Thursday, February 9, 2023
HomeMarketTwitter Seeks Masochistic CEO. The Job Reports to Elon Musk.

Twitter Seeks Masochistic CEO. The Job Reports to Elon Musk.

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Help Wanted: Thinly profitable microblog seeks masochist for role of nominal chief executive. Must share owner’s core beliefs, which can last for hours, while accepting blame for both a nascent advertising recession and the world’s broader decline into bitter incivility. Responsibilities include saying some stuff about free speech while quietly begging sponsors to return. Candidates should be willing to commit to a three-month tenure, tops, before a highly public firing that will make Bob Chapek’s ousting at
Disney
look like the Kennedy Center Honors. 

Further Details: Look, this thing has obviously gotten away from us. A year ago, our guy was getting loads of attention on Twitter for trashing Twitter, which was fun. Then he proposed a takeover at $54.20 a share, partly because 420 is an inside cannabis reference—hilarious, I know! But a super-serious judge forced him to actually go through with it, so he ended up paying $44 billion for a company that’s probably worth well less than half that, based on how other social media stocks have tanked. At least the Saudis put up some of the cash. They must be really into free speech.

The great thing about you-know-who is his decisiveness. He fired half the staff, launched paid verification, and tweeted a recommendation just before midterm elections to vote Republican. Results have been sorta mixed. Some big advertisers have paused spending until they learn more about how remaining staff will keep their brands from appearing next to objectionable tweets. Easy come, easy go, as they say, except that Twitter is 16 years old now, and ad revenue hasn’t exactly been easy-come to begin with.  

The paid verification plan had a teensy impostor problem. Nintendo of America, we would like to reiterate, didn’t actually tweet a picture of Mario with a raised middle finger. So now we’re trying out regular verification on people who do the paid verification, if that makes sense. 

The politics stuff was actually hugely popular. Except among the people who mostly use Twitter and buy
Tesla
cars. 

Speaking of which, Tesla stock is down by half in three months, so investors there aren’t thrilled about all the Twitter talk. It’s to the point where our guy just gave up the title of world’s richest individual to a French handbag and cognac magnate who doesn’t even tweet. 

So yeah, we’re looking to take some of the heat off of our guy for a while. And he’s serious about getting refocused at Tesla by stepping down at Twitter—he did a Twitter poll about it and everything. Users voted 57.5% to 42.5% that he should go. As he likes to say, “vox populi, vox dei,” or “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” 

That’s actually taken from a larger 798 AD quote that translates to, “Do not listen to those who say the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the tumult of the crowd is always close to madness,” which is ironic, but I’m not about to vox that to him for fear of turning unpopuli around here.

Bottom line, we’re putting the feelers out now for a new manager, and if you’ve read this far, let’s face it: You’re not choosy, which is an excellent sign. Pay and benefits are negotiable, and definitely payable, despite what you’ve heard about us falling behind on rent while we renegotiate our lease.

As our current CEO tweeted over the weekend, “You must like pain a lot. One catch: you have to invest your life savings in Twitter and it has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May. Still want the job?”

We believe in a future where Twitter is a global town square for the free and safe exchange of ideas. But right now, we’re in the present, where it’s more of a 2 a.m. corned beef hash fight at Denny’s. That’s where you come in. We look forward to hearing from you.     

Write to Jack Hough at jack.hough@barrons.com

Credit: marketwatch.com

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