Elon Musk talked about firing 75% of Twitter employees; it is possible that he got his wish • TechCrunch

When Peter Clowes last updated his LinkedIn profile, he listed his role as “Layoff Survivor” on Twitter. However, Clowes, a senior software engineer who joined the company in the spring of 2020, has also left. He resigned yesterday, explaining dispassionately last night on Twitter that he decided to leave not to lock Twitter down or because he hates its new owner, Elon Musk, but simply because he no longer had any incentive to stay.

It now appears that a significant percentage of Clowes’s colleagues felt the same way. While they weren’t part of the 50% of Twitter employees who lost their jobs in late October in an unprecedented layoff at the social media team, like the remaining 3,700 employees, Musk gave them an ultimatum this week. The choice he presented them: commit to a new Twitter “extremely hard”, “work long hours at high intensity”, or leave the company with three months’ compensation.

A Hobson pick, essentially, Musk clearly hoped that some percentage of Twitter’s remaining employees, who are expensive and whom he had no say in hiring, would choose to leave the company. In fact, Musk reportedly told investors he could cut 75% of staff before taking over the company, so whether he’s in shock today or celebrating his mass exodus is something only Musk and your inner circle know.

Certainly the numbers are staggering for almost everyone else. The New York Times reported today that, according to internal estimates from its sources, at least 1,200 full-time employees have just turned in their figurative key cards. Clowes, in a long series of tweets about his own departure, suggests that the number could be even higher. Speaking of his own “org,” he writes that “85%+” of his colleagues were laid off in October and that a staggering “80%” of those who stayed opted out yesterday.

In fact, what strikes us when reading Clowes’s explanation of why he left is not that so many people left with him. It’s almost more surprising that 100% of the employees didn’t leave, raising questions about who Musk thought he would stay. If he just wanted those employees with no choice but to commit suicide for now, it seems so. . . as a flawed business strategy.

Otherwise, if Musk was hoping to hold on to someone else, one assumes he would have been offered a carrot. Instead, as Clowes wrote yesterday, there were just sticks, and lots of them.

Clowes wrote, for example, that he left because “I no longer knew what I was staying for. Previously I stayed for the people, the vision and of course the money (let’s be honest). All of them were radically changed or uncertain.”

Clowes left because if he had stayed, he “would have been on constant watch with little support for an indeterminate time on various additional complex systems with which he had no experience.”

He left because he saw no advantage in Musk’s brash management style, which Clowes suggests he might have tolerated longer if he wasn’t operating completely in the dark. Instead, he says, Musk has yet to share a vision for the platform with employees. “No five-year plan like Tesla,” Clowes wrote. “Nothing more than anyone can see on Twitter. Supposedly it comes for those who stayed, but the request was blind faith and he was required to sign the severance offer before seeing it. Pure loyalty test.

There has been so little communication from the top that rumors and speculation have run rampant, Clowes suggested. Among the staff’s apparent concerns: that Twitter would not just be subscription-based, but that adult content could become a central component of those offerings, Clowes wrote. (Underscoring how little the experts have been told, Clowes then referred readers to a Wired story on a Washington Post story about Musk’s reported discussions with employees about monetizing adult content on Twitter.) .

Last but not least, Clowes wrote, there was “no retention plan for those who stayed. There are no clear advantages to weathering the storm on the horizon. Only verbal promises like ‘trust us’”.

Yesterday, Clowes lived in a world where his “friends are gone, the vision is cloudy, a storm is brewing, and there are no financial benefits,” he wrote. So “[w]What would you do? he continued. “Would you sacrifice time with your kids over the holidays for vague guarantees and the chance to make a rich person richer or would you walk away?”

You would get the out, which Musk surely expected. The question is whether he can rebuild with those who remain before it all falls apart.

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