An Engineer’s Take on Elon Musk’s Twitter


I’ve been a Twitter user for over 10 years, it is the first app I open when I wake up, and the last app I check before I go to sleep, in other words,  I’m a power user. I don’t have many social networks that I use everyday aside from Twitter and Tiktok (yes I know), and this is the first time that I’m actually concerned about the future of a social network.

To give you a brief update on what happened Elon Musk recently purchased Twitter for $44 billion dollars, he obviously overpaid for it due to Twitter’s persistence through legal threats.  Now Elon isn’t buying this with all of his own money he financed this with a loan from a few partners.

After Elon bought the company he immediately fired all the board members so he’s not only the sole director of the company but also the temporary CEO this gives him complete control over the company from finances to tech.

Just this week Elon made huge moves within the company by first ordering engineers to print out all the code they’ve written for the past 6 months to a year. Yes, printing as in printing out your code on pieces of paper and presenting them to Elon and his team of Tesla engineers for code review. 

Now as an engineer myself this is extremely worrisome but hilarious at the same time because if you wrote any code in your life you know that printing out your code is not something you do everyday, having to review your code with another person on paper is something that I have never done in my life or in my career so as you can imagine how confused a lot of these engineers are.  Twitter definitely has a ton of high caliber engineers from what I read on their engineering blog, the amount of engineering they do is very impressive so as you can imagine most of these engineers are probably very confused right now, as an engineer here’s my take on what this is whole thing is actually about.  I think this is a power move by Elon,  He doesn’t actually care about what or how much code you wrote  because the number of lines (LoC) is not a measurement of how much contributions you made in the codebase.  I could easily say hey I wrote 100,000 lines of code because I just refactor this whole codebase by moving things around this could easily generate 100,000 lines of diffs but in actuality I didn’t do much to improve the product.  LOC as a measurement of your productivity is total BS. Elon knows this and he still proceeds to order the organization to go through with it and I think it’s a pretty s***** way to unjustly fire people if they don’t meet his baseline for whatever they’re measuring.  I’m pretty sure it’s Twitter is going to lose a ton of engineers, from those who are great but just didn’t want to take Elon’s BS or people who actually didn’t write much code and failed the baseline because they were doing something else but they were still good engineers, either way Twitter is going to lose a lot of talents over this.

As reported by Bloomberg, Twitter is going to cut 50% of its workforce on Friday that is a lot of people they are going to lose a lot of their talents and those who remain will have to take over the work of their departing colleagues. This is not good for the industry and given the current economic downswing we have a shortage of jobs available because a ton of tech companies are freezing their hiring spree due to low availability of money or easy loans they want to prepare their companies for the incoming recession now with a mass amount of engineers available in the market it’s going to be hard for anyone with the engineering background to get a job because you have no demands from companies while high supply or engineers looking for job so this is still probably the worst time to switch/lose your job

On the other hand Elon announced the reversal of Twitter’s remote work policy.  Folks who used to be remote will now have to come back into the office.  Elon famously said he doesn’t believe in remote work and he would like to see everyone back in the office just like how Tesla does.  Now there’s a difference I’m sure Elon knows this is, between a tech company (which you can work from anywhere) and a car manufacturing company in which you have to be at an industrial site to assemble cars. Many engineers are actually more productive when they’re remote and a lot of folks can actually take care of their family due to the time saved by avoid commuting which can result in more general happiness.  Having to recall this policy will definitely increase the amount of attrition in the company but I think this is exactly what Elon wants because he wanted to reduce workforce without giving people severance so the only way to do it is to have these draconian policies in the company in order to force people to quit.

On one hand having a person who’s very very technical, tight on money and very strict on the employee freedom to make sure employees can put out 100% of their potential this is a good thing for the company, but on the other hand this type of work policy is not scalable for the majority of people.  If you remember Elon one once slept in the factory floor in order to deliver Tesla vehicles (he called that one of the worst periods of his life) now this is a billionaire who has seemingly everything but still enjoys to delivering out products and have a vision of the future world that they want to live and they’re willing to put in the hours and unpopular control in order to change the world. I think that experience greatly influenced the way Elon thinks about how work should be for everyone.

I was a bit like Elon back when I was younger but as you go older you kind of lose that ability to be a 10x engineer at all times because it’s tiring and you don’t have as much energy, motivation and the drive. The only way for you to actually fulfill Elon’s demands is if you are as motivated as he is about transforming Twitter into the world’s town square for conversations. I personally can’t do it anymore because I am much older now but who knows it’ll be interesting to watch from the side what Twitter will grow into.



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