November 5, 2022

The Twitter Snap

It wasn’t a well-kept secret that Elon Musk had layoffs in mind from Twitter the moment he started thinking about acquiring the social network. The size and haste of the layoffs was a bit shocking, though. Approximately 50% of the company gone within a week of the acquisition is something to marvel at. It’s like Musk is Thanos performing the snap” (also officially referred to as The Decimation”) on his very own universe.

Honestly, until recently, I thought Twitter was manned by about 200 people dodging their homeless fellow citizens in San Francisco to work in a fancy office full of wall to ceiling windows, juice bars and massage tables. When I found out they had a global workforce of 7,500 people, I was shocked. The company I work for has less than double that, and we support a lot more products with much greater complexity than Twitter. It would cause one to wonder what all of those people were doing at Twitter. Fortunately for the curious, publications like The Verge laid out which departments were gutted. They note that the trust and safety teams were hit the hardest. I certainly feel bad for those employees and the rollercoaster ride they’ve been on this year.

David Heinemeier Hanson, CTO of 37Signals, unsurprisingly had some thoughts to share on the workforce reduction at the social media company.

Elon Musk is administering shock therapy to a company that’s had one of the most lethargic pace settings in the industry for years on end. To illustrate, we once had a designer at 37signals who had worked at Twitter previously. This person had spent over two years at Twitter and never shipping anything. It was mockups, meetings, and then eventual cancelations that propelled life in the product group at that time. Evidence of a company pace setting so depressingly low as to be scarcely believable.

It’s hard to argue with the conclusions he draws from his experience with the former Twitter employee and the size of the bloat there. He makes a final point about how interesting it will be to watch the experiment that is underway at Twitter.

Every company needs to set a pace. Musk took over a Twitter set to one, and now he’s turning it up to eleven. Whether he ends up blowing the amp or proving once again that there is no speed limit, this is a rock’n’roll experiment that’s mesmerizing to follow.

We won’t be able to help watching. We’ll follow along like motorists rubbernecking at a car crash on the side of the highway.

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