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- Elon Musk gave the “All-In” podcast a gently self-deprecating review of his tenure at Twitter.
- He defended his fast decision-making on slashing headcount and putting out new features.
- But he quipped that it would be “pretty embarrassing and sad” if the moves tanked the site.
Elon Musk’s time as “Chief Twit” has been marked by apparent snap-of-a-finger changes and sometimes swift backlash, but the Tesla and SpaceX CEO seems to be chalking the ups and downs to growing pains.
“In the beginning, we’ll make, obviously, a lot more mistakes, because I’m new to — Hey, I just got here, man,” he said on the “All-In” podcast show posted on Saturday. “I think we’ll have fewer gaffes in the future,” he said.
Besides the mass layoffs (now the subject of ongoing lawsuits), Musk also instituted the halting implementation of new features like paid verification and pulled back employees monitoring disturbing content on the site. Most recently, he has been criticized for the temporary suspensions of the accounts of several journalists.
One of the show’s hosts, investor David Friedberg, alluded to the controversy around “product iteration” — the evolution of a product or feature being developed — and referred to some of the public’s “negative feedback about quick action without communication.”
Musk pitched a baseball metaphor, telling Friedberg, “We’re going to swing for the fences here at Twitter, and we’re going to do it quickly,” even if it means having to “strike out a bit more.”
Musk also defended a new “views” feature that Twitter unveiled this month to show how many people saw a particular tweet, which many users criticized for cluttering the interface. He said it was a “lot harder feature to implement than you’d think.”
Musk also acknowledged that Twitter continues to have “a fair number of bots in the system” — an apparent pet cause he’d leveraged in trying to back out of buying the platform — but said he’s since made “a lot of steps to reduce the bots and troll situation.”
Friedberg also raised Musk’s cultural influence among tech peers fascinated by a solo leadership approach, unfettered by the restraints of a board, a phenomenon that Insider’s Melia Russell recently covered. Musk appeared to concede that absolute power could carry some risks.
“I guess I’m in some ways in a fortunate position, where I don’t have to answer — it’s not public, and we don’t have a board, really,” he said. “I can take actions that are drastic. And obviously, if I make a bunch of mistakes, then Twitter won’t succeed, and that will be pretty embarrassing and sad.”
He turned once again to baseball to lighten up that prognosis. “As long as the batting average is good … it will be a great future.”