Elon Musk Is Wildly Successful. That Won't Help Him at Twitter

He's facing a human problem, not an engineering one
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2022 4:08 PM CST
Elon Musk Is Wildly Successful. That Won't Help Him at Twitter
Elon Musk attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, on March 22.   (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File)

Elon Musk has been at the helm of Twitter for less than two weeks, and at the Atlantic, Charlie Warzel writes that he's bungling it, badly. Warzel zeroes in on freewheeling tweets, advertisers running for the exits, and a train-wreck layoff process as proof that what "casual observers" assume—that the guy who gave us spacecrafts and swank electric cars is a business genius—is proving not to be the case. The Musk he has observed is, "at best, a mediocre executive—and undoubtedly a terrible, distracted manager," writes Warzel, who reached out to some experts to make sure he wasn't taking an unfair view of his performance. They reassured Warzel he wasn't.

One referenced Musk's Monday tweet advising his followers to vote Republican. "The dude could've napped and saved billions of dollars," he said of the likelihood that tweet caused more advertisers to flee. But Warzel sees his management skills as being the truly astonishingly bad part. He started by canning "some well-liked executives" and "pompously asked engineers to print out their code so Tesla staffers could review it" (he then told them to shred the code instead). He subsequently laid off nearly half the company by email, and "in an act of extreme cowardice, didn't even sign his name." For Warzel and the experts he spoke with, the heart of the issue is that "Twitter is less of an engineered machine and more of a chaotic collection of humans," and while he's exceptional at tackling engineering problems, he's simply not equipped to brilliantly navigate human ones. (Read the full column.)

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