Elon Musk says that prior to its mass layoffs, Twitter had a 'lot of people doing things that didn't seem to have a lot of value'
- Twitter had a "lot of people doing things that didn't seem to have a lot of value," Elon Musk said.
- Some investors claim tech companies overhired and gave people unnecessary jobs as a "vanity metric."
Before executing mass layoffs at Twitter, the social-media giant had "a lot of people doing things that didn't seem to have a lot of value," Elon Musk claimed.
"I think that's true probably at most Silicon Valley companies, maybe not to the degree to which it was at Twitter," Musk continued, 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 ten people and one person with an accelerator and nine with a set of brakes, so you didn't go very far," he explained. Other Big Tech companies can make further job cuts without impacting productivity, Musk added.
Discourse has recently raged over the apparent trend of "fake work," with some execs and investors claiming that tech companies overhired and gave people unnecessary jobs as a "vanity metric." Proponents of the theory say that this is why tech giants are now slashing so many jobs.
Musk told conference attendees that Twitter now has around 1,500 employees, which he described as "probably a reasonable number." Two people familiar with the company, however, told previously Insider that the number of full-time staff was actually closer to 1,000.
At the end of 2021, Twitter had more than 7,500 employees. Since Musk bought the company for $44 billion in late October 2022, he's largely depleted its workforce in what he says are necessary measures to cut back on costs and save the company. Just a week after taking control of Twitter, Musk laid off around half of its workers.
Since then, thousands more have been fired, been laid off, or quit. The firings included some top execs as well as workers who criticized his leadership of the company.
Remaining workers were asked to commit to Musk's vision for "Twitter 2.0," which he said would involve working "long hours at high intensity," or get laid off, and Musk has repeatedly said that staff need to be incredibly committed to the company to keep their jobs.
Asked on a podcast in December about his rationale behind deciding who should stay on, he said that workers had to be "exceptional" at what they do, have critical roles, and "put the company's interests before their own."
But it appears that Twitter plans to boost its headcount again as it heads towards being cash-flow positive.
"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 of the hiring had already started.
Musk had previously suggested in an interview with CNBC that he could try and hire back some of the staffers he laid off early in his tenure.
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