In what appears to be a heartfelt message regarding Twitter’s recent decision to lay off roughly half of its workforce, co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey recently shared his thoughts on the matter, accepting responsibility for the number of jobs lost. Dorsey said in a tweet thread published the day after new Twitter owner Elon Musk announced the layoffs that the company grew too quickly under his watch, putting it in its current position.
Twitter has a notoriously difficult time turning a profit, and Musk hopes to change that — after all, he must pay roughly $1 billion in interest each year (via WaPo). However, his methods for transforming the platform and cutting costs have been heavily criticized, with reports from within claiming that employees are working around the clock to meet short product deadlines. The rapidity with which these changes have been implemented appears to have resulted in a shambles. According to sources, Twitter is attempting to entice some laid-off employees to return, claiming that some of the people were not supposed to be laid off and that others have skills that the company requires.
Thus far, his efforts, while popular with some, appear to be backfiring; some ad companies have since distanced themselves from Twitter (and Musk’s bad faith poll likely didn’t help matters), and the billionaire recently complained that ad revenue has experienced a “massive” decrease (via CNN), which he blamed on “activists.” However, it appears that Dorsey has also felt the heat.
Twitter’s ambition outpaced its financial reality
Dorsey praised Twitter employees past and present in a tweet on Saturday, November 5, calling them “strong and resilient.” He went on to say that “many are angry” with him, most likely referring to employees who were laid off and possibly other employees who now work under Musk’s far less accommodating leadership. “I accept responsibility for everyone’s current situation: I grew the company too quickly,” he explained. “Please accept my apologies.”
Prior to the layoffs, Twitter had around 7,500 employees, a figure that may now be down around 3,700 — putting the workforce back around where it was at the end of 2014. According to Statista data, Twitter’s workforce increased from 4,900 in December 2019 to 7,500 by the end of 2021. Twitter isn’t the only company that increased its workforce significantly during the pandemic; Meta did the same, and it’s rumored that it’s preparing for an even larger round of layoffs.
However, reducing headcount is only one component of Musk’s plan to trim Twitter’s finances. Shortly after Musk took control of the company, sources claimed that teams were tasked with finding ways to reduce Twitter’s infrastructure costs, which could lead to outages. Musk is eager to see these changes implemented, but his haste may exacerbate the situation. Aside from mistakes that may occur under pressure when teams have little time to evaluate projects, there is also the risk of a loss of morale among the workforce as a result of the increased workload and the massive number of people laid off — and Musk’s decision to cut perks isn’t helping.