In Twitter Meeting, Elon Musk Fields Questions From 8,000 Employees

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Mike Isaac

June 16, 2022, 2: 08 p.m. ET

June 16, 2022, 2: 08 p.m. ET

Elon Musk at the Met Gala in May. On Thursday, he told Twitter employees: “I want Twitter to contribute to a better, long-lasting civilization where we better understand the nature of reality.”
Credit score rating…Evan Agostini/Invision, through Related Press

SAN FRANCISCO — For weeks, Elon Musk has publicly trashed Twitter, even if he is making an are attempting to look out the company in a $44 billion deal. On Thursday, he at last acted love an proprietor.

In an hourlong quiz-and-retort session within the morning with Twitter’s 8,000 or so staff — the primary time Mr. Musk has spoken with them since he agreed to need the social media firm in April — the sphere’s richest man opened up about his plans for the supplier. In an effusive and from time to time rambling cope with, he touched on topic points as totally different as exclaim, likely layoffs, anonymity, Chinese language language apps, the existence of alien existence-forms and even the cosmic nature of Twitter.

“I desire Twitter to contribute to a nearer, long-lasting civilization the put we higher perceive the character of actuality,” Mr. Musk acknowledged within the assembly, which became as quickly as livestreamed to Twitter staff and which The Novel York Occasions listened to.

The 50-three hundred and sixty 5 days-dilapidated added that he hoped the supplier may perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood help humankind “higher perceive the character of the universe, as indispensable because it’s miles likely to worship.”

The assembly, which Mr. Musk participated in from his cellphone in what appeared as if it’d perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood per likelihood be a resort room, advised that he became as quickly as location on closing the blockbuster acquisition. His intentions had been unsure in modern weeks when the billionaire, who additionally runs {the electrical} carmaker Tesla and the rocket firm SpaceX, over once more and over once more raised questions on Twitter’s counterfeit accounts in an obvious pretext for doubtlessly ending or renegotiating the deal.

Since April, the famously speedy Mr. Musk has tweeted that the acquisition became as quickly as “on determine” and accused Twitter of “actively resisting and thwarting” his rights. At one more degree, he had criticized a pair of of the company’s executives. He made his inflammatory suggestions as world markets tumbled and shares of Tesla, which may per likelihood per likelihood per likelihood be his predominant provide of wealth, plummeted.

The antics from Mr. Musk, who’s paying $54.20 a half to need Twitter, had left traders, the company’s staff and others guessing as to what he may perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood enact. Twitter’s stock is now buying and selling round $37. But the company has insisted that the deal stays now not off track and that it has been sharing information with Mr. Musk, who’s on the hook for a breakup price of $1 billion if he walks away.

Mr. Musk did circuitously cope with on Thursday whether or not he would shut the cope with Twitter, nonetheless he made it decided to staff that he had mountainous ambitions.

At some degree of the dialog, which became as quickly as moderated by Twitter’s chief advertising officer, Leslie Berland, Mr. Musk acknowledged he hoped to amplify the supplier to a pair of billion clients all of the system through the sphere. That’s liable to be within the case of 4 instances the totally different of latest clients. He added that he became as quickly as hands-on at Tesla and anticipated to be so at Twitter.

Even with this type of efficiency, some cautioned that Mr. Musk may perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood delicate commerce his ideas about ending the deal for Twitter.

“I determine he’s working on two tracks,” acknowledged Ann Lipton, a professor of firm governance at Tulane Regulation Faculty. “Probably he wishes to decrease the price and even assassinate the deal. If the deal goes through, he wishes further traders.”

She added: “Publicly speaking to Twitter staff, making an are attempting to assuage their considerations, presumably affords reassurances to likely traders. However I’m now not decided whether or not that’s his Opinion B or his Opinion A.”

Twitter declined to the touch upon the assembly, and Mr. Musk did now not acknowledge to a request for remark.

Mr. Musk had been scheduled to coach to Twitter’s staff weeks beforehand, nonetheless the session did now not happen. Then over the previous week, the San Francisco-basically mainly primarily based absolutely firm started gathering questions for him from staff on its inside Slack messaging system. The assembly, scheduled to originate at 9 a.m. San Francisco time, started a microscopic whereas unhurried, with Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief government, thanking Mr. Musk.

Then Mr. Musk began answering questions, together with about far away work. This month, he despatched memos to employees at Tesla and SpaceX asserting he anticipated them to be within the supervisor coronary heart for 40 hours per week. Twitter’s staff comprise largely labored remotely within the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Musk instantaneous Twitter staff that he became as quickly as open to their working remotely, given that rising instrument is now not the identical as exhibiting up day-to-day to supply autos. However he acknowledged a pleasant lack of in-place of job participation may perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood contribute to a dwindling “esprit de corps” and hoped that people may perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood be ready to switch into the supervisor coronary heart extra sooner or later.

Mr. Musk dodged with out prolong answering whether or not there may perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood be layoffs at Twitter, although his retort became as quickly as barely ominous.

“Sincere now, costs exceed earnings,” he acknowledged. “That’s now not a mountainous voice.”

At one more degree, he digressed right into a dialogue about whether or not extraterrestrial existence became as quickly as likely, although it became as quickly as unclear the put he netted out. He additionally introduced up the Chinese language language apps WeChat and TikTok as aspirational, given that WeChat is so embedded in of us’s day-to-day lives in China and TikTok is “now not dreary.”

One enchancment that Mr. Musk acknowledged he needed to supply became as quickly as together with funds skills to Twitter. Ideally, clients may perchance perchance per likelihood per likelihood be able to ship a refund and forth through the supplier, equal to how merchandise love Venmo or Sq. Cash function.

How Elon Musk’s Twitter Deal Unfolded

Card 1 of 6

A blockbuster deal. Elon Musk, the sphere’s wealthiest man, capped what appeared an not likely try by the famously speedy billionaire to need Twitter for roughly $44 billion. Right here’s how the deal unfolded:

Mr. Musk, a longtime vitality person of Twitter with greater than 98 million followers, has lengthy acknowledged he believes the company’s likely is underutilized. He has added that he hopes to rejuvenate the supplier outside the peer of the general public markets by taking the company private and making needed modifications to how Twitter operates.

Inside Twitter, some staff comprise had blended emotions about Mr. Musk. Some comprise acknowledged they’re involved by his Twitter habits and dim politics.

On Thursday, staff at SpaceX circulated a memo asserting that they’d been additionally centered on their chief government’s public habits — significantly how he acted on Twitter — and that it mirrored poorly on staff.

“Elon’s habits within the public sphere is a frequent provide of distraction and embarrassment for us,” learn the letter, which became as quickly as purchased by The Occasions and reported earlier by The Verge. “As our C.E.O. and most outstanding spokesperson, Elon is taken into account because the face of SpaceX — each tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public snarl by the company.”

Others at Twitter comprise acknowledged they’d been nervous by how Mr. Musk wishes to have shut a laissez-faire attain to policing the platform.

On Thursday, he emphasised that he needed to supply Twitter as inclusive a platform as likely, largely by gaining extra clients, together with that he would now not permit prison acts to be applied on the group. He acknowledged that he additionally didn’t want to produce of us relate their true names on Twitter and that there became as quickly as utility within the relate of pseudonyms to utter political beliefs on the supplier.

Some Twitter staff, who comprise pointed to Mr. Musk’s standing as an innovator, acknowledged they felt heartened after Thursday’s assembly. Mr. Musk became as quickly as now not adversarial and perceived to comprise a imaginative and prescient for the product, regardless of now not being able to enunciate it clearly from time to time, they acknowledged. Others acknowledged he had now not addressed their questions, with one worker writing in an inside Slack message, which became as quickly as considered by The Occasions, that “in case you happen to took a drink each time he answered a quiz, you’d be painfully sober on the smash of this.”

Mr. Musk became as quickly as noncommittal when requested if he consider to determine the manager government operate at Twitter when he took over the company. He acknowledged he wasn’t a extinct C.E.O. and pointed to his title at Tesla, which is Technoking. However he additionally famous that he had many concepts for product updates and the way the supplier ought to evolve, and that he would produce these identified to others at some degree of the company.

“I enact request that they will take heed to me on this regard,” Mr. Musk acknowledged.

Ryan Mac and Lauren Hirsch contributed reporting.

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