Elon Musk’s image is increasingly suffering from the public chaos of the Twitter takeover. It’s no better in the company itself. Even among the staff, who saw him as a savior for Twitter.

Twitter was a company in which many things ran differently than in others. Founder Jack Dorsey placed little emphasis on making all decisions, leaving much to the workforce. Not every employee was a fan of this approach. Expectations were correspondingly high when Elon Musk took over the helm in October. But the joy was apparently short-lived.

That emerges from a very detailed report of the “New York magazine” which relies on reports of more than two dozen current and former employees of the company. And they have a lot to tell.

Hard transition

The change in communication was particularly difficult. Founder and longtime CEO Jack Dorsey and his successors had maintained a very lax management style. The employees were used to making a lot of decisions themselves, and being able to take a tough approach to management on any issue. It was over in one fell swoop under Musk, several of them recall.

Instead, the boss only met with his employees, if at all, to announce decisions that had already been made, often acting arrogantly and condescendingly. “You just don’t understand it,” he is said to have hurled at employees when they critically questioned his sometimes very vague visions.

Also read: Earnings at all costs – Why Twitter needs to make money even more urgently under Musk

Confusing appointments

In any case, many employees quickly got the impression that Musk’s expertise was limited. An employee who only calls herself Alicia and was actually rather optimistic about the takeover was supposed to explain the high costs of the servers to the tired-looking Musk. “I thought to myself: well, if he wants to talk about money, he’s welcome,” she reports. But when she began to calculate the details for him, she was immediately interrupted. “I was a programmer back in the ’90s, I know how computers work,” Musk interrupted.

Instead of technology, he suddenly wanted to discuss the chance of long-running videos for the platform – in an appointment with an infrastructure team that had nothing to do with it. Musk seemed aware of who he was meeting with. “This meeting is too technical for you,” he is said to have scared his close colleague David Sacks out of the room. The engineering team, who were not allowed to talk to him about technology, were speechless.

Accordingly, Alicia was amused when Musk suddenly asked all programmers to submit their work so that he could check it himself. “I was really looking forward to the meeting,” she reports. Instead of her highly complex programs, which she had developed over ten years, she printed out a few sloppy lines of the programming language Python, which was considered to be rather simple. “That’s more in line with his collar size,” is her malicious assessment. But in the end the date was simply canceled without replacement.

No bonus for Musk fans

Some employees were extremely excited to meet Musk. Twitter employees who did not agree with the generally rather liberal opinion in the company had joined forces in a separate channel on Slack called “i-dissent” (roughly: I disagree). There was a discussion about why trans people should no longer be addressed by their old names. When Musk’s takeover became known, the employee there really cheered.

“I sent him a Slack message,” he enthused. After all, the takeover is a gigantic opportunity. After the first round of layoffs, he was fired anyway. And all other particularly active participants in the channel as well.

Even those who are convinced go

Even staunch fans of Musk’s strategy weren’t safe from her. “Elon Musk is a brilliant engineer and scientist, he has a golden touch,” said developer Like Simons in chats about the takeover. The leadership was too weak for him, the working posture too relaxed.

Even after Musk fired half the workforce and suddenly had to consider bringing some developers back, he remained on the billionaire’s side. “The people I’m supposed to bring back are weak, lazy and unmotivated. They were fired for a reason,” he said. A month later he had left the company himself.

“This company is done.”

With his ruthless approach and his clear positioning against the old corporate culture, Musk alienated even the most staunch supporters of Twitter, the reports concluded. Only employees remained who, for various reasons such as a visa or health insurance, had no other choice. Or who would coldly see the power vacuum as a career opportunity. An employee draws a sober conclusion. “This company is done.”

And even the last employees shouldn’t stop shaking. According to a recent report by “Insiders”, the company is currently planning the next wave of layoffs.

Sources: New York Mag, The Verge, Insider