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The Woman Photographed In a Sleeping Bag at Twitter HQ Is Now One of the Company's Most 'Influential Leaders.' After Esther Crawford shared a photo of herself sleeping on the floor, she became one of Elon Musk's insiders.

By Jonathan Small

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At Twitter, putting in long hours apparently pays off big time.

Just ask Esther Crawford, Twitter's director of product management.

In November, Crawford shared a photo of herself sleeping on the floor at Twitter headquarters, wrapped in a silver sleeping bag and wearing an eye mask.

"When your team is pushing round the clock to make deadlines sometimes you #SleepWhereYouWork," she tweeted.

Musk has recently taken over the company as CEO, and there were reports that employees were working 12-hour days or more.

The photo of Crawford went viral, with many criticizing the sleepless in San Francisco Twitter employee for perpetuating what they saw as a toxic workplace. Some even joked that she would be out of work in a week, so why bother?

But now it seems like Crawford is having the last laugh. A story in the Financial Times reports that since the sleeping bag incident, Crawford has "become among the most influential leaders left from the old guard," according to former and current Twitter staffers.

Related: Photo Exposes Overworked Twitter Employee Sleeping on Office Floor: 'Pushing Round the Clock'

A chance encounter with Musk

Before Musk took over Twitter, Crawford, 39, was a mid-level employee, but that changed partly because of the Twitter photo and also thanks to a chance encounter with Musk at Twitter's coffee shop, The Perch.

Sources told FT that Crawford introduced herself to Musk and secured a one-on-one meeting with him to talk about payment and creators. The move infuriated many senior leaders for going over their heads.

But Musk must have liked what he heard. Crawford has since helped launch Twitter Blue, which charges users $8 for a premium subscription service with verified blue check status.

She was recently appointed chief executive of Twitter Payments, and insiders say she's part of Musk's inner circle at Twitter — one of the few women in this position.

A polarizing figure

Crawford is either loved or loathed around the Twitter office.

"To some insiders, Crawford has the charismatic energy needed to help transform Twitter's flailing business," according to FT. "To other former employees, she is reviled as a sycophant and opportunist."

Crawford is known for her high energy and her self-empowering posts on Twitter.

Crawford arrived at Twitter in 2020. Before that, she was a YouTube video blogger.

She has posted about growing up in a fanatical cult. She also said that her family was poor and on welfare.

Neither Crawford or Musk responded to FT for comment. But in a recent tweet, Crawford created a poll asking if it was better to appear in media with false info about you and a great photo or with truthful information and a bad photo.

The audience voted in favor of "accurate and positive info."

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

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