7 Key Takeaways From Elon Musk's Twitter Town Hall: 'If They're Not Getting Useful Things Done...Why Are They At the Company?' The billionaire addressed Twitter employees virtually at an all-hands meeting on Thursday.
Since Elon Musk's bid to acquire Twitter for nearly $44 billion in April, the billionaire has yet to directly speak to the company's employees — until now.
Musk, who is the majority shareholder of Twitter, owning roughly 10% of Twitter's total shares, spoke in a moderated, virtual town hall meeting with Twitter's employees on Thursday. The meeting lasted one hour.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO reportedly showed up ten minutes late to the meeting before he entered a Q&A forum with Twitter's CMO Leslie Berland. Employees were encouraged to submit questions ahead of time on Wednesday.
Musk said that he would make Twitter a privately-owned model, where employees would still have stock and stock options day-to-day but have the ability to liquefy and sell those shares twice per year.
Twitter was down just shy of 38.5% in a one-year period as of Friday afternoon.
Vox obtained the entire transcript of the meeting. Here, we've gathered the seven most impactful quotes to come out of Musk's Twitter town hall and what it might mean for the future of the company.
On Why He Bought Twitter...
When asked why he was so fond of the company, Musk went on a long-winded rant of adoration for Twitter.
"You know, some people use their hair to express themselves, I use Twitter. So you know, I find it's the best forum for communicating with a lot of people simultaneously."
On Expansion Plans...
Musk alluded to a hefty plan for expansion of Twitter's user base should his acquisition finalize. Musk pointed to the fact that this is his definition of "inclusiveness" as it pertains to diversity and inclusion at the company — getting the highest number of people possible on the platform.
"When talking about Twitter as a whole, there's 8 billion people in the world; I'm told there's 200 million daily users of Twitter. That's a 7.8 billion-person gap. So I think we really want to have, I don't know, at least a billion people on Twitter, maybe more, as many people as we can possibly get on Twitter."
Musk has been vocal throughout his Twitter campaign that he wants to rid the platform of bots and spam accounts, even threatening to call off the deal several times on account of accusing Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal of not truthfully disclosing how many accounts on the platform are in fact spam or bots. An open-source algorithm may allow users to better identify bots and work the algorithm so that these accounts would have less reach and impact.
"In order for people to have trust in Twitter, I think it's extremely important that there be transparency. So that's why I'm an advocate of having the algorithm be open source so that people can critique it, improve it, and identify bugs, potentially, or bias. But when it's transparent, transparency obviously increases trust."
On Work Ethic...
"If somebody is getting useful things done, then that's great. But if they're not getting useful things done, then I'm like, okay, why are they at the company? … If somebody's getting stuff done, great, I love them. And if they're not, I don't like that and I do not love them. It's pretty straightforward."
Musk was clear on what kind of employees he likes and dislikes. He has clear-cut expectations for how he wants employees to operate.
On Remote Work... Or Lack Of
"One of the things I've said, even if somebody's working remotely, they gotta show up at the office occasionally so that they recognize their colleagues and don't walk down the street and pass your colleagues and you don't recognize them. That would not be good … I do want to emphasize that the bias is very much toward in-person work. It's just that it would obviously be insane if someone is excellent at what they do but can only work remotely, to then fire them even though they're doing excellent work."
The question of remote work came up after Musk's email to Tesla executives requiring them to work in-office for at least 40 hours a week or leave the company was leaked earlier this month.
Musk maintained that it would not be a deal-breaker for an "exceptional" Twitter employee to work at home, but he prefers in-office work for collaboration and team building.
"I'm not an angry person. I almost never raise my voice. So like, in a year, I might not have raised my voice ... Sometimes people may think, 'oh, wow, he's sort of yelling and screaming' or something, but I'm really not. So maybe there's some way to indicate tone? I mean, emoji sorta do that. But I don't know, maybe they could have like, I don't know, an irony flag or something: This is an ironic tweet. Something like that."
Musk, whose colorful Tweets are often the topic of many news stories and have even been pegged to be the cause of certain market and crypto fluctuations, lamented that when he is being sarcastic or just "stirring the pot," it's not always read that way, as it's hard to understand tone when reading a 280 character blurb.
On Executive Titles...
"I don't really care about being CEO. In fact, I renamed myself 'Techno King' at Tesla in an official SEC filing. And then our CFO was renamed 'Master of coin,' which I think is a cooler thing than CFO. So, I mean, what I really just want do is, like, drive the product and improve the product, and then it's like, basically, software and product design. So you know, I don't mind doing other things, you know, related to operating the company, but there are chores. There's a lot of chores to do as CEO. And all I really want is to make sure that the product evolves rapidly and in a good way."
In typical brow-raising Musk behavior, the billionaire admitted that he didn't care about actually being called CEO and his primary objective was to work internally and push the product design to its full capabilities.