When you’re rich, just about anything you say about the hardship of others tends to fall flat. It could be that you are on a yacht or in luxury hotels, walking on the beaches with stars and driving a Tesla, while you sympathize with those struggling to make ends meet.
That’s why a tweet from Jack Dorsey, the former Twitter CEO who owns about $1B in shares in the company he co-founded, feels a bit strange. Here’s the tweet in question:
He said that he had grown the company too quickly and apologized for it. This was in reference to the number of new employees the company hired during his tenure, many of whom are unemployed now. Elon Musk posted that he couldn’t help but fire half of his employees.
Here’s that tweet:
Consider the consequences.
Musk said that two billionaires claimed he grew his business too quickly, while the other stated that he cut corners and lost money. In real life, many of us struggle to pay our mortgages.
Dorsey was a wise, wise CEO. His Twitter feed offered wisdom and he would frequently go on meditation retreats. These days, he looks almost like a shaman. The idea that a powerful titan of technology “grew too fast” might not sit well with anyone who has observed how the tech sector works.
First, there’s the “fail fast” mentality. Many have believed that this myth is true. Innovation requires constant change. Entrepreneurship demands that you move quickly. “Failing fast” is often a coded phrase for not staying loyal to customers, employees, or even your own integrity. It’s also usually a way to make a quick profit.
One, Twitter and other social media platforms like it built huge followings (around 300,000,000 users), and were a household name due to their massive investment. Dorsey created an empire many people know, and many still use. Twitter’s name is well-known, even though its user base is declining. Everybody celebrates the growth of the tech industry. We all cheer on the success of an app that experiences massive growth.
There’s often a dark cloud hanging over companies like Twitter and Facebook when they hire thousands of people but the product doesn’t have any real backbone, when the business model is not sustainable, or when we can’t trust the platform to succeed.
We cry “grow, grow, grow” when the company is catapulting. Jack Dorsey, a billionaire who created the company’s hype machine, apologizes for being caught up. Jack, which is it?
Growing fast and reckless is never a good sign when there isn’t a product worth sustaining in the first place. Twitter workers who built the infrastructure and managed the growth were only a part of the chaos that Dorsey, now Elon Musk, hope to reverse.
An apology for the hype would have been a better landing, particularly after reading some of the comments on Twitter. It is not building any product with merit, at least for the moment, that can endure an advertising boycott such as we see currently or can weather the storm.
Here’s the takeaway: Make something that is worthwhile. You won’t have to apologize.