Elon Musk Slashes Bureaucracy, Giving Twitter a Chance to Soar

Elon Musk Slashes Bureaucracy, Giving Twitter a Chance to Soar. By the Rob Weisenthal at the Wall Street Journal.

Since Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he has undertaken a rapid restructuring that few large technology companies would attempt unless faced with an immediate liquidity crisis. Minutes after closing his purchase of the company, he started a process that reduced the workforce from 7,500 to 2,500 in 10 days.

Media pundits immediately slammed him, arguing that his slash-and-burn strategy would destroy one of the world’s most important social-media platforms — already in danger under the burden of $14 billion in debt. … But the restructuring of Twitter won’t destroy the company.

Mr. Musk is trying to cure a degenerative corporate disease: systemic paralysis. Symptoms include cobwebs of corporate hierarchies with unclear reporting lines and unwieldy teams, along with work groups and positions that have opaque or nonsensical mandates. Paralyzed companies are often led by a career CEO who builds or maintains a level of bureaucracy that leads to declines in innovation, competitive stature and shareholder value.

Restore a working culture:

Mr. Musk set his new tone immediately. He eliminated a 12-member team responsible for artificial-intelligence ethics in machine learning, the entire corporate communications department, and a headquarters commissary that cost $13 million a year (despite prior management’s pandemic decree that Twitter employees would be “remote forever”).

Three attributes give Mr. Musk a better chance of rebuilding Twitter into an innovative force in social media: He is an operator, an engineer and a sole owner.

  • As an operator, he knows he doesn’t need five layers between him and the employees who actually do the work. His recent email to the engineering team stating, “Anyone who actually writes software, please report to the 10th floor at 2 pm today,” makes it clear he doesn’t want a membrane of corporate yes-men between him and the people who actually build things.
  • As an engineer himself, he will command respect and loyalty from certain existing and new engineers, and he won’t be jollied into agreeing to cushy timelines or accepting flippant rejections of his product requests that have merit.
  • As sole owner, he can also quickly terminate the members of Twitter’s black hole of middle management, that cold and lonely place where great ideas go to die at big companies. …

Those employees who relish getting things done will thrive. This blueprint didn’t originate with Mr. Musk. It’s the old 1980s “live to work” culture rather than the 2020s “live to woke” culture of Twitter’s previous regime.

Sack the bureaucrats. What do they bring to the table, except hostile ideology and parasitic waste?