Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been beset by numerous problems, from a public rebuke by loyal users to a parade of controversial suspensions and reinstatements. But in the earliest stages of the acquisition, Musk had the opportunity to consult with Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, who led a successful turnaround of the tech giant after taking over in 2014. What could the Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX leader learn from Nadella’s success to reverse the social media platform’s course before it’s too late?
First, Musk can start by putting out the fires he started himself before the platform burns down; when Nadella took over a flailing Microsoft, he refrained from forcing his ideas on users and investors. Also, Musk shouldn’t rush to disassemble Twitter’s ad ecosystem in favor of selling subscription services; his counterpart at Microsoft didn’t try to blow up Windows, the company’s traditional selling point. Musk chased off advertisers he deemed too “woke” in a manner that has kept the biggest spenders from returning.
Additionally, Musk should reconsider how he treats the platform’s employees, cutting with more precision rather than hacking away in an unbridled fervor. Nadella understands that although layoffs might be necessary, it’s crucial to treat these employees with empathy, both for morale and reputational concerns. If the Twitter CEO changes course using Nadella’s blueprint, the platform could yet survive.