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Twitter braces for layoffs under Elon Musk

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Since Thursday afternoon, when Elon Musk completed its $44 billion acquisition of Twitter and dramatically fired four of its top executives, company employees have been waiting for a message from their new leaders to explain what could happen. What changes and what stays the same? Who will be fired and when?

However, at press time, no such message has been delivered to the company’s approximately 7,500 employees. And with Musk reportedly planning to cut spending before Tuesday, when many employees will receive new stock exchangesit seems that such decisions will get to the heart of the matter.

The process was frightening and disorienting, according to conversations with eight employees today and over the weekend. In the absence of official communication, workers in Slack have searched for clues and gathered in private Discords to share the latest rumors.

“Planning is happening and going as quickly as possible, but it’s not complete.”

In Slack, an employee shared a note they had received from Leslie Berland, Twitter’s chief marketing officer. “It’s very destabilizing, I know, and the pressure of the press makes everything worse,” Berland wrote. “Planning is happening and going as quickly as possible, but it is not complete. Two things I wanted to be sure about is that Elon has denied ever planning a 75% layoff and stated that it was not true that he was trying to rush a layoff before a November 1st vest. Neither of those things is true.”

The Washington Post reported that layoffs would affect about a quarter of the workforcewith a major impact on teams including sales, product, engineering, legal, and trust and security.

The turmoil has divided the company into roughly two camps: those who nervously wait to see if they still have a job after cutting land, and those who work frantically to ship new positions at the risk of being fired if they don’t. to do.

One thing that made people nervous was the Friday afternoon instruction that technicians print the code from the last 30 to 60 days they wroteas platform game was the first to report. It was part of a series of measures Musk and his team took in an effort to identify Twitter’s best and worst-performing employees as harbingers of layoffs.

Musk has brought more than 50 Tesla employees to Twitter to help with the transition CNBC reported. An employee we spoke to said they received a call late at night from a Tesla engineer inquiring about their team and which engineers are most valued at the company.

Frustration over the lack of information has seeped into the company’s Slack channels. An employee wrote this:

since no leadership type seems willing or interested in filling the void: if you’re feeling down and horrified right now, just want you to know you’re not alone. this sucks.

especially want to recognize our colleagues in the field of visas and others with precarious work needs and relationships.

I wish everyone a smooth and speedy journey to job stability and security wherever we land.

In other Slack channels, employees share contact information in case they suddenly lose access to their communications, another employee told us.

“It’s definitely Hunger Games, but everyone in the game is trying to help each other,” the contributor said.

Musk has pressured engineers to work on at least two major projects and complete them within days or weeks. One is changes to Twitter Blue what users have to pay to keep their verification badges, possibly as much as $20 a month. The second, that axios reported today for the first time and what we can confirm is a plan to revive the short video app Vine, either as a standalone product or as part of the core Twitter app. Our colleague at The edge Alex Heath reported that in case of changes to Blue, the features must be shipped before November 7 or the team will be fired.

The Vine project has so far generated moderate enthusiasm, we’re told. More than a dozen engineers volunteered to be part of the project after Musk gave the go-ahead on Sunday night.

“You are all software engineers. You know what needs to be written and improved. Do it. You are in charge.”

Other employees are encouraged to build something – anything – and show it to Musk. In a Slack post we saw, a technical director urged his team to come up with new products and features and share them directly with their new CEO. “In the best case scenario, you get feedback. You may be asked to send it as soon as possible,” the director wrote. “At worst, you’ll be asked to stop and work on something else. Even in this case, at least you’ve been working on something you love.”

“Please don’t wait until you get a chance,” the director added.

Similarly, Behnam Rezaei, senior director of software engineering at Twitter, sent a note to his team on Monday acknowledging that “big changes” were coming. “I think the main change will be a cultural change,” he said, according to a copy of the email obtained by platform game. “Some good, some bad.”

Rezaei tried to rally the troops and told the engineers to focus on the dispatch code as soon as possible:

So if you’re asking what to do now: do good technical work. Write code. Fix bugs, keep the site up to date. I know the criteria for being on Twitter is that. It’s not working on some fancy project for Elon. The good culture change is, it’s shipping and delivery. I encourage you to rotate more about coding and sending, and less about documentation, planning, strategy etc. If you want to be in a “special” group this week, code and send 5x as [much as] before. Building what Elon asks for or finds sexy isn’t the criteria. Being impactful and switching products and helping our users is the criterion. So you don’t need any commands from me. You are all software engineers. You know what needs to be written and improved. Do it. You are in charge.

Not everyone is upset about the increased urgency at the company, we’re told. Twitter has long suffered from a slow pace of product development; some employees we spoke to found Musk’s breakneck approach to product development at least somewhat refreshing.

But Musk’s attention can also be nerve-wracking. An employee we spoke to said they had mixed feelings about working on a project Musk is known to focus on, such as Vine.

“In normal times, I’d be excited to work on this,” they said. “But this feels like asking for Sauron’s eye to stare at you.”

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