By the time you read this, Twitter is most likely dead in the water. Technically, there are plenty of reasons I can safely predict your next crash, but I'm not here to talk about Twitter's remote procedure calls (RPCs) or its SMS two-factor authentication failures. No, even worse than the technical landmines awaiting Twitter is the mismanagement of billionaire Elon Musk.
I know, some of you are saying, “Musk is a genius! You just don't understand! In fact, I do. Musk is brilliant... at some things. He has a great vision of engineering. He has passion. That's why he's largely responsible for commercializing space with SpaceX and reviving the electric car with Tesla. But, and he's a big but, just because you're good at one thing doesn't mean you're good at other things.
I'm a pretty good writer, but only a fool would hire me to write an opera aria or even do simple carpentry. I know what my limits are. musk no.
After months of fighting with Twitter management, Musk finally ended up overpaying for the power of social media. So what's the first thing he does? He's trying to save money by laying off half the staff.
After months of uncertainty, Twitter staff morale was already at an all time low. Even though you kept your job, you go to work feeling like shit. Also, who do you report to now? What is your job today? It certainly can't be the same as the day before.
But wait! There are more job cuts. And whoops! He accidentally laid off essential people. I have to rehire them!
Of course, Musk has already done this through hysteria and fear. You know what, though? Software services are not cars or rockets. No one on Twitter is going to go to Mars or revolutionize the way we travel.
There is no dominant vision. There is no such thing as a startup with golden stock options. There is only one existing and unprofitable social network. And while layoffs in the tech sector are making headlines, the underlying reality is that the unemployment rate in the tech sector is 2,3%. Another better job is right down the 101 for many of Twitter's remaining employees.
Also, spending more hours on software development doesn't work. We've known this since Fred Brooks published "The Mythical Man-Month" in 1975.
So is anyone surprised that Twitter employees are quitting? With every worker who quits, another technical expert walks out the door.
Many of the best and brightest have already left. As Will Norris, former head of open source at Twitter, told me: "Almost all the key people who worked on open source at Twitter are gone. Every engineer I worked with on open source is gone." Twitter, by the way, runs on open source software.
Those developers that Musk showed working at 1:30 am? It's just a stupid publicity stunt. The programmers I know don't like unnecessary meetings at the best of times. But you do whatever it takes to keep your job if you have no other choice. Don't expect executable code to come out.
That aside, Twitter still needs to make money, so in addition to firing vital employees and making them miserable, Musk's Twitter also refuses to pay their bills. And as part of his usual playbook, Musk is also threatening Twitter employees and debtors with bankruptcy.
I have always found that it works well with friends, partners and employees.
Of course, you could always, I don't know, increase your income. Historically, Twitter has done this with advertising. So what is he doing? It alienates advertisers.
Musk makes the silly claim that advertisers are against free speech. No, they just don't want to be associated with racism, Donald Trump and trash. Imagine that!
Musk's first attempt to monetize Twitter in other ways was a Twitter Blue rebrand that gave any paying user $8 a month any name they wanted. Shortly after, a fake Eli Lily account "announced" that "insulin is now free." After a few billion dollars in market cap losses, Musk withdrew that change, while Eli Lily withdrew the ad for him. I don't expect it ever to come back.
would you do it?
And how can we forget Musk's most popular tweet to date, an image of a woman showing off her bare buttocks (covered by a Twitter logo) to Jesus, labeled "Trump." Classy, huh? Is this the service you want your brand to represent? Certainly not.
Musk is sinking the business of Twitter. Hell, she might want to force him out of business. To quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me...They think, in their hearts, that they are better than us...Even when they venture into our world or they descend below us, they always think they are better than us, they are different.
Not better, different.
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