he might somewhat have his finger on what can be plausible with the newest technology. And honestly that is a big maybe because like 75% of Musk's ideas never come to fruition. But a smart man would realize his area of competence and stick to that. Musk has not done that and constantly leaves his field of competence all the time and looks stupid as a result.
 

trippnschmidt

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His statement is clear. He wants good engineers to better automate things so there's no need for other employees. It's a very current trend in big business, but crappy for employee moral, knowing that you'll eventually be expendable either way.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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Also I believe there is a law that says if you are doing that you have to give the employees 60 days notice which he did not do. So he's being sued for that.

There is also the fact that as soon as he took over ad revenues cut in half.

Musk is not that smart. At best he might somewhat have his finger on what can be plausible with the newest technology. And honestly that is a big maybe because like 75% of Musk's ideas never come to fruition. But a smart man would realize his area of competence and stick to that. Musk has not done that and constantly leaves his field of competence all the time and looks stupid as a result.
I just find it interesting that the inner workings of Twitter garner so much attention while a company like Amazon is in the process of cutting 10K jobs but doesn't garner nearly as much attention or hand wringing...
 
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Hoosierhawkeye

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I just find it interesting that the inner workings of Twitter garner so much attention while a company like Amazon is in the process of cutting 10K jobs but doesn't garner nearly as much attention or hand wringing...

Amazon is profitable and didn't suddenly lose half it's revenue in a day.

It's also owned by a guy who knows what he's doing since he's been running the company it's entire existence.

Musk clearly doesn't know what he's doing.
 

ConvenientParking

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I just find it interesting that the inner workings of Twitter garner so much attention while a company like Amazon is in the process of cutting 10K jobs but doesn't garner nearly as much attention or hand wringing...

Agree with you there. Amazon is depressing to think about. When they're not laying people off, they're trying their best to turn them over quickly in jobs that appear decent on the surface.
 

Colonoscopy

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Remember I called this guy out back when everyone else was still thinking he was a visionary who was going to save humanity.

Why would this change anything though? He's a maniac workaholic freak but probably always was. Even when he started up SpaceX and led Tesla to new heights.

We're just getting more a glimpse.

Lots of our great technological innovations were probably owed to half-way crazy risk taking "geniuses" that might not exactly be the best with people.

But they get stuff done that nobody else does, so, there you go.

Twitter is a different beast in that it's an extant social media platform. So no great innovation there, but he seems to be bringing the same style of management he employed elsewhere.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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Agree with you there. Amazon is depressing to think about. When they're not laying people off, they're trying their best to turn them over quickly in jobs that appear decent on the surface.
Have a buddy that worked at a Amazon warehouse after he retired from the military. Mid level management and was paid pretty well....he lasted less than a year.

He didn't like how the lower level workers were treated and didn't like how he had to keep after them...and he was ex military :)
 

Colonoscopy

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His statement is clear. He wants good engineers to better automate things so there's no need for other employees. It's a very current trend in big business, but crappy for employee moral, knowing that you'll eventually be expendable either way.

Most big tech companies become really bloated with pointless jobs. . .

In reality, the core of your business is a small team of really bright, motivated engineers that do 95% of the work.

Twitter doesn't need to be a giant sprawling enterprise to operate well.
 
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WDSMHAWK

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I just find it interesting that the inner workings of Twitter garner so much attention while a company like Amazon is in the process of cutting 10K jobs but doesn't garner nearly as much attention or hand wringing...

Like it or not Twitter is a huge platform that allows people to disseminate information to millions of people around the globe and has been the driving force behind good and bad movements.

People are going to take note whenever there are drastic changes, especially since there is a growing perception that Musk is in over his head.
 

BioHawk

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Amazon is profitable and didn't suddenly lose half it's revenue in a day.

It's also owned by a guy who knows what he's doing since he's been running the company it's entire existence.

Musk clearly doesn't know what he's doing.
Well, Bezos retired so some other dude is running it now, but he is probably a very competent CEO.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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Like it or not Twitter is a huge platform that allows people to disseminate information to millions of people around the globe and has been the driving force behind good and bad movements.

People are going to take note whenever there are drastic changes, especially since there is a growing perception that Musk is in over his head.
Oh I agree...just exemplifies how important Twitter is to the media and those that are politically active. Can't think of another company that would garner this much attention.
 

VodkaSam

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...or it's a way to cut a bloated payroll fast.

We'll see how it works out.
I’ve seen before how this is going to play out. The true talent, that can go anywhere for the same or higher total comp package, will bolt with the severance. The lesser talented will “hunker down” fearful of not getting similar comp somewhere else. Everyone left will be miserable, knowing they are working with a mediocre team, longer hours, in a toxic culture.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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Well, Bezos retired so some other dude is running it now, but he is probably a very competent CEO.
Amazon is pretty draconian in the way it deals with it's workers...

150% turnover?

So getting after Musk for how he's treating Twitter employees while Amazon just slides by....comparitively speaking.

 
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cigaretteman

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Amazon is pretty draconian in the way it deals with it's workers...

150% turnover?

So getting after Musk for how he's treating Twitter employees while Amazon just slides by....comparitively speaking.

Isn't the average duration of employment at Amazon something like 8 month?
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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Amazon is pretty draconian in the way it deals with it's workers...

150% turnover?

So getting after Musk for how he's treating Twitter employees while Amazon just slides by....comparitively speaking.


I'm certainly not trying to ignore the way Amazon treats it's workers. I'm just noting that it's run competently.