Elon Musk said Twitter had “a lot of people doing things that didn’t seem to have a lot of value” before he executed mass layoffs.
“I think that’s true probably at most Silicon Valley companies, maybe not to the degree to which it was at Twitter,” Musk said while speaking virtually at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London on Tuesday.
“Twitter was in a situation where you’d have a meeting of 10 people and one person with an accelerator and nine with a set of brakes, so you didn’t go very far,” he said. Other Big Tech companies could make further job cuts without impacting productivity, Musk added.
There has been a recent debate surrounding the perceived rise of “artificial work,” with certain business leaders and investors claiming that tech companies have engaged in excessive hiring, resulting in unnecessary jobs being created solely for show.
According to advocates of this theory, it is this trend that has led to significant job cuts at tech giants.
During a conference, Musk addressed the issue by stating that Twitter currently employs around 1,500 individuals, which he deemed to be a reasonable number. However, two sources familiar with the company previously informed Insider that the actual count of full-time staff was closer to 1,000.
At the end of 2021, Twitter boasted a workforce exceeding 7,500 employees. After Musk acquired the company for $44 billion in late October 2022, he undertook substantial workforce reductions as part of his cost-cutting and revitalization efforts. Merely a week after assuming control, Musk terminated roughly half of the workforce.
Since then, thousands more individuals have either been laid off, fired, or resigned. These dismissals included several high-ranking executives and employees who voiced concerns about Musk’s leadership at the company.
The remaining employees were requested to align themselves with Musk’s vision for “Twitter 2.0.” Musk emphasized that they would need to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the company, putting in long hours of intense work, to avoid being laid off.
In December, Musk revealed during the “All-In Podcast” that he assessed which employees should stay based on their exceptional skills, critical roles within the company, and prioritization of the company’s interests over their own.
However, indications suggest that Twitter intends to expand its workforce again as it strives to achieve positive cash flow.
“If we get lucky, we might be cash-flow positive next month, but it remains to be seen,” Musk said at Tuesday’s conference.
“We are going to start adding people to the company,” he continued, noting that some hiring had already started.