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Posts published in “Startuppery”

[thirty] minus twenty: why i wouldn’t work for elon musk at twitter

centaur 0

Because he took Twitter private. Look, I'm not against private companies per se: I'm part of one (Thinking Ink Press) and have started another (Logical Robotics). And I'm not against Elon Musk per se either: I have some criticisms of how he's running Twitter, but those criticisms are not material to my point, and, hey, he has made me a great deal of money over the years as a Tesla and Twitter shareholder, so, perhaps he knows what he's doing in this case (though, based on how it's going, I seriously doubt it.)

No, my issue is, it's not a public company anymore. I strongly believe most large companies should be public, and that I would not work for a large private corporation if I could possibly help it. Private corporations exist to serve their shareholders; public corporations exist to serve the public. We structure them for the benefit of shareholders to encourage people to create companies and improve the economy, but going public places the company under increased oversight to ensure it is serving the public interest.

Public corporations place structure between the shareholders and the business: shareholders elect a board, which selects a CEO, who selects the employees of the company and directs its business. So at a public corporation, both the lowliest employee and the CEO work for the company, not the shareholders.

This insulation creates a great equalizer. In the end, everyone at the company, from the CEO to the mail room temp, are all responsible for serving the company. At a public company, you don't work for your manager; you both work for the company, and you both should act in its best interests.

At a private company, this is no longer the case. And at Twitter, this is definitely no longer the case. Elon Musk is removing security features and artificially boosting his own engagement and firing anyone who contradicts him, much less disagrees with him, which is a big problem since he doesn't realize he's incompetent at running software companies (this kind of nonsense is what got him fired from the company that became PayPal, after all) and he's desperate to cut costs and boost revenues before the debt payments eat them alive.

At a healthy company - a public company - you have the moral right to say, "No, sir, that doesn't work that way," or "No, ma'am, I won't do that; that's harmful to the company." Admittedly, this can get you fired, but you still have the moral right to do it.

At Twitter, however, it's Elon's show. And he has the right to run it the way that he wants - he certainly paid enough for it. So, if I worked at Twitter ... I think I would have to have taken the severance, if offered, because while I will work for a public company, I won't work in a feudal kingdom.

The King can boost his own tweets.

-the Centaur

Pictured: More graffiti, from an undisclosed location.