She said that while Elon Musk may be endearing and humorous in person, his emotions can change suddenly from joy to rage, making Twitter staff wary of attending meetings or breaking bad news.
Crawford said that Musk’s inner circle sometimes gave the impression of being extremely passionate and obsessive in their unshakable support for his ideas, which resulted in Musk making judgments about products and businesses mostly based on his gut instinct rather than data or knowledge.
Staff employees expressed worry about this strategy because they believed that Twitter polls and random comments were given more weight than their ideas and solutions.
Crawford stated that, at times, it appeared as though the inner circle was overly enthusiastic and obsessive in their unshakable support of anything he said.
“He didn’t seem compelled to seek out or rely on much data or expertise to inform it. He almost always went with his gut on product and business decisions.”
Being unafraid to criticize, Crawford also singled out the previous management, calling it “bloated” and “soft and entitled,” where initiatives might be put on hold at the last minute due to perceived danger.
Twitter Now X
Musk recently made news by replacing the recognizable Twitter logo with a white X to make the platform more like China’s WeChat, a super-app featuring chat and payment features.
However, since Musk bought Twitter last year, the social media platform’s advertising revenue has decreased, and advertisers have voiced their displeasure with his managerial style and the widespread layoffs that impacted content moderation. Musk has been moving toward a subscription-based model to explore additional income sources in response.
Users and advertisers have not been pleased with Twitter’s revenue model and content control changes. Significantly negative responses have been generated by introducing fees for services previously provided for free.
Undoubtedly, Elon Musk’s management style and vision for Twitter have stirred discussions inside and beyond the organization, with some appreciating his audacity and others noting issues with his lack of procedure and empathy. Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter will remain in the public eye while navigating possibilities and obstacles in the rapidly changing social media ecosystem.
The message from Esther Crawford
I have a lot of ideas on Twitter > X, as it seems like everyone else is using this program, so now is a good opportunity to share a little about my experience working there.
Like many of you, I tweeted into the abyss for years out of pure love, but in 2020, after selling my business to Twitter, I finally got to experience it firsthand. Like so many other businesses and things, it was magnificent and dreadful up close.
I have a manic sense of urgency, so Twitter frequently felt bureaucratic and walled to me. Distractions like pointless power struggles, organizational changes made for someone’s ego, and renaming teams were much too frequent. You needed to be a politician in addition to a constructor.
The infrastructure’s age and custom nature astounded me. Still, we needed more motivation to look past quarterly earnings reports as we were all subject to the public company’s demands of mDAU and revenue growth.
It frequently seemed as though everything was held together by glue and duct tape, and many individuals had come to terms with the fact that a simple product improvement would take several months to develop.
The workplace culture felt too soft and entitled to my tastes, and management had expanded to facilitate career progression. A default mantra of “no, that can’t be done” or “another team owns that, so don’t touch it” has replaced healthy debate and criticism.
Teams may spend months developing a feature, but it may be dropped as being too dangerous due to a last-minute snarl. Speaking with clients directly might result in a turf war and impasses between departments.
I can think of an instance where a coworker struggled to acquire permission to contact certain authors for a month. He passed three levels of management and six separate functional teams. In the end, the approval process involved four executives. It was wild, and regrettably, I have seen numerous top performers burn out and lose motivation due to trying situations like that.
Most workers were competent at their professions, but it took a lot of work to dismiss underperformers; instead, they were moved to different teams since only some managers had the resources to devise a plan to get them out.
A culture that values excellent performance lifts everyone, while the reverse drags everyone down. Watching how Twitter frequently seemed to be a place that was wasting its own promise was sad and upsetting.
During my time, Kayvon Beykpour was the greatest at cutting through the BS and inspiring a vision, but since he wasn’t the CEO, he needed more authority to operate the business.
Despite these genuine problems, I had the good fortune to work at Twitter with some of the best talents in the industry in the fields of product, design, engineering, research, legal, business development, trust & safety, marketing, and PR, among others.
A small, cross-functional team of intrinsically driven individuals frequently had the largest effect by questioning a fundamental premise. Although being a part of those teams was a lot of fun, it felt more like they were the exception than the rule.
The months leading up to the deal’s completion in 2022 were especially lengthy and unpleasant; it seemed like leadership concealed behind attorneys and legalese because every response regarding the firm’s future invariably contained the word “fiduciary duty.”
Colleagues freely discussed how Twitter was sold because the leadership needed to believe in its strategy and capacity to resolve enduring issues.
Even though I didn’t know much about Elon, I was cautiously enthusiastic since I thought of him as the person who founded amazing and enduring businesses like Tesla and SpaceX; perhaps his private ownership might upend the status quo and give the firm new Life.
My perspective on what has occurred since then is rich with personal flavor. It’s simple to respond when someone asks why I stayed by citing optimism, curiosity, personal progress, and money.
I could see right away which adjustments Elon would make were wise and which were foolish, but when I work with a team, I adhere to the principle of “praise in public and criticize in private.” I certainly wasn’t a mute wallflower. I actively voiced my ideas and rebutted frequently before and after the acquisition.
At Twitter 2.0, I came to terms with the idea that I lacked psychological safety, which meant I might be dismissed without any justification. I constantly observed it taking place and witnessed how it affected team spirit.
I tried my best to highlight those performing essential work while supporting those who were finding it difficult to fit in with the more brutalist and extreme culture, even though I could not change the situation.
Elon is surprisingly endearing and very hilarious in person. Additionally, he displays peculiar personality traits like repeatedly delivering the same jokes and anecdotes. The difficulty is that he needs to have a consistent attitude and a quick switch from exuberance to rage.
People immediately started to fear being called into meetings or having to deliver bad news to him since it was difficult to predict his mood and how he would respond to any given situation.
There were moments when it appeared that the inner circle’s unquestioning backing of everything he said was excessively ardent and obsessive. When people advised me to watch what I said, I thanked them and replied that I would not be heeding their advice.
I had no desire to reinforce a climate of dread or avoid Elon at all costs. He could either respect me for being honest or get rid of me. Either result was acceptable.
I soon discovered that he rarely sought out or relied on many facts or knowledge to drive his judgments on products and businesses; instead, he frequently went with his gut. It was especially upsetting because I thought I had valuable institutional information that might aid in his decision-making.
Alternatively, he might consult Twitter, a buddy, or his biographer for product recommendations. At times, it appeared that he placed more faith in unreliable input than in the individuals in the room who had devoted their whole careers to solving the issue. I’ve been baffled by it ever since and have yet to figure out why.
Although I don’t believe things should have been as challenging or dramatic as they have been, I can’t say I would rule Elon out or bet against him.
He is wealthy and intelligent enough to make many mistakes and adjust his path when things don’t go as planned. In the near term, he can destroy value as the majority shareholder, but ultimately, things must improve.
The true test will now be how it gets rebuilt and whether enough people are interested in the new Everything app he is constructing. His concentration on speed is tremendous, and it is evident that he is not afraid of blowing things up.
I picked up a lot by closely observing Elon, the good, the terrible, and the ugly. His audacity, enthusiasm, and narrative are motivating, but his lack of method and humanity are distressing.
Elon has a remarkable aptitude for solving complex physics-based issues, but developing products that improve interpersonal interaction and communication necessitates a distinct kind of social-emotional intelligence.
Although social networks are difficult to destroy, they are not immune to death spirals. The conclusion is still being determined, but I hope X gets its footing since customers benefit from competition.
I feel a lot of sympathy for the staff who are toiling away in the background, the advertisers who want a reliable marketplace, and the users who deal with erratic updates. It’s been a crazed asylum.
X is now led by a mercurial CEO whose instinct is motivated by the unusual and strange experience of being the greatest voice on the platform, unlike Twitter, which moved slowly and suffered from bureaucracy.
Since many of you are familiar with me from the day I slept on the conference room floor in a sleeping bag, we should also talk about it.
A strange and intriguing encounter was going viral. I was attacked on the right for being a working mom who was stigmatized as an example of a woman putting her job before her family. I was also attacked on the left for being assaulted and dubbed a billionaire bootlicker.
I am fortunate to be able to laugh at myself and not take cyber ideologues too seriously. It takes a thick skin and a strong sense of self to be the major character on the timeline, even for a short time.
The actual narrative is rather straightforward. For the first project, I was given a timeframe that was almost difficult to meet, but as the product lead, I would only ask people to do something that I was willing to do myself.
We worked around the clock to produce it on time with an incredible team spread across many time zones. Both intense and enjoyable. Even though those first few months were very chaotic, I was there because I wanted to be, and I have no regrets.
Most of the time, it should be commended when someone shows up and gives it their best. You can’t work so quickly all the time, but there are times when bursts are essential to success. In my employment and as a student, I worked several all-nighters to complete important tasks.
I don’t regret working hard or having aspirations, and I’m happy with how far I’ve gone from my beginnings, partly because of that kind of work ethic.
Being at Twitter following the purchase was like playing Life on Hard Mode at Level 10 if I thought of Life as a game. I found it intriguing and satisfying since I enjoy taking on challenging tasks and because I was developing and learning so much so quickly.
I am aware of the divisiveness that exists in our society today, but when it comes to this app, its creator, and its future, I am neither a fangirl nor a hater; rather, I am an upbeat realist.
You cannot put me in this radical position of embracing or condemning every development that has occurred, which may annoy the internet. I fled my conservative background and now consider myself a free thinker. Depending on whatever perspective of the narrative is being told, everyone might be viewed as either a hero or a villain.
Elon is not deserving of praise or condemnation. The world needs him to err on goodwill rather than political polarization and pettiness since he is a complex individual with unfathomable financial and geopolitical power.
I can’t entirely agree with many of his choices, and I’m shocked by his willingness to destroy so much. Still, given enough time and resources, something fresh and original may materialize.
When people inquire about how I felt after being let go, I always reply that it was the nicest gift I’ve ever been given. Even though I had already gained some war experience, the headlines and punchlines wrote themselves.
I was confident that my task had been done in a way that would allow me to exit with pride. It made logical for me to go as practically all of the remaining PMs were let go, and I feel no resentment about the Product Management team being disbanded.
After that, taking a break was just what I needed to unwind, and now I’m finally feeling refreshed and at ease. I’m a builder and a creative person, so sooner or later, I’ll return to a high-intensity job, but I’m happy for this time to reflect, read, travel, and spend time with the people I love.
After some thought, I am more certain than ever that excellent leadership that blends the heart and the mind produces the finest results.
I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention that this is also a warning story for everyone who succeeds in something; it’s a reminder that your world gets smaller as you rise. The richest and most influential individuals are also some of the most alone, which is an odd dichotomy.
Because Elon spent so much of his time and energy solely on work, I frequently thought he appeared to be extremely alone. It is not the type of Life I want to lead.
Fame and wealth can potentially imprison the mind, worsening mental health disorders. We’ve all witnessed high-profile examples of celebrities who develop a mix of mania, maniacal conduct, maniacal paranoia, delusions of grandeur, sadness, and paranoia.
Living in an echo chamber is risky, and being at the top makes it much more likely because practically everyone in your immediate vicinity is employed and somehow stands to gain from being in your orbit. Learning how to maintain “better angels” in the shape of family, friends, and teammates is essential to maintain your course and endure severe ups and downs.
Everyone needs to hear the unpleasant realities now and again, and if you silence everyone who speaks out, the reality distortion field can start to spin like a vortex.
I became interested in Twitter because I’m so preoccupied with the issue of loneliness and human connection. It’s both intriguing and alarming that people are becoming more alone while we simultaneously make the world safer and wealthier. That trade-off is unnecessary, so I keep returning to it in my personal and professional Life.
Although I recognize that this is quite a lengthy tweet, I am thankful to have had even a small part in the history and development of Twitter.
I’ll be around for whatever happens next on this app and elsewhere. I won’t want to turn that part of me off, so I’ll be watching, engaging, and giving hot takes since consumer social is very much alive and at an interesting point. X could end up being a huge success. Or it utterly fails. In either case, I anticipate it continuing to be a fun journey. Source