We’ve seen a lot of tech history in the last two years, but the brutal Twitter abbreviations feel particularly sad, complicated and exhausting for anyone who follows the industry. We knew it was coming, then we were told it wasn’t, then it sure was, then it was. Reports say half of Twitter’s 7,500 teams will lose their jobs.
I don’t have a hot comment or a Musk-related joke about this moment. I just feel sympathy for the people who have lost or may lose their jobs after investing time, energy and care into building Twitter. Twitter staff are addressing the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked, a riff on the internal hashtag #LoveWhereYouWork to say thank you, say goodbye, and share personal news. As one former employee put it, the new hashtag is “a bittersweet phrase – not because I’m gone, but because he’s gone.”
I’ve covered dozens and dozens of layoff stories over the past year, all with a different shade of the same statement: “the macro-economic environment has caused us to adjust expectations, affecting a percentage of our workforce.” One thing that strikes me about the Twitter layoffs is how the way they were conducted was devoid of emotion and recognition. Even Better.com, which had one of the worst layoffs of the year, fared better. See below:
On Thursday evening, all Twitter employees received an email stating that they would be informed of their employment status at 9am PDT on Friday. Each email had to be sent with the subject “Your role on Twitter”. If an employee keeps their job, they must be notified via their work email – if they are released, they will be notified at a personal address.
“To ensure the safety of each employee, as well as Twitter’s systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all access to badges will be suspended,” the Thursday email said. “If you are in the office or on your way to the office, please go home.”
The email was signed impersonally: “Twitter.”
TechCrunch put together a Twitter thread for ex-Tweeps looking for their next job, which will continue to be updated. While I joked that some high-profile members might join Andreessen Horowitz next, I’m genuinely curious to see how the alumni network takes its next jobs. Will it be in startups? Or taking a risk? Or will they seek refuge in roles that feel less risky than tech roles? Or perhaps start a career outside of the tech industry entirely?
I can only imagine that this experience doesn’t feel like whiplash; instead, perhaps it feels like an excruciatingly warm spotlight finally letting go, only to find yourself looking around without really recognizing the audience and stage you were once in charge of entertaining.
I’m as lost as the rest of us when it comes to predicting what’s next, but it’s clear that today marks a turning point in the history of technology. What Twitter and its alumni will do for now is another matter entirely. As someone who likes to deal with networks and how they start and stop people, my DMs are open.
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk again about Gen Z turnover, fintech trends and Twitter. As always, you can follow me on Twitter for my thoughts every day of the week.
Gen Z VC
Megan Loyst announced this week that she is leaving venture firm Lerer Hippeau to work full-time in a community she has spent years building: Gen Z VC. In a Twitter thread announcing the news, Loyst said he’s teaching a VC 101 course, starting a newsletter, working on content creation and working with businesses to demystify Gen Z.
The news comes about a month after GV’s Terri Burns announced she was leaving the firm, where she became the youngest and first black woman to earn the title of partner. As Burns shared with TechCrunch in 2020, her investment thesis is simple: Gen Z.
Here’s why it’s important: While we don’t yet know what Burns does next, her and Loyst’s departure from institutional firms during a volatile time in tech is a good reminder of how cyclical ventures can be. We recently recorded a stock podcast about the job of a venture capitalist and how it expands and rewrites itself over time: Investors are either ghosts, quietly giving up or rewriting their entire playbook.
Another section on abbreviations
- We’ve also learned from sources that stock trading service Public.com has let go 13 people, or about 7% of its team. Co-CEO Leif Abraham said in a statement to TechCrunch that “these decisions were made to ensure we are optimizing towards our most strategic goals and growing our talent pool accordingly.” Although Public’s workforce reduction is on a smaller scale than Chime and Stripe, it’s telling that it’s cutting staff in the same week he pushed for international expansion. credit: Anita Ramaswamy and Mary Ann Azevedo for the pressure to confirm this news.
Here’s why it’s important: Companies don’t just lay off staff when they have to. In a memo announcing the layoff, Stripe CEO Patrick Collision teased that the company “signed a remarkable 75% more new customers in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the third quarter of 2021,” and that they recently set a record for the total daily volume of transactions processed on the platform. Brex, which cut 11% of staff last month, announced another new partnership this week. So it seems a little confusing that the same startups that are growing are the same startups that are downsizing. All I can say for now is that the weeks leading up to the holiday season may bring more layoffs (and that I’m sorry for making this happen).
Twitter’s OnlyFans moment
My brilliant colleague Amanda Silberling popped up this week in her column about Opportunity for OnlyFans on Twitter. She reminds us of it Twitter has a lot of work to do before it can help adult content creators safely and securely monetize the platform — but at the same time, it might be Musk’s best bet to try to make its $44 billion purchase make some sense.
Here is an excerpt:
Twitter is the only major social media site that allows users to post porn. So for online sex workers, Twitter has historically functioned as an advertising tool for their OnlyFans accounts. But what if these creators could simply monetize on the platform and bypass the pressure of sending fans elsewhere?
“Sex sells” isn’t a cliché for nothing, and OnlyFans’ financials prove it. In 2021, the company earned $433 million in pre-tax profit, up from $61 million in 2020. The company makes its money by taking a 20% cut of all payments to creators — since 2016, the company has paid out $8 billion to creators , with $4 billion of that paid out in 2021 alone.
The market for online sex services is large enough to offset the effects of advertisers.
Read the full article hereand tell me what you think!
A few notes
- If you missed last week’s newsletter, it pissed off a few people enough, so here you go: “Venture capital will soon be full of ghosts.”
- TechCrunch is heading to Miami in a few weeks to host, you guessed it, a crypto conference. Some of my favorite people will be there, including our all-star crypto team, so be sure to go and feel free to DM me for a sweet, sweet discount code. Buy tickets and see our lineup here.
- I’m going out next week for my friend’s wedding (photos to come!) so Kyle Wiggers is taking over the newsletter. Follow it early and be nice, okay?
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