Supposedly Elon Musk is going to buy Twitter on Friday. I don’t know if he is. Things seem to go back and forth on the sale so often it’s hard to say for sure. But I was interested in an article that quoted an open letter that some Twitter employees have released. It addresses a rumor that Musk is going to lay off 75% of the employees of the company.
Now that caught my attention. What a marvelous idea! Reducing Twitter’s payroll to two thousand employees sounded like a brilliant way to focus the attention of those remaining employees on doing their jobs instead of practicing social justice.
But apparently not everyone views this situation the same. The employees who wrote this open letter to Musk are not as thrilled as I am. Here are some excerpts:
We, the undersigned Twitter workers, believe the public conversation is in jeopardy.
Elon Musk’s plan to lay off 75% of Twitter workers will hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation. A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation…….
We demand of current and future leadership:
Respect: We demand leadership to respect the platform and the workers who maintain it by committing to preserving the current headcount.
Safety: We demand that leadership does not discriminate against workers on the basis of their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or political beliefs. We also demand safety for workers on visas, who will be forced to leave the country they work in if they are laid off.
Protection: We demand Elon Musk explicitly commit to preserve our benefits, those both listed in the merger agreement and not (e.g. remote work). We demand leadership to establish and ensure fair severance policies for all workers before and after any change in ownership.
Dignity: We demand transparent, prompt and thoughtful communication around our working conditions. We demand to be treated with dignity, and to not be treated as mere pawns in a game played by billionaires.
You know, that’s a lot of demanding going on there. I have to assume they are speaking from a position of great strength. Otherwise, it might seem that they are painting bullseyes on their backs with respect to the new boss firing them.
Now the interesting thing is that they released this letter but refuse to release the identity of the signatories until some critical mass is reached. My guess is that will be never.
So, what will Musk do? Well, I can’t tell the richest man on Earth what to do. But if I could I’d tell him to change it to 80%. I’m on Twitter and as far as I can tell the algorithms are so rigged in favor of the wokesters that getting rid of almost everybody working there would be an enormous improvement.
I think the real challenge is to find the real bottom number for employment there. After all isn’t the whole point of automation and artificial intelligence that you leverage machines to do the work. Maybe the real number is one thousand or a hundred or even fifty. I think that’s where Elon should invest his time. He should figure out just how small a company is needed to run Twitter and that may tell him whether the whole thing even makes sense at all. Maybe he needs to change the “business model” for Twitter altogether and build in something more useful than just a message board for random humans.
And I think that’s what he intends to do. My guess is he thinks he can do better than Meta, YouTube and even Amazon. Maybe we’re about to find out if he’s right.