First came the robustly inane and rather unscientific poll – or should I say first came Elon Musk – asking Tweeps if he should step down as CEO. Then came the acknowledgement that millions upon millions of people thought Musk should indeed step down as the CEO of Twitter. Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg did his own poll. 81 per cent of his fans gamely said he should run Twitter. The next day Musk was up and at it again stating, “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
Of course, this was after Musk prompted, “The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive.” The question though is, what does it really take to run Twitter? Jack Dorsey seemed to manage it. Except when he didn’t. Not here, here or here. But then there was his NFT coup, or not. Dorsey stepped down because Twitter investors felt he was not giving it his undivided attention and also, and Twitter made a net loss of $221 million according to the Financial Times. Dorsey has recently come out taking accountability for Twitter’s woes and apologising to the retrenched employees after Musk laid off over 3,500 of them.
Then came Parag Agrawal, also sent home by Musk. The CTO turned CEO was a Twitter engineer who Dorsey trusted implicitly. His tenure was, in a word, grounded. And also, short. Dorsey said, “He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around…He leads with his heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily.”
The one main thing that makes Twitter a change agent’s dream though, is whether the next CEO can squeeze a buck out of Twitter. BBC curated a list of possible Twitter CEO candidates for what they referenced as “one of the biggest roles in Silicon Valley,” with quite a number of familiar names and faces such as Sheryl Sandberg, (who managed to boost Facebook’s advertising in her time), former CEOs Agrawal and Dorsey, and Edward Snowden who jokingly wants to be paid in bitcoin. Sriram Krishnan’s elevation to the role has come up. The Indian-American would be in keeping with the diversity and inclusion agenda corporates are investing in. He led product teams at Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo!, Snap and Facebook, and is said to be a confidante to Musk.
Then there is Blake Masters, a politician and venture capitalist who knows the job will bring “a world of pain” but has gone as far as tweet the ideas he would implement if he got the job. He would vouch for free speech and calls the previous regime “too ideological and untrustworthy.” He says he sees Twitter’s potential and it lies in the insertion of “longer-form stuff,” Vine, Substack, product design and yes, even Mr Beast.
Twitter’s next CEO will have to contend with Musk as his boss while working with what’s left of the Twitter team on building “new features and subscription models to increase its user base and revenue,” note India Today. As CEO, Musk already witnessed advertisers trotting out when he dropped the phrase “free speech.” Some of the Big Tech companies that left have since returned, namely Apple and Amazon.
The new Twitter CEO would need to be no wallflower. They have to be someone who can push back against Musk’s temperamental ideas, and impromptu poll-influenced decisions and build a working business model.
In a Quora post dating back to a time before Musk, How do I apply for the Twitter CEO job?, the candidate is advised that C-Suite executive hiring is so weighty a decision it can at times involve the government. But if they are visionary, can muddle through “marketing, managerial accounting and leadership driving the team into sustainable growth,” and shareholder “satisfaction,” not to mention the highest degree of commitment to an organisation that is not family, then they should “Give Jack Dorsey a call…who knows.. maybe you’ll be the next CEO lol.”