What Will Be the Impact of Musk’s Twitter Firings?


While many of Musk’s actions seem somewhat childish, the long-term impact on the company is still up for debate.

After Elon Musk’s very public, very confusing and convoluted takeover of Twitter, he came in fast and aggressive, making huge changes in staffing and headcount that can have significant reverberations across the company that he may not have fully considered.

On late Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, newly-minted CEO Musk sent an email notifying employees of the plan to cut jobs the very next day, with a subject line reading, “Your role at Twitter.” Layoffs were expected to affect all areas of the company, including sales, marketing, product, engineering and legal.

Musk’s email to employees, signed by Twitter not Musk, which was obtained by The Washington Post, follows:

“Team,

In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday. We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward.

Given the nature of our distributed workforce and our desire to inform impacted individuals as quickly as possible, communications for this process will take place via email. By 9AM PST on Friday Nov. 4th, everyone will receive an individual email with the subject line: Your Role at Twitter. Please check your email, including your spam folder.

If your employment is not impacted, you will receive a notification via your Twitter email.

If your employment is impacted, you will receive a notification with next steps via your personal email.

If you do not receive an email from [email protected] by 5PM PST on Friday Nov. 4th, please email [email protected]

To help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended. If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home.

We acknowledge this is an incredibly challenging experience to go through, whether or not you are impacted. Thank you for continuing to adhere to Twitter policies that prohibit you from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.

We are grateful for your contributions to Twitter and for your patience as we move through this process.

Thank you.

Twitter”

One has to wonder reading this email — how well thought out was this process, how much time went into it considering the skills, talents and institutional knowledge being let go, and what will the fallout be from a day-to-day, operational point of view? It seems like Elon is shooting from the hip here. In fact, the layoffs were done after a single week-long assessment by Musk and his deputy team, which included his lawyer, a single investor and the guy who manages Musk’s family office. Seems like a well-qualified group to make such momentous decisions, no?

The next day as expected was pretty hairy and confusing. Workers in droves, even ones pulled into special teams by Musk personally, started losing their jobs. Some employees were shut out of their systems before being let go, so they just assumed they were gone. Lucky employees who sat in panic on Thursday got emails on Friday telling them they were not laid off. Even more confusing, some employees who were fired got an email telling them they would remain technically employed by Twitter, with pay and benefits for another two months, but would not be working for the company during that time. Sounds like a severance package, I guess. 

As part of the initial layoff process, Musk fired the CEO, CFO and general counsel. Soon after, managers started asking workers to suggest ways to find $500 million in annual cuts across the company, including data centers, software infrastructure, contractors and content moderation.

Related Article: Will the Musk Takeover Rescue or Wreck Twitter Marketing?

Due Diligence Before Twitter Acquisition and Staffing Culls?

It seems like a pattern of poorly thought-out moves regarding Twitter. First, Musk made a $44 billion offer on Twitter and then tried to get out of it once he took the process a bit more seriously — and after being threatened with a lawsuit, he finally finalized the deal the day before the trial was to begin. Analysts have valued Twitter at about half of what Musk paid for it, at only $25 billion. Musk took out a loan of $12 billion to fund the purchase, which has a $1 billion per year interest payment.

By Elon Musk’s third week at Twitter, the cull continued unabated. At this point he had laid off 50% of the company’s 7,500 workers, while pushing remaining employees to become more “hard core” for the business to survive Musk’s overpriced acquisition. Also let go around this time were many contractors who work on content moderation and data scientists. All were let go without notice. Internal people reported that Musk plans to eliminate middle managers to save more.

At this point things started getting personal, with Musk appearing a bit snow flakey when he fired two dozen employees for pushing back on his plans, mocking them publicly on Twitter. He then went further in his purge. Musk’s team was instructed to comb through Twitter’s internal chat platform and make a list of employees who were ‘insubordinate.’ All who were labeled as insubordinate were immediately fired.

In his usual childish manner, Musk mocked these employees publicly.

“I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses,” Musk tweeted. “Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere.”



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