Hacker News Re-Imagined

Twitter CEO fires two top executives, freezes hiring

  • 1032 points
  • 8 days ago

  • @danso
  • Created a post

Twitter CEO fires two top executives, freezes hiring


@fleddr 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Just a spring cleaning that is about a decade late.

Twitter under-performs in every aspect imaginable: financially, product quality, product innovation. Nothing ever gets released and whilst this pace has improved in recent years, those "innovations" don't really deliver. They're barely used, copycats from other apps, and so on. Meanwhile, age-old problems are never addressed, like bots and the extremely hostile mob mentality on the platform.

They're ineffective and lack accountability. They need a reset and mentality change.

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@boringg 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

On pat leave too. Ouch.

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@johnboiles 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

This is mind boggling to me. Kayvon is one of the best product leaders / visionaries I know. It was confusing to me in Dec that he wasn't Jack's successor.

Kayvon was a huge driving force behind all the interesting product efforts of the last few years: Spaces, Fleets, topics, etc. Twitter went from not iterating on product (remember when Twitter's only change in several years was to change the star to a heart?) to starting to take some shots. Behind the scenes he was often pushing against significant headwinds that resisted product change (not the least of which was the internal 'sacred cow' that all things must be built with Scala and only run inside Twitter's on-prem datacenters).

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@nickstinemates 7 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I wonder if this is at all related to today's news. How big of a bot problem is there and who knew?

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@bhouston 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I suspect this was done in part because Elon Musk wants to make some big changes. It would be best for the outgoing CEO to make these difficult firings and then let Elon Musk come in and set a new tone without dealing with this negativity falling on Elon.

I'm not saying this is right, but it makes a lot of sense.

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@DeathArrow 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

It would be wise for Musk to rehire him.

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@LightG 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

And so it begins...

With Elon Musk's hand up Parag's jacksie and pressing all the buttons he chooses.

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@gumby 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

First of all, this isn't a diss on the guy who was fired, though it must sting. This is how things go.*

Second of all, for the question "why now?": Twitter's CEO Parag has to "run through the tape": regardless of what he thinks might happen, he has to keep to the plan and in fact can't talk to the potential acquirer. One reason is that perhaps the deal won't happen, but also he's just not allowed to.

If that sounds strange, consider CNN+ which was launched and killed within a couple of weeks. The buyer of CNN couldn't tell CNN what they thought but planned all along to nuke it; the CNN people either didn't understand that, were fanatics, or just didn't give a fuck.

* We don't know the whole story so it's possible he was actually doing something bad. But I think that's very unlikely, as these days those things are usually mentioned rather than being swept under the carpet.

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@Vaslo 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

All- some of you are clinging onto the paternity leave. I can't quote whether this is true, but at both Fortune 250 companies I worked for, you were paid out for your entire leave even if you weren't coming back after. So I would bet money he is still being paid for the whole leave, but if someone sees something else, please correct me. There is incentive to pay it out since one annoying side effect can be a person gone for 3 to 4 months suddenly calls 2 days before leave is over and says "I think I am resigning." It's better to pay the full leave and have them tell you that from the start so you don't waste 3 months.

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@elromulous 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Do we have any reason to believe that this was a musk motivated decision?

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@novaleaf 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

in the last few days Twitter doesn't force me to login to scroll down tweets anymore. Maybe related to the buy action? Want to show increased engagement in the final weeks for bargaining power?

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@Bud 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Looks like they fired him during paternity leave.

Stay classy, Twitter.

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@Dave3of5 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Oh dear wtf is going on at twitter HQ right now. Be interesting to see what happens when the dust settles.

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@DeathArrow 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Who will fire him?

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@Traster 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

So there's two options right - the first is that Parag is for some reason making big strategic decisions about the direction of the company despite the fact that we all know he'll be gone if the deal closes. Or he's making big strategic changes at the behest of the acquirers before the deal closes.

Neither of these things seem particularly kosher moves to make. The question is how to figure out which one it is.

It would seem weird for Parag to be following Musk's orders given how Musk has behaved. It also seems weird for Musk to already have the insight into the company to know specifically who to fire. There's not much advantage to making these changes now.

On the other hand, going rogue and making big strategic decisions about the company really has the potential to burn Parag's reputation for wherever he would move next.

I guess there's a third option - that Musk has expressed a specific view, Parag has a different view, but that they both think that this move is necessary anyway so just got on and did it.

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@dwighttk 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

“INSANELY proud…Twitter’s DAU has grown by over 87% since Q2 2018…”

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@xyst 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

twitter cleaning house, preparing for the inevitable scorched Earth effect of the transition to being privately owned.

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@WORMS_EAT_WORMS 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Are we all going to pretend Twitter's consumer product is not in desperate need of reworking?

It's failing hard to users and on the business side.

The decision makes sense...

This is extremely personal matter, beyond the Elon hate, I can't imagine why anyone would think its a good idea to make a public show about all this.

Good luck to him though. Would be awesome if he can prove Twitter (and the world) wrong and not be a one-hit wonder with Periscope. Or, not..

Time will tell.

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@Cupprum 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Maybe its a way to give his “friends” golden parachutes before he also quits after they sell twitter?

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@tfp137 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

If he was fired on paternity leave, the credited play is to say nothing. This is potentially a beautiful lawsuit and the last thing you want to do is lose ground on something you said on the internet.

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@5bolts 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

If he's fired now the current board can offer him a severance package that may not be on the table once Elon takes over. Might be a good thing, or strategic?

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@Vladimof 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

lol.... only 2 top comments visible on this post

https://i.imgur.com/TiIKxnr.png

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@dylan604 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

"To the hard working (current and former) Tweeps out there who made all this happen: Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into this place "

Tweeps? Is that really a term of endearment they refer to each other as? Really?

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@robbiemitchell 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

> Spaces, Communities, Topics, Creator tools, Safety controls

Interesting: as a casual Twitter user since 2008, I am completely unaware of Spaces, Communities, Topics, and Creator tools. Probably because I use Tweetdeck (desktop) and Tweetbot (mobile). I never see trending posts or ads, either.

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@brk 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Without knowing details of the severance, non-compete clauses, etc., it is hard to read too much into this. It could be a giant favor, or a giant kick in the balls.

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@ramesh31 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Must have been bad blood if he wasn't even given the opportunity to resign and save face. I can't even imagine the vipers nest of toxicity that building must be at this point.

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@hintymad 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Growing up outside of the US, I feel kinda cringed when he said he was "INSANELY proud of our collective teams achieved". Such an interesting cultural difference.

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@ryanSrich 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Not entirely related, but I do not understand how someone could say this with a straight face https://twitter.com/kayvz/status/1524787804743475201?s=21&t=...

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@kyledrake 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I've been using Twitter since it's main novelty was that it was a successful Ruby on Rails app, and honestly I've been trying to figure out where the exit is for my personal use of Twitter lately. If the acquisition goes through, Twitter won't make enough money to service it's debt, and the things they will do to fix that are pretty much guaranteed to lower the quality of the platform, which frankly has never worked very well for me anyways. The fact that they're doing a leadership purge right now is not helping my opinion on this.

I also think the proposal to have Twitter allow all content that is "legal under US law" is a dangerous idea for the platform being a healthy community that most people actually want to participate in. Content moderation debates have never been so ham-fisted as they are online so I won't try here, suffice to say there's some pretty horrible, disgusting things that are "legal under US law" (and as a content moderator, I've seen them all). If Twitter allows people to do them, it will make it difficult for Twitter to maintain a healthy community, and the platform could quickly devolve into a scarychan-style sewer that only the craziest people on the internet will want to dwell in. To say nothing about whether advertisers will tolerate some of it, or even Apple's app store.

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@brodouevencode 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Tangential question: who all previously had a Twitter account, abandoned it, then came back when Elon Musk announced he was buying it?

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@smm11 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Is Tumblr still a thing?

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@Melatonic 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Am I just getting old or is Twitter just always been a shitty format? I never got the appeal and still do not.

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@kringo 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

And keeps himself? Didn't he hire or was responsible for hiring these two?

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@haoc 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Getting fired during paternity leave, sounds brutal.

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@Mindwipe 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Twitter's consumer product team is truly awful and have just made the product more and more miserable to use, so I don't cry too much about the change in leadership.

Having said that, firing someone on paternity leave is terrible and would be rightly illegal in many countries.

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@nickdothutton 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

It is normal to ask the outgoing management to clean house before the new management moves in. Often a condition of any severance payment.

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@Operyl 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I can't help but wonder if this is to ensure he gets a good severance package before Musk comes in and cleans house? I can only hope, but it doesn't seem likely based on tone :(.

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@Railsify 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Good, Twitter has problems worthy of firing people over and in all cases it's ultimately executives that are responsible for all problems, so it makes sense that even if they don't publicly enumerate the specific events that led to the firing, these executives most certainly deserved to be fired.

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@kadenwolff 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Interesting that he co-founded Periscope and they also just removed any mention of Periscope from their TOS. Maybe just an artifact of them considering removing him, or it has no meaning. Just found the timing notable.

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@paulpauper 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

What if this is just a huge PR stunt on elon's part to get more followers and engagement for his own brand, without having to actually buy twitter?

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@SiempreViernes 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Literally head of product at Twitter, and still not enough clout to have paternity leave respected.

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@nashashmi 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Related: Twitter diff check on terms of service. Lots of removal of periscope language in the tos.

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@bogomipz 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

While trying to read the Head of Consumer Product's exit Twitter post which was split across 8 or 9 separate Tweets, I was prevented from reading them by the login wall pop up. For me this sums up a lot about the state of the product.

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@thunkshift1 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Parags role has changed from ceo to hatchet man

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@dpeck 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Letting people go while they’re on maternity or paternity leave us not cool.

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@kosyblysk666 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

good

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@minimaxir 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

> I’m just now learning that Parag fired Kayvon while he was on paternity leave, which is truly awful.

> Parag is on his way out too. Why is he firing his product leaders during his lame-duck period?

https://twitter.com/CaseyNewton/status/1524790595968901122

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@barelysapient 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Just freeing up a chair for himself after the deal closes.

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@prescriptivist 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

OT but one thing I've noticed is that Twitter has scaled back its aggressive modal/login prompt when viewing the site without being logged in. This seems to have occurred recently. It seems like it would have nothing to do with the acquisition talks but, curiously, it coincided with them.

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@m1117 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Why need product when they have Elon Musk.

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@moralestapia 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

>Twitter’s DAU has grown by over 87% since Q2 2018

LOL, that's why you got the boot, pal.

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@pdq 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Is he the one who gave final approval of the anonymous login-wall, which pops up after 2 screens of scrolling in Twitter?

If so, good riddance, as that is an incredibly hostile user pattern.

BTW, maybe it's purely coincidence, but after refreshing my browser cache it seems to have gone away today.

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@omega3 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I would be silent and grateful for the severance package if I had developed a product that has this functionality: https://bayimg.com/EabiBAaHF

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@danso 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙



@jjtheblunt 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

It's amazing how horrible a UE is involved in reading that thread. It's so fractured.

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@socrates1998 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I deleted twitter around the time Elon's bid got approved. I was thinking about it for a while, as the app is just another way to get pissed off at the world.

These moves seem odd given that Elon isn't even the owner yet and still has some ways to go to get it all done.

I am getting the feeling twitter will be dead in a couple of years. End up like Tumblr or something. It will still be there, but it will have lost it's place in the top 20 social media platforms.

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@Overtonwindow 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I wonder what changed….

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@georgia_peach 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Looking at this guy's CV, seems as though the industry has decayed into the electronic version of a direct mail operation--one social/video company buying another for its customer list. A thinner ethnic version of Karl Rove has been let go. Forgive me if my eyes remain dry.

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@jmyeet 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

The two execs fired were:

- Kayvon Beykpour, Head of Consumer Product (3 years, 11 months) [1]; and

- Bruce Falck, Revenue Product Lead (5 years at Twitter, 3 years and 11 months in this position) [2]

Kinda weird that both people were just shy of serving 4 years in their current roles. When I see moves like this my immediate thought is always, it's to save or make money. For example, there could be an options pool in the event of a change of control. Well, you've just fired a couple of people right before a huge vest (probably; I have no concrete information) and increased your share of that options pool.

It just reminds me of Skype firing executives at the Microsoft buyout to avoid payouts [3].

Otherwise making these moves before an acquisition has closed doesn't make a lot of sense. My money is on this having everything to do with money.

EDIT: Updated comment as the link was updated from the original Twitter thread by Kayvon Beykpour about his firing.

[1]: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayvon-beykpour-2b264b4?original...

[2]: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brucefalck?original_referer=http...

[3]: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/skype-fires-executives....

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@hnthrowaway0328 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Is him on Elon's side or not?

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@Graffur 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Probably a good thing - Twitters product sucks. I feel bad for Kayvon Beykpour since he said he was on paternity leave but I guess that is what happens when you fly high.

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@paxys 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Why is Parag making any major changes at this point? What "new vision" is he going to execute in his last few months at the company before Elon comes in and torpedoes it anyways?

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@cloudwalking 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

A lot of assumptions here that Parag is out after Elon takes over. Is that backed up by evidence?

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@corndoge 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

I can't read this thread, a black screen pops up that asks me to log in.

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@jeffrallen 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Heh hey. Popping me some popcorn.

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@donohoe 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Some insights and kind words by Tony Haile, founder of Chartbeat and Scroll:

https://twitter.com/arctictony/status/1524813920514482179?s=...

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@lvl102 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Not sure what he is proud of? Twitter did NOTHING for a decade. That’s why they’re being acquired. Zuckerberg was right about his “clown car” comment.

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@dustinmoris 8 days

Replying to @danso 🎙

Musk taking over Twitter can not happen soon enough.

I am sick of woke fascism and Twitter was up until now the prime breeding ground for new age radical left fascists. If the deal goes through the world will be a better place for it.

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