Twitter is no stranger to uncertain times.
In November of 2021, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s long-standing CEO, stepped down. A new CEO, long-time Twitter engineer, Parag Agrawal, became Dorsey’s successor, which I covered late last year in Jack Dorsey steps down from Twitter. (You’ll have to forgive the shameless self-promotion, but I digress.)
Now, in another unforeseen turn of events, Elon Musk, billionaire SpaceX exec and the owner of Tesla bought 9.2% of Twitter stock. I’m shocked he didn’t buy 69% or 42% of Twitter – if you know, you know. Despite being the largest individual shareholder and being offered a spot on the board for Twitter, Musk declined. There could be several reasons he declined a spot on the board.
One main reason is that he historically has used his platform (He has 80 million followers on Twitter alone) to convince his followers to support any company that he has a financial interest in. This behavior is fine, so long as he does not sit on the board of these companies.
Another could be because of his dubious actions that may lead to SEC fines. He failed to disclose his stake in Twitter until 21 days after he bought the shares. The SEC requirement is 10 days. This allowed him to buy the stock at a much lower price than he would’ve been able to if he had announced his partial ownership of Twitter in a timely fashion, this earned him $159 billion far greater than any SEC fine would cost him. Although, when you have the wealth of Elon Musk, are fines really a deterrent anyway?
Another reason is that being on the board now would lead to a 14.9% ownership cap.
In true Musk fashion, he was trolling his followers on Twitter after becoming the largest individual shareholder. He tweeted things such as “Should we turn Twitter HQ into a homeless shelter?” He also said he was “in goblin mode,” a quote from the popular show Breaking Bad. Both tweets are now deleted.
Update: At the time of writing, Thursday, April 14th, 2022 Elon Musk made an offer to buy the rest of Twitter for $54.20 a share or $43 billion total.
He calls this his “best and final offer”. That’s right folks, in yet another turn of events, Elon is going for a full-on hostile takeover of Twitter. It is too soon to see if his bid will be accepted.
Musk states that he feels that he’s “The person who can unlock the extraordinary potential of Twitter.”
For those unaware, Elon Musk is a big proponent of free speech. He refers to himself as a “free speech absolutist” and thinks that Twitter is “the platform for free speech around the world,” but believes it cannot reach its full potential until he transforms it into a private company.
Because social media sites are private platforms, they can set whatever moderation standards they see fit. Current standards for Twitter are restrictive, which Musk could seek to loosen. This means that users cannot cite the First Amendment when they are shadowbanned or de-platformed on any social media site. Musk has been a long-time advocate for an “uncontrolled internet.”
He also has other big ideas for the social media giant, including doing away with advertisements completely. Twitter currently makes 90% of its income, or around $5 billion, from advertising. Advertisers are the ones who typically set moderation standards as a condition to run their ads. Eliminating ads could help further his cause for completely free speech. He also mentioned wanting to add an edit button, so that Tweets can be edited after they are posted. Considering the number of public figures who find themselves embroiled in controversy because of their Tweets, this is not a bad thing.
Twitter, as a public company, even under a change in leadership was growing rapidly, garnering 25 million new users by the end of the year, which means Twitter has amassed a user base of 217 million as of 2021.
Critics, however, believe that Musk’s anti-censorship crusade won’t solve Twitter’s problems. Many are worried that Musk would use his power to allow previously banned users back on the platform. Former secretary of U.S. labor, Robert Reich, called out Musk, saying that his vision for an uncontrolled internet is dangerous, Reich believes there is no such animal and never will be. Here’s a list of public figures, who, as of right now, are permanently banned from Twitter.
Fellow billionaire and business owner, Mark Cuban, has weighed in with a theory.
Mark Cuban thinks it’s Musk’s way of “F*cking with the SEC”.
Musk, who referred to the SEC as “bastards” over a forced settlement of Tesla Tweets, where he paid $20 million on fines and stepped down as Tesla’s chairman after posting a tweet about having funding secured for Tesla stock to take the company private. Cuban is in the camp that Musk’s actions are a big f*ck you to the SEC. Musk filed with the SEC and then fittingly, tweeted the declaration of intent to purchase Twitter, to avoid more issues with the SEC.
Obviously, as a writer, I am pro-free speech, however allowing completely uncontrolled or unmoderated spaces on the Internet is never a good idea, and has historically, only had negative results. The internet makes any interest or activity, no matter how nefarious, possible, and able to be viewed on the regular web, as opposed to the dark web. For example, multiple grassroots terrorist organizations came about on unmoderated corners of the web. Of course, the principle of controlled internet can be taken too far, like what we see in communist countries. I believe a happy medium exists.
Twitter’s current fate seems more uncertain than ever. We know Musk will have some role in Twitter’s future but how much? Will Twitter accept his offer? Will Musk privatize Twitter and turn it into an uncontrolled, unmoderated space on the web? (We see how that turned out with Parler.)
I guess only time will tell.
How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization
(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?
Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.
Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.
Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.” Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.
There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.
What we want to do:
- Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
- Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
- Distribute the work equitably.
Here is a simple example:
Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.
Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.
For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.
Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.
Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.
Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.
You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs. According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.
*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.
5 secrets to a more productive morning, free of distractions
(EDITORIAL) Productivity is king in the office, but sometimes distractions and other issues slow you down. So what can you do to limit these factors?
Regardless of whether you’re a self-proclaimed morning person or not, more efficient mornings can be catalytic in your daily productivity and output. The only question is, do you know how to make the most of your mornings in the office?
5 Tips for Greater Morning Productivity
In economic terms, productivity is a measure of output as it relates to input. Academics often discuss productivity in terms of a one-acre farm’s ability to produce a specific crop yield, or an auto manufacturing plant’s ability to produce a certain number of vehicles over a period of time. But then there’s productivity in our personal lives.
Your own daily productivity can be defined in a variety of ways. But at the end of the day, it’s about getting the desired results with less time and effort on the input side. And as a business professional, one of the best ways to do this is by optimizing your morning in the office.
Here are a few timely suggestions:
- Eliminate All Non-Essential Actions
Spend the next week keeping a log of every single action you take from the moment your eyes open in the morning until you sit down at your desk. It might look something like this:
- Turn off alarm
- Scroll through social media on the phone
- Get out of bed
- Eat breakfast
- Take shower
- Brush teeth
- Walk dog
- Watch news
- Browse favorite websites
- Get in car
- Starbucks drive-thru
- Arrive at office
- Small talk with coworkers
- Sit down at the desk
If you do this over the course of a week, you’ll notice that your behaviors don’t change all that much. There might be some slight deviations, but it’s basically the same pattern.
Now consider how you can eliminate as many points of friction as possible from your routine. [Note from the Editor: This may be an unpopular opinion, but] For example, can you skip social media time? Can you make coffee at home, rather than drive five minutes out of your way to wait in the Starbucks drive-thru line? Just doing these two things alone could result in an additional 30 minutes of productive time in the office.
- Reduce Distractions
Distractions kill productivity. They’re like rooftop snipers. As soon as they see any sign of productivity, they put it in their crosshairs and pull the trigger.Ask yourself this: What are my biggest distractions and how can I eliminate them?Popular distractions include social media, SMS, video games, news websites, and email. And while none of these are evil, they zap focus. At the very least, you should shift them to later in the day.
- Set Measurable Goals and Action items
It’s hard to have a productive morning if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it means to be productive. Make sure you set measurable goals, create actionable to-do lists, and establish definitive measurements of what it looks like to be efficient. However, don’t get so caught up in the end result that you miss out on true productivity.“There’s a big difference between movement and achievement; while to-do lists guarantee that you feel accomplished in completing tasks, they don’t ensure that you move closer to your ultimate goals,” TonyRobbins.com mentions. “There are many ways to increase your productivity; the key is choosing the ones that are right for you and your ultimate goals.”In other words, set goals that are actually reflective of productivity. In doing so, you’ll adjust your behavior to come in proper alignment with the results you’re seeking.
- Try Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Sometimes you just need to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand. There are plenty of ways to shut out interruptions but make sure you’re also simultaneously cuing your mind to be productive. Vagus nerve stimulation is one option for doing both.Vagus nerve stimulation gently targets the body’s vagus nerve to promote balance and relaxation, while simultaneously enhancing focus and output.
- Optimize Your Workspace
Makes sure your office workspace is conducive to productivity. This means eliminating clutter, optimizing the ergonomics of your desk, reducing distractions, and using “away” settings on apps and devices to suppress notifications during work time.
Make Productivity a Priority
Never take productivity for granted. The world is full of distractions and your willpower is finite. If you “wing it,” you’ll end up spending more time, energy, and effort, all while getting fewer positive results.
Make productivity a priority – especially during the mornings when your mind is fresh and the troubles of the day have yet to be released in full force. Doing so will change the way you operate, function, and feel. It’ll also enhance tangible results, like income, job status, and the accolades that come along with moving up in your career.
Is the tech industry layoff bloodbath coming or is it already here?
We have large online communities for job seekers, and we can affirm that the layoffs are on the way, but there is a silver lining for all involved…
If you were on Twitter at the end of last week, you probably saw a dribble of conversations about layoffs in tech coming, and today, the volume was turned up to 10 on social media. Several founders have said they’re cutting parts of teams and are nixing contractors. We’re about to be in a recession, y’all, and we can ALL feel it coming.
While this has been happening all of this calendar year, a pending recession is kicking the stock market in the teeth (especially in tech), and combined with a slowdown in fundraising, fuel has been added to what was simply kindling, and layoffs are already rapidly escalating.
The next 6-8 weeks is going to be a bloodbath. I'm hearing rumors about a ton of companies preparing to lay off 20-40% of their team https://t.co/R6Ufq6zjXs
— JD Ross (@justindross) May 5, 2022
JD isn’t the only one hearing it, my inbox has slowly been lighting up on this topic. In response, Joshua Baer noted that it’s a great time to scoop up talent. Love or hate him, he’s right.
Good time to add great talent to your team if you are still hiring! https://t.co/NPzwcp09x2
— Joshua Baer ?? (@JoshuaBaer) May 5, 2022
There is a lot of data on tech layoffs, for example, Layoffs.FYI has been tracking meaningfully since COVID began, pulling info from public reports. We expect they’ll be busy for the next few months.
While VC funding in 2021 was at a global high, so far, 2022 has shown a significant slowdown, according to CrunchBase. Many believe valuations are tumified, a bear market is believed to be upon us, and tech firms are struggling to increase profitability, all combining to a bubble about to burst.
As Baer noted, the silver lining is for anyone looking to hire. It’s bad news for anyone about to get a pink slip, but it’s also empowering to know that candidates are still in the driver’s seat in this market and negotiations are still in their favor.
We at AG have communities dedicated completely to job seekers and employers, and have created neutral ground on which they can meet, and they do by the thousands (Austin Digital Jobs and Remote Digital Jobs).
We’re not seeing the “bloodbath” of folks with pink slips in hand yet, BUT today, a dozen mid- to senior- level technologists reached out to me personally that got laid off Monday morning.
With our finger firmly on the tech employment pulse, we agree with the assessment that layoffs are coming.
More on this topic: “Why are tech layoffs coming after such great Q1 earnings?!”
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