Elon Musk, Twitter and work tradition: a wayward ideology of ‘hardcore’


Final week, in an instantly traditional inside memo, new Twitter proprietor Elon Musk warned his workers that they need to instantly resign except they have been ready to be “extraordinarily hardcore.” As he defined, “This may imply working lengthy hours at excessive depth. Solely distinctive efficiency will represent a passing grade.” Tons of of workers reportedly resigned.

Over the weekend, we bought a glimpse into what this new hardcore extremity regarded like, by way of {a photograph} of Musk at Twitter workplaces. Reclining in a desk chair, Musk held courtroom with a bunch of his remaining workers, showing to elucidate one thing to 9 of them whereas one other dozen or so milled within the background.

“Present me one other CEO that has extra pores and skin within the sport at 1 AM within the workplace,” tweeted Vala Afshar, the businessman and tech columnist who shared the image. “These younger engineers are studying from probably the most modern particular person of the twenty-first century.”

I’ll take Afshar’s phrase that the {photograph} was taken at one o’clock within the morning. However as for innovation? Please.

Do sure enterprise realities generally require working at odd hours? In fact. No person would deny that. And if workers must be within the workplace in the course of the evening, you’d want a CEO who was there too.

However Twitter just isn’t a scrappy start-up working out of somebody’s mother’s storage with three workers and a mini-fridge of Pink Bull. It’s a well-established, 16-year-old tech firm. It doesn’t should be functioning in a state of emergency. Musk’s presence at 1 a.m. was somewhat like a limousine passenger serving to his chauffeurs push the incapacitated automobile to a service station when he’s the one who punctured the tires.

Let’s look once more on the {photograph}. I rely 24 staff within the body. Of them, 22 look like males. The faces of the remaining two are obscured, however primarily based on a number of superficial context clues — longer hair, shorter stature — these staff is likely to be girls. Let’s go forward and assume that they’re girls, which might make the gender ratio of the pictured workers not an appalling 24 to 0 however somewhat an appalling 11 to 1. Everybody within the picture, save Musk himself, skews younger; it could be stunning if any of them have been older than 30.

This isn’t extraordinarily hardcore. That is extraordinarily anticipated: a CEO who sees lengthy hours as a major measure {of professional} dedication, who prizes performative depth over strategic intentionality and younger stamina over previous knowledge.

Perspective: Elon Musk’s Twitter is a safe space for bros who think they’re funny

Did the engineering workforce Musk was pictured with ever have a extra equitable ratio of males to girls, pre-Musk’s takeover and pre-hardcore? I do not know. Engineering isn’t traditionally a woman-friendly occupation. However I can surmise that if there had beforehand been any working moms on the workforce, the tone-deafness of Musk’s memo would simply have pushed them off. Not as a result of they dislike arduous work, however as a result of they might not vanish their household obligations on the drop of a hat simply to suit Musk’s explicit imaginative and prescient of worker loyalty.

Presumably Musk himself may solely be on the workplace at one o’clock within the morning as a result of his kids — he has three below a 12 months previous by two girls — have been being cared for by both their moms or by full-time nannies that the typical non-billionaire couldn’t afford.

If this {photograph} is supposed as an example dedication, then what’s it telling us about who will get to be perceived as devoted?

Working moms wouldn’t be the one demographic to be too soft-core for Elon Musk. What about any dad or mum who needed to be dwelling for bedtime? Feminine workers who really feel unsafe taking public transportation dwelling within the wee hours of the morning? Skilled workers who’ve realized to be environment friendly with their time and who usually are not inclined to make Musk’s mess into their very own issues?

By inviting all of those individuals to depart, Musk deprives himself of what would really be modern: a workforce with various experiences and problem-solving abilities. As a substitute, he’ll find yourself surrounding himself with a cadre of staff who both see the world precisely as he does and put the bro in brown-nosing, or just don’t have every other choices.

“Extraordinarily hardcore” is slippery language. It sounds just like the verbiage of a winner. However taking a look at this {photograph} — a bunch of staff held captive to the work ideology of a person who spent billions to purchase their firm solely to tear out its guts and command them to cease the bleeding — the phrase appeared extra just like the phrase vomit of a rich tech bro who believes that making a product can solely be gained by way of breaking a human.

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