It's 2022. Elon Musk, the Tesla and space race maven, wakes up and decides to quietly purchase $9 Billion in Twitter shares. Well, as quietly as an elephant blowing a trumpet.
Musk’s purchasing billions worth of Twitter shares follows his being crowned “the supreme leader of crypto”, the” lord of the billions” and "the guy with the largest rocket" - figuratively speaking. He then decides to play said trumpet to announce to the world that he likes his new toy, and wants to be the last man standing. To achieve this, he quietly rallies the most influential voices in the Twitter senate to back his bid in consuming the entire Blue Bird.
Soon later, he gets bored. After picking at his food, he realises that the Twitter platter is not the banquet befitting a roman general of his standing. The spoils of his victory do not match up to the efforts in gaining it. At least, not at the price of $54 Billion.
That brings us to today. Twitter has told employees that the company's office buildings will be temporarily closed, with immediate effect.
Like Elon and his mortal baggage, we all wake up most days, to our phones and the news. I woke up this week to Elon telling his newly purchased team that they have to work harder, faster and better or leave right away. This comes after he fired 4000 contracts and another batch of substantive staff including executives. Like Icarus and the sun, there are many such tales and real stories throughout history – remembering one’s humanity is important.
The announcement comes amid reports that large numbers of staff were quitting after new owner Elon Musk called on them to sign up for "long hours at high intensity" or leave. The message went on to say: "Please continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere." The news regarding Twitter’s new in-house drama has spread like wildfire. In response to the turmoil at the company, Mr Musk tweeted on Friday:
"And... we just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage. LOL."
Ever the steely-faced general, Musk’s comments are either a show of resolve or his daring mission to fly closer to the sun. Either way, his most recent actions will test the foundations of his leadership at Twitter; and his humanity, regarding how he will treat his workforce going forward.
In ancient Rome, the Auriga was a slave with gladiator status, whose duty was to drive a biga. An Auriga was a sort of "chauffeur" for important men and was carefully selected from among trustworthy slaves only. It has been supposed also that this name was given to the slave who held a laurel crown, during Roman Triumphs, over the head of the dux, standing at his back but continuously whispering in his ears "Memento Mori" ("remember you are mortal") to prevent the celebrated commander from losing his sense of proportion in the excesses of the celebrations.
Many of us admire the success of Elon and the innovations he’s brought us. From his best wishers, haters, observers, and the rest of us - "Memento Mori". We can only wish him and the rest of the Twitter workforce the best as the company continues towards uncharted waters. And that the course he charts for the social media platform doesn't fly too close to the sun.