Elon Musk recently purchased Twitter for $44B. Despite a long and slow purchase (with multiple potential lawsuits), Elon has been making changes quickly at Twitter.
While some of these changes are for the better, there have been several head-turning changes that only someone running a brand-new startup would make, not a company that is already worth billions of dollars.
When you have to post this tweet as an “apology” for recent changes, you know it is going to be a wild ride:
Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 9, 2022
We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.
1. Charging $8/mo for “Twitter Blue”
Originally getting a verified checkmark on Twitter required a lengthy verification process to ensure verified accounts were who they said they were. Faced with declining revenues (and a need to justify his $44B purchase price), Elon launched “Twitter Blue,” a subscription service that would give subscribers a verified checkmark.
Elon was originally going to charge $20/mo until he got into a Twitter debate with Stephen King and eventually settled on $8/mo.
I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
Of course, despite Elon’s insistence that he needed to charge for the blue checkmark as “the only way to defeat the bots & trolls,” within hours of launch multiple fake accounts were created for large brands. The most infamous of which was a fake Eli Lilly account that claimed insulin would now be free, resulting in Eli Lilly’s stock price dropping from $368 a share to $346 a share, erasing billions in market cap.
2. Launching “Official” Labels and Rolling Back Hours Later
For a brief time on November 9th, Elon rolled out grey “official” labels for verified real accounts such as government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers, and some public figures. This was the purpose that the original “blue check” served and having two labels on an account, especially after the “Twitter Blue” fiasco, was extremely confusing for users.
3. Sleeping at the Office
We appreciate Elon’s dedication to the job, but given the chaos already happening at Twitter, sleepless nights at the office might lead to even poorer decisions. Elon previously said that he gets six hours of sleep a night with a bedtime of between 1am and 3am. While Elon will cut out the commute with this move, an office bedroom situation will surely not deliver a peaceful sleeping environment.
I’ve been at Twitter SF HQ all night. Will be working & sleeping here until org is fixed.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 14, 2022
4. Saying Twitter Might Go “Bankrupt”
It’s a good thing that Elon took Twitter private, or else Twitter shares would surely have plummeted last week in addition to the stocks of companies affected by troll accounts. Elon even went so far as to say at an all-hands meeting that “bankruptcy is not out of the question,” if it doesn’t find new sources of revenue soon. Given how many users might leave the platform given the current chaos, Elon shouldn’t make any more drastic changes, or else his bankrupt statement might be self-fulfilling.
5. Changes Work-From-Home Policy
Elon has never been a fan of working from home, and he made that clear to Twitter employees. In that same all-hands meeting where Elon said Twitter might go bankrupt, he told employees that if they could come into a Twitter office physically, they had to or else “resignation accepted.”