Ditch the ads on Revolver and Subscribe to ad-free… just $5 per month or $49 per year…


Twitter is dead. Long live Twitter!

The social media company purchased by Elon Musk barely three weeks ago appeared to complete its final dissolution last night. In response to Musk’s demand for a new commitment to a tougher, “hardcore” Twitter, many remaining staff at the company apparently resigned (or were fired) en masse, and the company announced the abrupt closure of its offices.

Read a news outlet, or glance at a meme, and you’d think that the end of the world had arrived. #RIPTwitter began to trend on the social media platform, as people anticipated the site would stop working at any moment, go offline, and never return.

Where have we seen this before?

While it all unfolded, the man at the top gazed down, seeming to delight in the carnage.

And yet, as Twitter dies, Twitter also lives.

The vast majority of Twitter as it existed just a month ago has disappeared. And yet… Twitter is still there. If anything, it’s a lot better.

This isn’t just a compelling and humorous corporate drama. We could be watching a revolution within the tech industry unfold in real time before our eyes. 

In its coverage of Musk’s Twitter adventure, our coverage has mostly focused on the transformative impact Musk could have on free speech. But there is an entirely separate, nearly-as-dramatic impact Musk could have on the tech industry itself.

In the world of business, there is a concept known as Price’s Law. The law goes as follows:

In any organization, 50% of the work is done by the square root of the total number of people who participate in the work.

Does your company have 16 employees? Then four people are doing half of the actual work. A hundred employees? Then ten people do half.

So, what’s the situation like at Twitter? Well, a month ago Twitter had about 7,500 employees worldwide. Per Price’s Law, that means about half of all the real work at Twitter was carried out by… eighty-six people.

At this moment, Musk is well on his way to finding out how accurate Price’s little maxim is.

Could you really run Twitter with a smaller staff than your typical American high school? Maybe not. Certainly, a bunch of Twitter addict journalists with no relevant expertise think it’s impossible.

But maybe you could. Did you know that Craiglist, which collects close to a billion dollars in revenue per year, has only about 50 staff?

Did you know that when Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, it had just 32 engineers for more than 450 million users? One year post-buyout, it was up to nearly a billion users, with just 50 engineers.

But the norm for most of big tech is bloat. Lots and lots of bloat. Facebook’s employee count looks like this:

Back in 2011, Twitter had more than a hundred million users but fewer than 500 staff. In 2018, Twitter had 3,900 employees and turned a profit of $1.2 billion on only $3.4 billion in revenue. In three years, after nearly doubling its headcount but only growing revenue to $5 billion, it’s managing to lose money.

Now, Elon Musk is daring to take Twitter off-script and make it a truly great company. And in the process, he is undertaking a grand experiment for the benefit of all American business. Elon taking on Twitter is like Reagan taking on the air traffic controllers: Musk is directly confronting a powerful interest group that believes itself invulnerable, and showing that not only it can bleed, but that it can be killed.

Tech venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has publicly argued that most companies are grossly overstaffed:

Honestly, given how badly Twitter performed relative to many other tech giants, and how simple its business is compared to something like Google, why stop at 4x overstaffing? Maybe Twitter was six times overstaffed, or eight times.

Now, Musk is wiping out all that potential overstaffing, virtually overnight, all at once. It’s a teardown unprecedented in Silicon Valley history. And yet, for now, Twitter works.

Not only that, but Musk’s ambition has clearly sparked interest from other supremely talented people. George Hotz, one of the most skilled software engineers in the world, is begging Musk to let him come aboard, essentially for free.

Brilliant people are attracted to Musk’s daring “just build it” vision. Journalists and other deadweight are repulsed.

If Twitter survives what Musk is putting it through, he will be setting a model that other tech companies can imitate.

For decades, tech has followed this predictable pattern: A tiny squad of genuinely smart, driven, and talented people build something new. If it fails, they vanish. But if it succeeds, the company booms and either makes huge amounts of revenue or attracts huge amounts of investment. Almost without exception, these small “commando squad” companies react to this new pile of money by hiring many new people, most of whom aren’t as smart, driven, and talented. The company bloats up, and loses its edge. It may still be profitable, but it becomes sluggish. It no longer innovates, and instead is dependent on crushing or absorbing new rivals before they take it down.

Plenty of CEOs realize their companies are hideously bloated by wokists, HR types, diversity sinecures, and whiny screamers. To all but the most committed slaves of the ruling ideology, these parasites are simply a price of doing business. But imagine if the price didn’t have to be paid. Musk is putting Andreessen’s theory to the test, and finding out if a high-profile tech company really can be run as an efficient operation, without a bevy of fake jobs attached to satisfy a political ideology.

One battle of the century wasn’t enough for the world’s richest man. We him luck.


Ditch the ads on Revolver and Subscribe to ad-free… just $5 per month or $49 per year…