With all of the terrible news hitting the press regarding layoffs and bills not being paid by Twitter, it does beg the question why doesn’t Elon Musk—one of the richest people in the world—-put some money into the company until he can get things under control.
After all, this is a $44 billion investment that he is putting at risk, and it would seem like throwing a few more billion dollars Twitter’s way would be much more productive than creating terrible morale with employees and distrust with vendors.
CNBC reported that Twitter was sued last week by a tech startup called Writer, Inc., making it the sixth company to sue Twitter for non-payment since Elon Musk took over the company about four months ago.
Many of the amounts owed are relatively small—the Writer Inc., bill, for instance is only $114K. One of the other six vendors suing, however, has gone into financial distress itself. The landlord of the San Francisco headquarters Columbia REIT has defaulted on loans, including one against the Twitter headquarters at 650 California Street in San Francisco.
Musk is apparently taking it in stride, tweeting last week, “Say what you want about me, but I acquired the world’s largest non-profit for $44B lol.”
But to vendors left in the lurch and employees being shown the door, this is no laughing matter. Although layoffs at Twitter are no surprise, the one conducted over this weekend was. It was small (about 200 people, 10% of the remaining staff), however, some of those cuts were definitely out of left field.
For instance, according to The Information, Esther Crawford, a product director who was put in charge of the Twitter Blue subscription product was let go.
She appeared in a viral photo sleeping on the floor at headquarters to show her enthusiasm for Elon Musk’s new “extremely hardcore” work ethic. “The worst take you could have from watching me go all-in on Twitter 2.0 is that my optimism or hard work was a mistake,” Crawford tweeted.
Martijn de Kuijper, a senior product manager based in Holland, tweeted that he too learned of his dismissal when he was unable to log into his corporate computer system. “Waking up to find I’ve been locked out of my email,” tweeted de Kuijper, the founder of newsletter tool Revue. He has been at Twitter since it acquired his company in 2021.
Total employees at Twitter have been slashed from almost 8,000 when Musk took over to less than 2,000. Musk said in December that Twitter was on track to reach $3 billion in revenue in 2023, 59% of the $5.1 billion posted in 2021.
Another issue that has plagued the company is that key workflow tools have been cut off like Slack and Jira, the latter being a tool that Twitter uses to track a wide range of things from feature updates to regulatory compliance. Most engineers went home as they had no way to chat and no code to ship, and the service was restored the following day. Slack, it was reported, was cut off internally but for what reason it is not known.
All of these cuts clearly are going to have an impact on the platform—it was reported there was a 20-minute outage in parts of Asia last week.