The recent explosion of SpaceX’s rocket revealed a management style from CEO Elon Musk that differs from the entrepreneur’s leadership at Twitter.
- SpaceX’s Starship exploded in spectacular fashion following its launch last week, but rather than disappointment, Musk expressed excitement at what his team could learn from the mistake.
- Though the explosion was not the plan, the launch created a significant amount of data that SpaceX engineers will be able to study and learn from.
- While Musk congratulated his team on the opportunity to learn from the failed launch, he is not so quick to applaud the chance to learn at Twitter.
- Directly opposing his “take it in stride” attitude at SpaceX, Musk’s behavior at Twitter is often rushed, and he refuses to make changes when things start to go wrong, Clive Thompson reports.
Why it’s news
Musk has long been a successful CEO, leading SpaceX and Tesla, but his leadership at Twitter has floundered as he tries to find his footing. For example, Musk’s suggestion to start charging an $8 monthly subscription for verification checks has been met with stark opposition from users.
While Musk suggested this subscription service would bring much-needed revenue to the social-media company, estimates have found that only around 1% of Twitter users are paying for the service—likely generating very little income, Business Insider reports.
Rather than listening to the complaints of Twitter’s users, Musk has doubled down on his plans to enforce the new $8 checkmark. As a result, some users are leaving the platform for other Twitter-like media.
Similarly, Musk expressed annoyance when his tweets were no longer receiving as much engagement as they had before. After an engineer explained that Musk’s popularity had dropped off, leading to less interest in his tweets, Musk fired the engineer, Casey Newton reports.
Musk’s different approaches to the two companies are stark. When Starship exploded, Musk simply tweeted, “Congrats @SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship! Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months.”
Even before the launch, he had hedged expectations, telling the Wall Street Journal that many errors could occur and destroy the rocket.
While working with SpaceX, Musk exercises caution and humility. Some of the same approaches to Twitter’s troubles could help the social-media company regain its footing.