Twitter Is not Tesla — My Takeaways From The Final Three Weeks


Earlier than beginning this text, I went forwards and backwards with what I needed to make use of as a subtitle. Finally, “My Takeaways from the Final Three Weeks” edged out one thing about how inconceivable it feels to cowl these corporations due to how rapidly the information has been going out these days. And the reality is, I used to jot down ceaselessly, however I type of received in a loop the place I maintain beginning an article, however earlier than I’m capable of end it, one thing new occurs and my article looks like it’s tremendous outdated information.

Heck, earlier than sitting down to jot down this, I used to be brushing my enamel for mattress and fascinated about how I ought to write an article exploring why Twitter isn’t Tesla within the subsequent couple days. As I walked towards my mattress, although, I noticed, if I don’t write this now, it most likely received’t make sense to jot down a day or two from now. So, right here I’m, 2:00am, enhancing an article as a result of I really feel the important thing that Musk is lacking and that Tesla buyers aren’t fascinated about is …

Twitter isn’t Tesla

The most important downside Elon Musk has had with Twitter isn’t the blue checkmark verification. It isn’t the lack of advertisers. It isn’t even the obvious mass resignation of workers that could be taking place as I sort this, inflicting #riptwitter to development. It’s that Elon Musk is making an attempt to run Twitter the identical approach that he runs Tesla. And so they aren’t the identical. In any respect.

It’s value trying out this text about how Tesla has utilized “Agile Software program Improvement” to automotive manufacturing — although it’s now 4 years outdated, it’s nonetheless related! Tesla created a tradition constructed round enabling its staff to establish probably the most impactful issues they will resolve, fixing these issues, after which being naturally rewarded from their work. This creates a suggestions loop of staff who really feel valued, who’ve direct impression and affect on the merchandise Tesla is creating, and who’re rewarded with inventory that their work can have a direct impression on.

For this reason I consider Tesla stays far forward of each different automotive producer, and can have success in different classes like utility vitality storage, mining, insurance coverage, and so forth. In all the completely different corporations I’ve labored with, I’ve by no means seen one other firm that has carried out such an unimaginable job making a tradition like this.

And, frankly, Twitter doesn’t have this tradition. Twitter has misplaced cash for ages. When Musk began the primary spherical of layoffs, Jack Dorsey, the prior CEO and co-founder of Twitter, mentioned:

Twitter was too huge, and grew to be that dimension largely on the again of a flawed marketing strategy that centered on rising the inventory value greater than rising a sustainable enterprise mannequin. Musk got here in and figured the corporate would adapt to the agile technique instantly, and has confronted large pushback.

I’ve recognized a lot of people who work or have labored at Tesla previously. They’ve instructed me the tempo is unrelenting, however they like it. They really feel they’ve a direct impression in slowing local weather change, and that pushes them. Everybody of them knew it will be a loopy journey stepping into.

And let me simply say proper right here: if something, the chaos at Twitter proves to me why I believe legacy automotive is to date behind. Legacy automotive doesn’t have the agile technique of product improvement, and Musk has visibly demonstrated the turmoil that may occur when altering an organization with out that mindset to at least one that has it.

It takes a selected sort of individual to work in an agile setting, and most of the people don’t keep for his or her total careers. The individuals who I’ve spoken with who’ve labored at Tesla ate, drank, and slept Tesla whereas they had been there. And so they beloved it. However the majority of them needed to decelerate sooner or later — possibly to start out a household, or to journey, or simply as a result of they had been feeling burnt out.

From how I’ve had it described to me, the way in which that Tesla runs, it’s like day-after-day you’re creating a brand new startup to unravel the largest downside that you just see at that second. And, as somebody who has been a part of a lot of startups, that interval could be invigorating! The latest startup I used to be concerned with, I had labored 70 days straight for 12–14 hours a day. If the crunch had lasted for much longer, I don’t know if I might have been capable of proceed doing it. Many staff at Tesla select that type of crunch for months or years.

Twitter most likely doesn’t have many staff there who’ve been treating it as a startup. As a longtime firm, you’re anticipated to punch the clock, and do the very best you possibly can to your division. You report back to your supervisor, and for those who see an issue in one other division, you retain your mouth shut because it isn’t your job. To be clear, that is a fully superb setup for established corporations — the vast majority of huge corporations work with this type of construction in place — but it surely isn’t the construction I’d anticipate Musk to function underneath. And, with Twitter not being a worthwhile firm, this construction doesn’t enable for a simple path ahead to fixing that downside.

So, Musk arrives and instantly makes an attempt to use Tesla’s tradition to Twitter, however runs into the next issues:

First, staff don’t really feel valued. Within the final three weeks, staff have instantly been instructed to return in individual, instructed they’re anticipated to work “hardcore” hours, and in the event that they don’t state their intention to remain, they’ll be let go. Whereas I’m sure this was carried out to assist drive the least useful staff from the corporate, in observe it made it so no worker feels valued. That’s an enormous challenge.

Second, staff don’t perceive the modifications which are being applied. Even when Musk has a transparent imaginative and prescient of what he desires to do — and I consider that he does — he hasn’t defined this in a approach that everybody can perceive. It looks like there was loads of pushback to the $8 for Blue concept from inside Twitter, however Musk solid forward anyway. If I used to be an worker who had reputable issues in regards to the verification scheme and I didn’t know how one can share my concern, I might as soon as once more really feel utterly devalued and pointless.

Lastly, what’s the reward? Perhaps there’s something that I’m lacking once more, however so far as I can inform, it’s simply your common wage as an worker.

Once more, I’ll point out, whereas that is an absolute cluster at Twitter, it reveals the insane issue and ache of implementing an agile technique in a longtime firm. And to be blunt, it certain seems that Musk has put all of Twitter in danger by making this modification so rapidly. I believe finally it’s a lose-lose state of affairs. When you implement it too quick, you danger destroying the corporate, however for those who implement it too slowly, you danger dropping a ton of cash. Neither state of affairs is nice, and if Twitter was a publicly traded firm, I’d anticipate its inventory value could be completely destroyed proper now. However it will even be destroyed in the event that they stored dropping a ton of cash.

Now, think about you’re some legacy automaker, trying to vary so that you could make modifications as rapidly as Tesla does. Each choices go away you along with your inventory value getting destroyed, and each choices go away you liable to bankrupting the corporate. If something, it is a lesson in what a particular unicorn an organization like Tesla truly is to have the ability to create and proceed this type of tradition.

Can Twitter Be Saved?

I can’t fake I’ve ever run an organization like Twitter, however I’ve carried out a ton of labor with corporations of all sizes. If I had been to speak with Musk, here’s what I’d recommend doing for Twitter:

First, apologize. Significantly. To everybody — the staff, the customers, everybody. Inform everybody that you just perceive their issues, that you just haven’t been away from what you’re making an attempt to do, and that you just hope folks may give you and the others on the firm the good thing about the doubt as you begin transferring ahead. Level out a few belongings you hope folks can discover already — I, for one, have seen that the quantity of bot spam has decreased by an unimaginable quantity — however acknowledge that it wasn’t sufficient to create confidence within the general plan.

Secondly, outline objectives for Twitter. Name it the Twitter Grasp Plan. Lots has been fabricated from advertisers leaving the platform, however I get it. Actually, I’m presently working with an individual who has overseen thousands and thousands of {dollars} of social media promoting, and when Musk took over, that cash was pulled. Not due to any dislike of Musk, however as a result of the plan for Twitter is extraordinarily unclear. On high of that, Musk’s retweet of that insane Paul Pelosi conspiracy idea did nothing however drive this level residence. Clearly apologize for that tweet, and use it for instance of how the plan that you just wish to implement isn’t in place but, as a result of it wouldn’t have been carried out in the identical approach. In any other case, advertisers fear that they’ll be related to loopy concepts, customers assume it’s the wild west the place they will say something, and staff fear they’re working for somebody like Alex Jones who makes use of their platform with out pondering and really damages folks.

This is just not sufficient:

Lastly, create an area for open dialog with folks at Twitter about the way you’re going to maneuver the corporate ahead, ask for and take heed to their perception, and create a reward construction for those with the very best concepts. On the identical time, work out what the purpose is — is it profitability, is it consumer progress, is it paid verification, or is it to create an open and trusted place for verifiable data? If it’s the latter, acknowledge that Twitter might need to be run at a loss for a time frame earlier than the profitability comes, because the belief should be constructed first.

It’s laborious to belief that Twitter will maintain what works once we don’t know what the purpose is to find out if one thing “labored.”


Twitter isn’t Tesla. Tesla has a singular tradition. That distinctive tradition will proceed to serve Tesla in nice methods. The turmoil at Twitter simply goes to point out how tough change could be.

And that’s it. I promise I’m going to get again to some Tesla and different cleantech writing quickly — I do know, I’ve mentioned that earlier than, however I imply it! The Tesla Semi is about to start out deliveries, and seeing as how my first article right here was on the Tesla Semi, I believe it will be necessary to revisit it to see if I nonetheless assume it’s as huge of a sport changer as I did again then. Spoiler: sure!




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