What Elon Musk Is Doing to Twitter Is What He Did at Tesla and SpaceX


Elon Musk was sleeping on the workplace. He dismissed workers and executives at will. And he lamented his firm was on the verge of chapter.

That was again in 2018 and the corporate was Tesla, as Mr. Musk’s electrical automaker struggled to construct its mass-market car, the Mannequin 3.

“It was excruciating,” he advised The New York Instances on the time. “There have been occasions once I didn’t depart the manufacturing facility for 3 or 4 days — days once I didn’t go exterior.”

The billionaire’s expertise with what he known as Tesla’s “manufacturing hell” has turn into a blueprint for the disaster he has created at Twitter, which he purchased for $44 billion final month. Over time, Mr. Musk has developed a playbook for managing his corporations — together with Tesla and the rocket producer SpaceX — by means of intervals of ache, using shock remedy and alarmism and pushing his employees and himself to place apart their households and buddies to spend all their power on his mission.

At Twitter, Mr. Musk has used lots of those self same ways to upend the social media firm in just some weeks.

Since late final month, the 51-year-old has laid off 50 p.c of Twitter’s 7,500 workers and accepted the resignations of 1,200 or extra. On Monday, he started one other spherical of layoffs, two individuals stated. He tweeted that he was sleeping at Twitter’s workplaces in San Francisco. And he has utilized mission-driven language, telling Twitter’s employees that the corporate might go bankrupt if he wasn’t capable of flip it round. Those that need to work on “Twitter 2.0” should decide to his “laborious core” imaginative and prescient in writing, he has stated.

David Deak, who labored at Tesla from 2014 to 2016 as a senior engineering supervisor overseeing a provide chain for battery supplies, stated Mr. Musk “clearly thrives in existential circumstances.” He added, “He quasi creates them to mild the hearth below everyone.”

The similarities between Mr. Musk’s method to Twitter and what he did at Tesla and SpaceX are evident, added Tammy Madsen, a administration professor at Santa Clara College. But it surely’s unclear if he’ll discover the means to encourage workers at a social media firm as he did with employees whose quests had been to maneuver individuals away from gas-powered vehicles or ship people into house.

“At Tesla and SpaceX, the method has all the time been excessive threat, excessive reward,” Dr. Madsen stated. “Twitter has been excessive threat, however the query is: What’s the reward that comes out of it?”

Mr. Musk didn’t reply to a request for remark.

On Sunday, Mr. Musk held a gathering with Twitter’s gross sales workers, based on two individuals with information of the matter. Then on Monday, he laid off workers within the gross sales division, they stated. Late final week, Mr. Musk fired Robin Wheeler, a high gross sales government, they added. Bloomberg earlier reported that extra layoffs is perhaps coming.

Twitter can also be reaching out to some engineers who stop to ask them to return, the individuals stated. In a gathering with workers on Monday, Mr. Musk stated the corporate was not planning any additional layoffs, based on one one who attended.

At corporations led by Mr. Musk, the sample of claiming that the corporations are getting ready to a possible chapter has come up typically. At Tesla in December 2008, throughout the depths of the monetary disaster, Mr. Musk closed a $50 million funding spherical from Daimler, he stated, on the “final hour of final day attainable or payroll would’ve bounced 2 days later.”

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