A former project manager at Twitter shared her praises and criticisms for owner Elon Musk in a lengthy social media post this week.
- Twitter’s former director of product management Esther Crawford posted a lengthy video and tweet on Wednesday revealing details about working with the company through Musk’s buyout and her own termination in February.
- Crawford notes that Musk is “oddly charming,” highly focused on his work, and very inspirational but also unpredictable, unempathetic, and prone to mood swings.
- Repeated firings negatively harmed team morale and created an atmosphere of tension and chaos—a “siloed and bureaucratic” office of power plays, ego trips, and political games.
- She alleges that Musk maintains a “fanatical inner circle” of loyalists who are afraid to question him or tell him difficult truths.
Why It’s News
Musk’s reputation as a leader precedes him. He is a visionary genius who has helped innovate the fields of electric cars and space flight. At the same time, he is infamous for being ill-tempered, demanding, and chaotic behind the scenes. Musk is changing the world for the better, but his leadership style makes it difficult for all but his most dedicated followers to be employed by him.
As we previously reported, his Twitter leadership has drawn negative attention for its demanding requirements on workers and tendency to lay off thousands of employees at once. He has faced similar leadership challenges at SpaceX and Tesla, with many prominent employees and engineers leaving his companies with severe and public grievances against him.
“Money and fame can create psychological prisons which may worsen mental health conditions,” Crawford writes.
Musk relies heavily on his gut instinct and often resists relying on expertise or data to the point where he is “obviously not afraid of blowing things up.” He is prone to asking for feedback from Twitter polls or personal friends rather than experts with experience managing social media companies.
Crawford noted that she does not know what the future holds for the recently renamed X.com. She says social media networks are hard to kill, but they can enter death spirals when in the wrong hands but wants the best for the platform going forward. “I disagree with many of [his] decisions and am surprised by his willingness to burn so much down, but with enough money and time, something new and innovative may emerge. I hope it does.”