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‘Hardcore’ Elon Musk drives right into a tradition conflict at Twitter


SAN FRANCISCO: After snapping up Twitter, one in every of Silicon Valley’s most iconic firms, Elon Musk swiftly launched his no-holds-barred work ethic, organising a bitter tradition conflict with hundreds of staff who nonetheless believed within the platform’s increased mission.
In lower than a month, Musk sacked half the corporate’s 7,500 workers, axed executives and engineers who disagreed with him and at last imposed an ultimatum: work “extraordinarily hardcore” or depart.
The fashion is harking back to what Musk pushed by at Tesla, SpaceX and his different firms, the place the multi-billionaire drove his groups onerous, seeing their private sacrifice as the important thing to success.
After an preliminary willingness to attend and see, Musk’s fashion has proved disconcerting in an organization tradition that valued ethics and a powerful sense of group, even when labored onerous.
“I’ve the impression that Musk actually likes humanity however not a lot people,” mentioned Emmanuel Cornet, a software program engineer who was among the many first to be fired from the social media firm after the acquisition on October 27.
Earlier than that, he’d been one of many many workers genuinely curious to see the profitable entrepreneur at work, regardless of his propensity for provocation that has delighted so lots of his followers.
“I believe we had blinkers on. Many of the workers tried to present him the advantage of the doubt for so long as doable, and likewise as a result of discovering one other job is just not essentially simple,” he mentioned.
However Musk, past the large smiles and enthusiastic declarations, has lived as much as his status, with these remaining having no selection however to present their job their all.
“His conduct continues to be of the bully on the playground, firing anybody who tells him he is unsuitable,” mentioned Sarah Roberts, a social media professor at UCLA. “Any sort of criticism together with his wildly inaccurate … statements will get you fired.”
Cornet was significantly shocked by what he known as an absence of respect from the richest man on this planet.
“In the long run, objectively, he appears to be making an attempt to assist the planet, with electrical vehicles, particularly,” he mentioned. “However the individuals round him appear disposable.”
Musk brings “this sort of swashbuckling bravado from being an entrepreneur focused on issues like rockets and vehicles and massive {hardware} that has spectacular efficiency and actually wows individuals,” mentioned John Wihbey, a media professor at Northeastern College.
“The Twitter tradition is way more low key. It has a politically progressive, geeky, pro-social vibe,” he mentioned.
The libertarian entrepreneur has lengthy had shut ties with Silicon Valley, the place he co-founded Tesla.
However he has since disavowed politically liberal California, railing towards well being restrictions through the pandemic and changing into a hero to conservative libertarians on-line.
On the finish of 2021, he moved the headquarters of his flagship firm to Texas, a majority conservative state.
Twitter was based by Jack Dorsey, who “may be very a lot this sort of Zen guru, kind of a religious seeker vibe,” mentioned Wihbey.
Staff of the community have been “proud to work there”, he mentioned. “They actually believed within the product.”
Cornet labored 14 years at Google earlier than going to Twitter, two teams which, on the time, didn’t appear “obsessive about income.”
“The sense of group at Twitter is so robust it continues after” the layoffs, he mentioned with admiration. Ex-employees collect on Discord, WhatsApp, sign and different platforms to help one another and be nostalgic.
Many former “tweeps” mentioned they have been okay with working onerous, however not only for bombastic guarantees, like “constructing a revolutionary Twitter 2.0”, and on the mercy of brutal decision-making.
When an worker requested throughout a gathering concerning the threat of attrition, Musk replied that he had no “nice reply.”
“I can let you know what works at Tesla is individuals being within the workplace and being hardcore,” he mentioned.
The mercurial chief abhors make money working from home — which may be very well-liked with laptop engineers — and loves to inform how he slept on website at Tesla when his firm was “on the verge of chapter.”
“He was in a position to drive issues onerous at Neuralink, Tesla, or Photo voltaic Metropolis as a result of they’d applied sciences that have been on the frontier or, within the case of Tesla, far sufficient forward of most different business automakers. He has a extremely dedicated workforce there,” mentioned Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, professor at Yale College.
At Twitter, alternatively, the huge layoffs, the brand new tradition of coercion and Musk’s “whims” will not be more likely to rally the employees, mentioned Sonnenfeld, a specialist in company governance.
“At this stage,” mentioned Sarah Roberts, “for a lot of it is a badge of honor to have been fired by Elon.”





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