Twitter headed to crash and burn

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You have to respect a man who leaves important life decisions to strangers on the internet! Elon Musk via Twitter (@elonmusk)

Elon Musk loves polls, but not always

by ayodipupo adetola, contributor

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Had it been someone relevant, I might have thought this. But since I’m talking about Elon, I guess the phrase “as expected” will do. Despite having precious few expectations, my guy managed to both exceed and fail them simultaneously. I mean, on the one hand, he lasted longer than Liz Truss, so that’s a tentative plus. But on the other hand, if he’d bailed out earlier, he might have kept a smidge of his (barely existent) dignity.

Since rocket boy is currently making a name for himself as the single person who has lost the most money (~$180-200 billion USD), it is challenging to find this scenario surprising. Considering that Twitter was somewhat notorious for being a money sink before he even got there, Musk’s hopes of it turning a profit were misguided at best. Considering Musk’s track record with technology (self-driving cars? Cybertruck?), this whole thing was really fated to go one way.

His way of running Twitter includes firing large swathes of staff, insisting everyone return to HQ (which he isn’t paying rent on), and making significant company decisions via Twitter polls. I won’t claim to be a CEO or anything, but I’m pretty sure ‘majority rules’ decision making is best left to people with a stake in the company rather than randoms on the internet (and the surplus of bots that Musk insists do not exist).

One also wonders why Musk loves polls so much, especially as he seems to have problems with accepting the results if they aren’t the ones he wants. A nice example of this was his considering the idea of only letting those who paid for his NFT checkmark vote on polls (see: disenfranchisement). He’s not great at taking criticism. As a matter of fact, it has taken him a remarkable amount of time to discover that we (anyone who doesn’t slavishly simp for him) just aren’t that into him as a person.

Being booed at Chappelle’s show seems to have been legitimately shocking to him, for some reason. Whether it’s his sexual harassment scandals, levelling accusations of pedophilia, profiteering off his father’s emerald mine, or general unpleasantness as a person, it’s rather amazing that this guy just keeps failing upward. Also, he doesn’t make rockets. He didn’t found Tesla, he just bought the ‘founder’ title.

That’s why he hasn’t been cast out on a rusty rail, even after having Tesla’s share price drop 60 per cent from his announcement to buy Twitter till now. And despite having convinced people that he’s a rocket engineer, he couldn’t even stay in that lane. His stockholders call for him to focus more on his car company since his association with Twitter has a fascinating way of making Tesla stock drop. It’s like seeing this guy mess up a social media company makes people less confident in his cars, which makes sense. It’s one thing for Twitter to crash and burn, but if the Tesla you’re driving does the same…

Musk’s most recent poll was one to decide an assuredly small matter: whether he was to step down as CEO or not. If I held Twitter stock right now, I’d probably be tearing my hair out by the fistful. It seems that every Tweet, every decision, and every comment by Musk is an attempt to do a bankruptcy speed run, which again is very funny to me since I have no stake there. But to the workers who sleep at the HQ and are desperately coding and adding harebrained features according to their boss’ whims, this whole thing probably really sucks. I feel bad for the ones who didn’t get out when the getting was good. But considering that everyone who got laid off isn’t getting their full severance package, I think I feel bad for everyone who ever darkened the threshold of Twitter HQ.

But onto the meat of the topic – if Musk is to step down, who will take his place? He recently tweeted that he would step down when he found someone ‘foolish enough’ to take the job. And he would still be running the server and software teams, so for anyone who feared the company may improve, he’ll still be there to mess it up. Who could forget his odd requirements of grading employees on how much code they wrote? I’m no software engineer, but I think the point is to reduce extraneous code instead of having tons of bloat. Indeed, it will be challenging to find a replacement.

The fact that one would have to be ‘foolish’ to take the job inspires little confidence in seeing a qualified candidate. Namely, anyone with two neurons to rub together wouldn’t touch the position even with someone else’s hand. And a person stupid enough to take the job even after seeing the very public fallout is fighting an uphill battle. They have to try to undo the damage done to the company while being derided as an idiot for even attempting it. Suffice it to say, it will be a while before anyone takes the title of Chief Twit from Musk (although I doubt the swap will ever really take the name from him). But eventually, he’ll stop being the CEO, so it’s kind of a win. Moral of this story? Make sure to vote.

Vox populi, vox Dei!

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