After purging nearly two-thirds of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce in three weeks, Elon Musk is hiring again.
During an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees today, Musk said that the company is done with layoffs and actively recruiting for roles in engineering and sales and that employees are encouraged to make referrals, according to two people who attended and a partial recording obtained by The Verge. His comments were made the same day that an unspecified wave of cuts hit Twitter’s sales department, which has lost almost all of its senior leadership since Musk took over.
Musk didn’t specify the kinds of engineering or sales roles Twitter was hiring for, and the company doesn’t currently have any open roles listed on its website. “In terms of critical hires, I would say people who are great at writing software are the highest priority,” he said during the meeting. The Verge reported last week that Twitter recruiters were already reaching out to engineers asking them to join “Twitter 2.0 — an Elon company.”
Monday’s all-hands meeting was the first time that Twitter’s employees heard from Musk since he required them all to opt into staying for his “extremely hardcore” cultural reset, which led to roughly 1,000 resignations last week. While fielding employee questions for about a half-hour from Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, Musk said there are “no plans” to move Twitter’s headquarters to Texas like he did with Tesla, but that it could make sense to be “dual-headquartered” in California and Texas.
“This is not a right-wing takeover of Twitter. It is a moderate-wing takeover of Twitter.”
“If we want to move the headquarters to Texas I think it would play into the idea that Twitter has gone from being left-wing to right-wing, which is not the case,” he told employees. “This is not a right-wing takeover of Twitter. It is a moderate-wing takeover of Twitter.”
Musk went on to say that, “to be the digital town square, we must represent people with a wide array of views even if we disagree with those views.” (He didn’t address his firings of dozens of employees for posting tweets and Slack messages criticizing him over the last couple of weeks.)
He acknowledged that his ongoing reorganization of the company will “have a lot of mistakes” but “stabilize over time.” In response to one employee question, he said that “significant portions of the technology stack need to be rebuilt from scratch,” and at another point in the meeting he suggested it would be a good idea to “somewhat decentralize things” by setting up engineering teams in Japan, India, Indonesia, and Brazil.
Twitter’s historically strong usage in Japan was specifically called out by Musk as what the company should aspire to “ideally in every country without exception.”
“It may seem as though Twitter is US-centric but if anything it’s Japan-centric,” he said. “There are roughly the same number of daily active users in Japan as there are in the US, despite the fact that Japan has one third of the population of the US.”
In response to a question about employee compensation, Musk reiterated that employees will be given stock options in Twitter and be able to cash them out regularly like at SpaceX, his other company that is also privately held. “The way things work at SpaceX to get liquidity is that every six months there’s a liquidity event where the company buys back shares and we also invite new investors to buy shares,” he said. “And we’ll be able to operate Twitter in the same way.”
Anyone entering Twitter now will work in a much smaller company than it was before Musk took over. While the exact number of departures under his watch is unclear, there were nearly 7,400 people with access to Twitter’s internal systems before he laid off about half the company. That number, which excludes the thousands of outside contractors Musk also cut, has since fallen to just over 2,700 people as of press time, according to two people who have seen the numbers.
The departures have included long-tenured engineers, some with more than a decade of experience at the company, as well as a growing list of corporate leaders. Twitter’s CEO, CFO, and chief legal officer were all removed on Musk’s first day. Twitter’s top advertising and content partnership leaders have either resigned or been fired. And multiple “critical” teams were completely gutted by the layoffs and resignations, according to current and former employees.
Twitter doesn’t have a press department to contact for comment.
What’s happening to Twitter?
On October 29th, Elon Musk officially took ownership of Twitter, and he’s already dissolved the board of directors and installed himself as CEO. But can he run a social network the way he runs SpaceX and Tesla?