Another day, another roundup of Twitter — from an early investor describing Elon Musk as “lonely and soaring” to a billionaire owner considering putting the entire Twitter platform behind a paywall.
A former senior Twitter engineer also shared how the company wanted him to comply with a carrier request to track the locations of individual users from when they left home in the morning to wherever they went during the day…
Elon Musk “alone and flies away”
Chris Sacca, Twitter’s first investor and venture capitalist, said Musk had one of the greatest minds he’s ever known, but the billionaire is completely alone now because he has no one around him who dares to speak truth to power.
I have known Elon for a long time. I admired his thinking and his ambition. His ability to notice and challenge the assumptions implicit in the rest of our thinking is a rare kind of genius that I have only seen in the greatest minds. Its success to date is no accident. Tesla is the positive world […]
But Twitter isn’t going to improve for users, advertisers aren’t coming back at scale, and its huge investment just isn’t going to pay off unless there’s real dialogue leading to progress and to a considered stability. […]
This guy is alone. He has lots of “buddies” and is the life of parties and dinner parties. But the hard truth is he’s all alone right now and he’s piloting this […]
I really want this thing to work. The only way I see that happening is if someone around Elon can speak truth to power and complement his bold and ambitious instincts with some desperately needed nuance. Humans are not math and physics problems […]
I can’t sit and watch a guy I’ve admired for over a decade grope for this opportunity, stir up more craziness, and probably hurt a bunch of people in the process.
all the thread worth reading.
Musk considered paying the whole platform
A Platform The report states that “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk considered putting the whole of Twitter behind a paywall.
[The paywall would mean] charge most or all users a subscription fee to use Twitter.
Musk and Sacks have both discussed the idea in recent meetings, according to a person familiar with the matter. Such a plan could allow anyone to use Twitter for a limited time each month, but would require a subscription to continue browsing, the person said.
It’s unclear how serious Musk and Sacks are about the paywall; Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
Twitter Blue plans would lose money
Musk touted Twitter Blue as a way to generate additional revenue, but it seems the calculators concluded it would have the opposite effect.
Employees warned of a secondary feature of the new Blue that Musk added at the last minute: halving the ad load in the Twitter app. Estimates showed that Twitter would lose about $6 in advertising revenue per user per month in the United States by making the change, sources said. Factoring in Apple and Google’s share of the $8 monthly subscription, Twitter would likely be to lose money on Blue if the ad-light plan is adopted.
“The fundamentals of the business just aren’t there,” said a former employee who worked on the plans.
The hugely controversial planned paid verification feature was delayed after the mid-terms.
Twitter wants laid-off engineers back; faces lawsuits
Musk laid off about 50% of Twitter’s global staff, which amounts to about 3,700 layoffs. These were reportedly made after managers were asked to provide two-sentence reports on each of their team members: one sentence on what they did, the other on why they should be retained .
Surprisingly, this absurdly reductionist approach has backfired, with Twitter now looking to rehire some of those they fired.
Some of those who were laid off with three months’ pay fear that Twitter could simply rescind their layoff notices and then fire them for cause if they refuse to return – which would indicate losing payment. Others who have been laid off are suing the company, saying they were selected because they were currently unproductive, for reasons ranging from maternity leave to cancer treatment.
Twitter wanted to sell location data of individual users
A former senior Twitter engineer has posted a thread describing how a mobile carrier asked the company to sell him detailed location data. Steve Krenzel said Twitter asked him to comply, and it was only his refusal to do so, and escalation to Jack Dorsey, who saw the plan scrapped.
I ended up meeting a manager who came huffing and huffing. The director said, “We should know when users leave their homes, their commute to work, and wherever they go throughout the day. Anything less is useless. We get a lot more than that from other tech companies” […]
My last email written on Twitter was for Jack. To his credit, he responded quickly with something to the effect of “Let me look into this and make sure there is no misunderstanding. It doesn’t seem right. We wouldn’t want to do that.
Still, all the thread worth reading. Tune in for tomorrow’s Twitter roundup.
Photo: Warren Wong/Unsplash
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