Elon Musk Reveals More About Twitter in Spaces Chat with ‘Geohot’
On Tuesday evening, Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk joined a Twitter Spaces conversation with George “Geohot” Hotz, the original iPhone jailbreaker who joined the company last month to work on search functionality, where the two talked at length about the platform.
Apart from being the site of some spicy interactions between Musk and some of the inquirers (see below), the Spaces conversation shed some light on the current state of Twitter and the celebrity billionaire’s plans for its future. Over 342,000 Twitter users tuned into the audio chat.
Elon got called out by this guy @igb who was pressing Elon on the technical details of Twitter and Elon was like "Who are you dude lol?" before igb got booted off the stage. It was incredible to listen to. Definitely better than Avatar 2 way of the water 💀
— Autism Capital 🧩 (@AutismCapital) December 21, 2022
Musk made it clear that Twitter is fighting to survive right now. He explained that while many of his actions since taking over the company back in October (laying off more than 50% of the workforce, for starters) may appear “spurious or odd,” they were cost-cutting measures.
According to Musk, Twitter was on track to spend $5 billion USD next year, with an additional $1.5 billion due in debt servicing for the roughly $12.5 billion in debt the company has taken on for the eccentric entrepreneur to take it private.
Revenue, meanwhile, was projected to be $3 billion and the company only has $1 billion in cash. Musk said it costs some $1.5 billion annually to run Twitter’s servers alone.
“That is why I spent the last five weeks cutting costs like crazy,” said the self-proclaimed “Chief Twit.” Musk added that he believes Twitter will roughly break even next year, cash flow-wise. “I now think that Twitter will, in fact, be okay next year.”
Musk also revealed that some telecom operators outside North America were overcharging Twitter for two-factor authentication text messages, to the point that the social network was paying $60 million per year for SMS service. “We’re okay with dealing with SOME fraud but be reasonable,” the CEO said.
During the conversation, we heard Musk mention rewriting Twitter. He compared the potential impact of the decision to Apple’s move to OS X. Musk even went on to float the idea of publicizing the source code of Twitter and open-sourcing it.
“The acquisition happened 6 weeks ago. Cut the burn rate. Move revenue from fuzzy brand advertising to advertising with ROI. This is why we have Twitter verified. When heading into a recession excess brand spending is the first thing that gets cut.”
Moving forward, Musk said he wants Twitter to focus on “unregretted user minutes” instead of monetizable daily active usage or users (mDAUs). To that end, he plans to scrap the pesky prompt requiring users to log in to view a tweet they clicked on a link for.
“There are a lot of people at Twitter doing great work, and it is super appreciated,” Musk said towards the end of the chat.
You can check out a recording of (most of) the Spaces conversation below:
Hotz resigned from his internship at Twitter hours prior to hosting the Space. Taking to Twitter, he said he “didn’t think there was any real impact I could make there.”
Resigned from Twitter today.
Appreciate the opportunity, but didn’t think there was any real impact I could make there. Besides, it was sad to see my GitHub withering. Back to coding! pic.twitter.com/Jbs9LxNB2K
— George Hotz 🐀 (@realGeorgeHotz) December 20, 2022
Musk, meanwhile, also broke his silence on a poll he posted Sunday where he asked whether he should remain the head of Twitter, promising to abide by the results. 57.5% of the more than 17.5 million accounts that participated in the poll voted in favour of Musk stepping down.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job,” Musk said on Tuesday, adding that he will continue to “run the software & servers teams” after stepping down.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2022