Nov 26, 2022·edited Nov 26, 2022

I disagree that "Twitter wasn't *their* [progressive lefties'] site". Twitter was the platform where you could undisturbedly spam everyone's threads with fake crypto giveaway scams, but the words "Ellen Page" would get you banned. It wasn't a platform that happened to attract woke lefties; it was a platform by woke lefties for woke lefties. And because of its outsized influence at least in the US (where it has become a fake reality for journalists, a fake focus group for politicians and a fake feedback channel for companies), it would bias the entire society in their direction, something that is no longer happening after Elon's takeover. (Mastodon isn't going to replace it; its decentralized nature prevents it from being mistaken for the whole world. It's actually a good case of free speech without free reach!)

So, thank you Elon; this was worth it, even if Twitter disappears in a puff of smoke and ashes tomorrow.

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If Musk destroys Twitter, he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

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I was a production engineer at Facebook for seven years. It's SRE with slight philosophical differences on how to interact with software engineers.

People that make these headcount estimates of Twitter could keep running with low hundreds of employees are way off base. That might kind of make sense if they didn't own their own infra, and you just had people maintaining front-end bits and business logic running on something like AWS.

But they do own their own infra. As far as I can tell, they have at least three datacenters, and hundreds of thousands of servers. Problems become very different when you run at a massive scale like Twitter. You discover you need whole teams to take care of problems that didn't even exist when the product had half as much traffic.

Also, I'm kind of disappointed in the recycled anti-Musk takes I was hearing on the podcast. There are interesting angles to take that aren't favorable to Musk, but Katie and Jessie seemed to be taking the liberal consensus of "Musk is a crazy person or Nazi" at face value.

For example, the way the deal was structured requires massive restructuring of the company. They were already losing money, and Musk's purchase added a billion dollars in debt service per year. Maybe he's a crazy person for structuring the deal this way, or in how he's handling the cuts, or maybe he's intentionally trying to scare away all but the True Believers. He was able to attract geohot to come work on Twitter things, and that guy is a genius.

While I said that those low hundred headcount estimates were far too low, there likely is a ton of bloat at Twitter. If they're anything like Facebook they've accumulated lots of career-minded folks that don't really care about what they work on. High salaries attract top talent, but they also attract people that want to do as little work as possible to draw a high salary. They grind leetcode, ace the interview, and then figure out how little they can do to keep their jobs and still get promoted. If you're lucky you won't find yourself depending on the output of such a person, because they'll slow you down. However, that's hard to avoid. When I started at Facebook I never encountered such people, but when I finished I'd say it was most of the people we were hiring.

Also, agreed that it's awful how Musk spreads memes without attribution. Why doesn't he just retweet the originals?

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Two things can be correct:

1. Musk is running Twitter badly, and:

2. A good chunk of his opposition (those that suffer from protest disorder and the neocons) are morons.

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I’m probably posting too early since I’m only 20 minutes in, but I think it’s likely the mess since the Elon takeover has been all about finances. Twitter was a poorly run company that ironically has Donald Trump to thank for their only 2 profitable years ever in 2018 & 2019. There are even rumors that they were on the verge of insolvency as early as 2016 prior to the Trump hysteria that buoyed it in a similar way to cable news orgs.

Not that insolvency was really something most people at Twitter seemed to think about. Based on tweets by former staffers...seems like they expected to be able to lose $200M every year forever (since becoming a public company they come out at -1.2B). This entitlement culture seems as if it was deeply entrenched.

This is not unique to Twitter, and a similar reckoning is in store for A LOT or SV companies that have lived for years even decades off VC investments. This is however probably the first such reckoning to be live tweeted. I actually think some of the crazy emails like “2PM 10th Floor” was more likely a process to identify leaks to the media, but obviously don’t know.

End of the day, I would never want to work for Elon Musk even though I respect some of the things he’s been able to accomplish. I also would have never wanted to work for Steve Jobs, who when all is said and done was probably a worse boss and person than Elon but has always managed to get a pass on awful behavior. At the end of the day, the whole ordeal seems like a very public reckoning between polar opposite extremes. I think Twitter was probably filled with a lot of overpaid people who wanted to believe they were saving the world and weren’t ever going to help make it into a sustainable company. I expect many didn’t even do that much (no idea how Twitter could have had almost 5K employees in the US).

Likewise Musk is (self-admittedly) on the spectrum, and expects employees to be as “hardcore” as he is which is just not realistic. Similar stories have come out of Space-X. I doubt many people singing Elon’s praises would tolerate working for him. I think Jesse is right that people embrace Musk more as the enemy of my enemy and it doesn’t need to go further than that.

It’s a shit show, but honestly given the state of Twitter over the last 6 years, could it really have gone any other way? Would someone other than Elon been able to come in and make a single change without facing a gauntlet of hysterical bullshit? I doubt it.

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I'm surprised nobody is talking about the "Elon is Snape" conspiracy theory. It goes like this: Musk is the biggest green energy mogul in the world, and by going anti-woke / constantly owning the libs online he has turned the adoption of electric vehicles, and of green energy more broadly, into a cause that right wingers and populists will actually, enthusiastically support. He has broken the "green energy = left wing" cultural association, single handedly making it politically possible for humanity to save itself from the coming climate change apocalypse! Imagine Musk weeping silently as he hits send on lib-owning shitpost after lib-owning shitpost, knowing that despite the harm he is causing to marginalized communities (and his own soul) with every tweet, this is the *only" way to save the human race...The bravest person I know.

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After what I'd seen from Jesse on Twitter regarding both Musk and Israel, I was relieved to hear him being fairly nuanced in his take on both. Which affirms what we mostly knew about Twitter already: it doesn't convey nuance very well. I am definitely a "pervert for nuance" but can't remember who said that, or why, in the Park Slope episode.

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I think the only thing more annoying than Musk is all the people dickriding him obsessively.

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I thought Katie was a bit off-base on this. Management tells companies to move to X location (including moving from working at home) all the time. Even public services companies.

It's happened to me twice, having to move physical location because one office is closing, and then having to return to work after working from home after two years. I don't see why this is a big deal to be honest.

Having a large-recognised company on your resume is huge currency; I doubt many will be overly disadvantaged. The one thing I find grossly unfair is the time window of employees saying they wanted to stay on. It's not uncommon for people to go on holiday and turn off their work email or be out with Covid or whatever. The time window to reply was disturbing.

So many gender-critical women who said fairly innocent things were banned. Some did rely on Twitter to drive business to small businesses (indeed Meghan Murphy among them). So perhaps it's a balance of some people being disadvantaged but others getting back the opportunities of most.

I dunno, eccentric CEOs is nothing new. CEOs shaping policy around their personal ethos is nothing new.

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True about Israelis being hot. The officer checking my passport on arrival was so handsome I nearly lost my balance.

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Wow! Mention Musk and Israel and for some reason the comment section goes to sh*t. At least all of the new subscribers can pay for more pizza and Moose toys :)

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This episode is why I subscribe and pay for the privilege. You’ve saved me the bother of looking into Mastodon and finding a rationale for avoiding like the plague.

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Twitter, as is any publicly listed company, is required to act in the interests of its shareholders. When Musk made an offer to purchase without due diligence and Twitter’s stock fell, the company had to force the sale.

The 7,500 employees for a microblogging service is very high. It’s not technically difficult - less than a few hundred people could keep the the site running.

The financial requirements on the loan requirements for the purchase are set. There isn’t a ton of wiggle room.

I’m amazed Musk is doing rapid A/B testing in broad daylight. People aren’t used to this. The tech market is contracting with the economy. Competitors have hiring freezes and very short lists of ex-Twitter folks are considered for hire.

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I don’t give a shit about twitter as a platform. What makes me mad about Musk is how he is on labor issues. He’s staunchly anti-worker and treats his employees poorly. That’s the beginning and end of this for me. Musk is a union buster and I hate him for it. Blue checks or whatever are a distraction from the labor issue at play here.

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Katie's statement that Eli Lilly's stock price plummeted because of the fake "insulin is free" account is not born out by the timing of the stock price moves.

The tweet was sent around mid-day on Thursday, Eli-Lillys stock price actually rose slightly that afternoon (along with similar sector stocks). The drop in share price on the following day (24 hours after the initial tweet) was part of a pharma-sector wide drop in share price, along with other non-growth stocks like defense.

The origin of the "Eli Lilly's share price tanked after fake tweet" all traces back to a thread by Rafael Shimunov a long-time activist (and obviously a blue-check).

Not sure if Katie saw that thread or just read one of the many news reports that, in true Twitter 1.0 style, all relied solely on Shimunov's thread as the source of truth with zero attempt on each journo's part to verify.

Happy to provide links if Katie (or Jesse) want to to check this out for themselves.

Which they should, because it's a perfect example of why this whole "opening up the blue-check to the plebs will spread misinformation" is so bogus. Blue-check twitter is already the primary source of misinformation out there. And the status attached the check-mark is a big reason behind why many journalists will just uncritically repeat their tweets as if it's verified news.

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Nov 27, 2022·edited Nov 27, 2022

Being in favour of free speech doesn’t mean you are obliged to platform Alex Jones.

The guy has just been found liable in defamation cases in two states. Free speech doesn’t compel you to enable someone else’s defamation. Social media platforms were right to boot him.

Was this Musk’s stated justification for why Jones would not be allowed back? No. Free speech is complex and people often have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. Musk clearly doesn’t get it. But I’m not so sure Katie does either when she acts as if a commitment to free speech means everyone should be open to Alex Jones and gets to shit talk their boss publicly.

Speech has consequences and so does censorship. The tension is constant.

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