Musk Is No Visionary: Half of Twitter Workforce Laid Offby@sheharyarkhan
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Musk Is No Visionary: Half of Twitter Workforce Laid Off

by Sheharyar KhanNovember 7th, 2022
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Elon Musk went on a firing spree soon after taking over Twitter and crowning himself CEO of the social media giant; Stripe and Lyft announced layoffs at their firms, while Amazon said it would be pausing hiring; and AMD's newly announced graphic cards get the thumbs up from the tech scene at large.

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If you ever needed more proof that the world's richest man is no visionary, look no further than the events of last week. Having finally acquired Twitter, Elon Musk crowned himself the CEO of yet another company he personally did not build and followed it up with what can best be surmised as a.. bloodbath. 😞

Twitter laid off 3,700 people, or half of its workforce, on Friday — letting go of employees in teams considered important in maintaining advertisers' trust (content moderation) while those that remained were working round-the-clock to roll out new features on the platform. As former employees started flooding LinkedIn to say goodbyes and begin searching for new opportunities, Twitter asked some of them to return back to work because they were either fired mistakenly or were needed to build Musk's vision for the social media giant.

Musk wants to make Twitter profitable but has yet to detail how he plans on doing so. Meetings with advertisers haven't gone as planned as tons of companies have paused ad spending to determine what to make of Twitter's new owner and air concerns over content moderation.

In the interim, Musk wants to generate revenue by selling the verified blue check mark for $7.99 a month, making it easier for users sharing disinformation to appear more authentic while complicating Musk's own efforts to transform Twitter into a source of accurate information.

As a side note, Musk seems to be taking a page straight out of Donald Trump's playbook, garnering free media attention for being so bizarrely eccentric that outlets have no choice but to spam our feeds with one news story related to Twitter after the next. Is there a term for Musk fatigue? Because we're surely feeling it.

Twitter was trending #32 in this week's Tech Company Rankings.

Layoffs Come to Silicon Valley ⛈️

Twitter wasn't the only tech company letting go of people this past week. Digital payment firm Stripe and ride-hailing company Lyft announced similar measures, though their rationale was more grounded in the state of the global economy than the whims of a billionaire who just purchased their company.

Stripe said it would be letting go of around 1,000 people, or 14% of its workforce, in a move meant to help the company course correct after it reached new heights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Essentially, the company overhired in response to tripling its revenue and payment volume over the course of 2020 and 2021, perhaps hoping that this growth would continue. However, the winds are now blowing in the opposite direction, with "stubborn inflation, energy shocks, [and] reduced investment budgets" prompting CEO Patrick Collison to trim the fat around corners in an attempt to save costs.

Lyft too is looking to become leaner given "several challenges playing out across the economy." In a letter to employees, the company's management blamed a looming recession and the "realities of inflation and a slowing economy" for its decision to cut 683 jobs, or 13% of its workforce, while selling its first-party vehicle service business.

If that wasn't enough, Amazon told employees last week that it would no longer be hiring more people in its corporate workforce, citing the same macroeconomic reasons as Stripe and Lyft.

Amazon ranked #11 in this week's Tech Company Rankings.

AMD Brings Out Spanking New GPUs 🖥️

The GPU wars are heating up now that AMD has announced the 7 series XT and XTX graphic cards. By being cheaper and performing as well as their green counterparts, preliminary response to the GPUs have been overwhelmingly positive, even though tech reviewers are yet to benchmark the cards.

Still, that didn't stop Linus Tech Tips from extrapolating the cards' performance, concluding that the beefier of the two newly announced AMD cards (the 7900XTX) performed just as well as Nvidia's 4090 at $600 less. It's not just about the performance though: the AMD card is smaller, consumes less power, and is less likely to be a fire hazard.

It's been less than a decade since Lisa Su took over the reins at AMD, and already the company has disrupted the monopolies of titans Intel and Nvidia. It was only in 2017 that AMD announced the Ryzen line of processors, only to follow it up with one impressive product launch after the next and capture more and more market share in both the consumer and commercial markets.

Nvidia ranked #44 in this week's Tech Company Rankings.

In Other News..

  • Ajit Mohan left Facebook parent Meta's India operations to join rival Snap. 📸
  • Binance is said to have processed nearly $8 billion in cryptocurrency transactions from Iran despite U.S. sanctions on the country. 🪙
  • Twitter alternative Mastodon is seeing more and more users join its platform. 🐮

And that’s a wrap! Thanks for reading Tech Company News Brief Issue #23! See y’all next week. PEACE ☮️

— Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon