Twitter’s Elon Musk era has arrived.
According to numerous reports, Musk’s takeover of the social-media giant on Oct. 27 was immediately followed by semi-controlled chaos, with engineers working through the weekend and executives compiling lists of employees for potential layoffs. “There seem to be 10 people ‘managing’ for every one person coding,” Musk Tweeted on Oct. 30, which suggests some Twitter employees could be facing a very bad week.
Before Musk’s takeover, documents obtained by The Washington Post suggested Musk would potentially eliminate roughly 75 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 employees. Twitter was already facing the prospect of significant cuts to its workforce and infrastructure by the end of 2023, including a reported $800 million in payroll reductions.
But once the chaos settles, what will Musk actually do with his absurdly large purchase? Previously, he hinted at plans to turn Twitter into a “super app” that offers users a combination of services in addition to social media—a type of app that’s hugely popular in China but not really present in the U.S. According to The Verge, Twitter might also start charging its verified users $20 per month in order to maintain their status.
Despite all the chatter about job cuts, Musk needs critical engineering staff to make his plans a reality (and drive growth, which is the only way he’ll service the acquisition’s enormous debt payments). According to levels.fyi, which crowdsources compensation data, Twitter’s technology professionals earn six-figure salaries, especially once they reach mid-career; for example, software engineers at the SWE II average $250,000 per year between salary, stock, and bonuses. Musk will need to keep paying that if he wants to retain talent, especially since tech giants such as Meta and Google are suddenly very interested in poaching Twitter’s best and brightest.
What happens now is anyone’s guess. Will Musk renew Twitter and turn it into an engine of engagement and growth? Or is the site doomed to slowly decline and die? Only time will tell.