Just hours after finalizing the deal to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, Elon Musk fired several Twitter executives. In less than two weeks, the company lost almost all of its senior leadership. In addition, the company also had to fire about half of its employees. Twitter is not the only large company that Musk is in charge of. Elon Musk is also the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring and Neuralink. All these companies are large and in entirely different lines of business. After acquiring Twitter, Musk is adding yet another very different line of business to his multi-business portfolio. However, analysts say it will be difficult for Musk. They believe that he is just one man and is already struggling with overload. Multitasking between these companies will be an uphill task even for a man like Elon Musk.
Nevertheless, Elon Musk will not be alone. Some of Musk’s “inner circle” are helping him take over and reinvent Twitter. Tim Higgins, author of Power Play claims Musk has an “inner circle” of friends and family. He says Musk has close contact with these people. Higgins claims the billionaire regularly draws these people to new business ventures. At the moment, some of these people are already quietly on Twitter.
Elon Musk’s allies
1. Jason Calacanis: Investor and podcaster, longtime Musk ally
Text messages made public during Musk’s legal battle with Twitter show that Jason Calacanis even expressed his desire to become Twitter’s CEO. “Let me be a game coach! Twitter CEO is my dream job,” he wrote in a text exchange with Musk. While not exactly a CEO, Calacanis’ Twitter bio at one point declared himself Twitter’s “chief meme officer” and “the world’s greatest host.” Inside Twitter, Calacanis is listed as a software engineer, according to two people familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, Calacanis himself has touted his work with the company on Twitter. He poll users about the features they’d like to see and participates in meetings with Twitter advertisers.
2. Alex Spiro: head of Musk’s legal team
Alex Spiro first worked with Musk in 2019, when he defended Musk in an alleged defamation lawsuit. Since then, Spiro has played a key role in Musk’s lawsuit trying to drop the Twitter deal. The celebrity lawyer has defended stars like Jay-Z and Eminem. He now runs Twitter’s government relations, policy and marketing teams. This information is coming from multiple sources close to Twitter. In addition, Spiro served as Twitter’s de facto legal director. He was reportedly involved in the company’s layoff plan, supporting a 50% cut.
3. Sriram Krishnan: Former head of product at Twitter, venture capitalist
Unlike the others, Sriram Krishnan has worked at Twitter before. The software engineer left the company last year to join Andreessen Horowitz, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Three days after Musk completed the acquisition, Krishnan tweeted that he was only helping Musk temporarily after the acquisition. Neither Krishnan’s role nor his level of intimacy with Musk is unclear. He has always been a staunch supporter of the billionaire in the past, calling him an “inspirational and quintessential entrepreneur”. In February 2021, Musk appeared on a talk show hosted by Krishnan and his wife. The show on the app Clubhouse sparked online speculation about their relationship.
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4. David Sachs: Member of the “Paypal Mafia”
David Sacks is a member of the so-called “Paypal Mafia,” the influential founders of the payments app. Other members of the “Paypal Mafia” include Reid Hoffman, founder of the professional networking site LinkedIn, and Musk himself. Since serving as PayPal’s COO and head of product, Sachs has been founding venture capital firm Craft Ventures. Now, Sachs is said to be pulled in (at least temporarily) to help Musk take over Twitter. Sachs’ company title at Twitter was software engineer and was assigned a company-specific email address, the report claim. Sachs dismissed reports of his active involvement in the Twitter makeover. His recent tweet claims he “has no official role”. However, he is “doing what investors are trying to do in Silicon Valley.”
5. Jared Birchall: Head of Musk’s family office
Jared Birchall heads Musk’s office and manages the billionaire’s personal wealth. He has been described as Musk’s “middleman” and right-hand man. The former Goldman Sachs analyst has been working with Musk for more than six years. In 2018, he was even listed as CEO, CFO and president of Neuralink, Musk’s brain-computer interface technology company. He is also a director at Boring Company, another of Musk’s companies. Birchall reportedly played a key role in securing financing for Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. Over the past week, Birchall has also appeared on Twitter’s internal strategy team.
At the moment, none of Elon Musk’s allies responded to requests for comment.
Musk can’t do it alone
Currently, Musk has too much to do. He recently fired thousands of Twitter’s employees including top executives. He is also set to implement a controversial rule that says users will pay $8 monthly for verification. Twitter is a very new business for Musk. As the richest man in the world, Musk may be the busiest person.
How will he manage and lead all these complex projects at the same time? Before, his performance may have been spotty. In the future, it may become more uneven. David Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School, said: “One CEO can’t manage four or five companies as effectively. And that shouldn’t be what we’re expecting”. Elon Musk has a huge challenge on his hands. Being CEO at a company in an unfamiliar industry (Twitter) will only complicate things more. This will make it harder for him to manage these businesses. However, it now appears that Musk is not alone.