Gergely Orosz Profile picture
Nov 5 12 tweets 3 min read
“I don’t understand why X was laid off, and their manager also couldn’t tell them why.”

With layoffs being more frequent, a thread about how who is let go is often decided, and why it can seem random (even though there’s a system):
1. The way most layoffs go is like this:

CEO: “how much do we need to pay off?”

CFO: “we need to cut our burn by 20%. To be safe, we should reduce headcount expenses by 20%. We can do 18% but that’s risky and means we need to save harder on OPEX.”

CEO: “Ok, 20% it is.”
2. CEO tells all C-levels to send him a list with names to layoff that reduce headcount expenses by 20%. Deadline: a week.

C-levels look through their orgs and pass down mandates to VPs to reduce HC expense by X%: so it all adds up to the target 20%. Key orgs can see less cuts.
3. VPs usually involve directors, but NOT below. Senior managers, managers usually not in the loop.

Ok, so now the list needs to be built. Now, at this point there’s usually still a $ target, not a headcount target. So how is this list built?
4. Directors don’t reach out to managers but identify people to fired based on:
- Highest costs in redundant roles / ones less needed
- Poor performance reviews recently
- People working in cost centers / long-term-bets
- Tenure (shorter tenure)
5. What directors and VPs don’t take into account usually:
- How well-respected this person is in the team
- Maternity/paternity leaves or recent returns (HR will take care to pay sufficient severance, or flag if legally not allowed to let go)
- Diversity (again: left to HR)
6. The selection will really depend on what the directors and VPs prioritise and it *will* feel random. The director has incomplete information, and need to have a list by a deadline. It’s all bad decisions: they’ll try to make it less bad, but it will still suck.
7. Is there anything you can do ahead of time to be “safe?”

A few things that *could* help:
- Work in a profit center:…
- Have your director/VP know of you in a positive way. If they do: you might get taken off the list/not make it on.
8. Other things:

- The higher your total compensation relative to peers, the more you could be a target in these cases, sadly. So if you make a lot: try to save for a nest egg.

- A lot of this is out of your control. What is in your control is having a network that can help.
While it’s inevitable that many companies will do layoffs with the economic reality becoming very grim, many of them do this poorly (no one worse than Twitter, amongst tech companies).

Some advice to do these considerate:…
A most common confusion I hear on layoffs: “Even my manager didn’t know. Is this not unfair? No one knows my work/value better than them!”

Line managers are usually not involved b/c

1. All good managers would try and protect their team

2. So it would not change the outcome.
To add, why line managers are usually involved:

Say they are involved: they protest, try to protect people then those people are still fired.

They were now part of this decision, even though having zero authority on it. Some people would blame their manager for no reason.

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More from @GergelyOrosz

Nov 6
I turned off notifications for Uber Eats after I got really really annoyed w the app abusing this functionality to send ads.

In the past, I met the courier and handoffs took seconds. Now, I often miss it and have the courier wander around / call me.

The price of shady ads 🤷‍♂️
I’m not turning notifications back on - I turned it on twice, and got equally annoyed with the poor and frequent ads.

Uber’s couriers are less efficient and will get more annoyed as more people do this.

A good example of short-term corporate mindset over customer experience.
The sad thing is, I can almost certainly tell how this all came about.

The Ads/Promotions team needed to increase their OKR on reach. Thanks to $$$ potential, they got priority and were able to push this on as notifications.

Anyone trying to stop them was powerless because:
Read 4 tweets
Nov 6
This was always what was going to happen when you shoot before you aim. And especially the case when you leave decisions on who will be let go to new, external people who have no context on how things work.

The larger the layoff the more prep *sensible* companies take.
Also, don’t forget it doesn’t end with layoffs. As a good rule of measure, safe to expect about a third/half natural attrition of the original layoff the coming months.

I am talking with some people not let go who wished they would have been fired & are planning to interview.
There was a person who refused to work the weekend and outside working hours in verified, expecting to be fired… they were not. Meanwhile a colleague who *really* wanted this to work and enjoyed the new “working style” was booted.

Inevitable that these things happen of course.
Read 7 tweets
Nov 5
On one end, impressive that this new, verified feature got built and shipped in a week, people working 84 hour weeks.

On the other: it doesn’t work.

I’m a Twitter Blue subscriber. The new app tells me I now have a verified checkmark. But I don’t.

Fast work, but sloppy work. Screenshot saying “Blue loo...
Dare is probably on the money: the team - under the threat of “ship else you’re fired” prob had no time to handle edge cases, testing & didn’t do the phased rollout they did in the past.

Welcome to the new Twitter, where promises are grand, execution is sloppy (but fast)
Oh, the app update is a lie. This is not done. The team failed to ship by that original one week deadline (and a good part of them got fired, as promised).

So now they decided to confuse users as they keep on working long hours and eventually ship.

Welcome to the new Twitter.
Read 7 tweets
Nov 5
Scoop: all of Musk’s companies use MS Teams for comms, where new channels are private by default.

When software engineers from Tesla, Boring and SpaceX came in to Twitter a week ago, they created Slack channels to communicate amongst themselves.

Several channels were public.
Those channels were public by accident: because the people creating them didn’t realize Slack works like this. They discussed things like how Elon expects a list of ppl to be fired per org (+ linked it) and suggested to query for lines committed.

They later realised the mistake.
They archived the channels and created new, private ones. But not before Twitter employees screenshottwd what was discussed, which all made it clear to them that these external people decide their fate, and are creating the “fire list”.
Read 5 tweets
Nov 4
It’s happening: since Elon Musk bought Twitter he has not communicated officially with employees (email, town hall). Now the major firings have started (expected to be ~50%).

My timeline is filled with great people let go. Some of these layoffs are likely breaking regulations.
Again, for anyone paying attention: this is how Musk operates. Breaking regulations like WARN in California… and dealing with all that later.

When you’re the worlds richest man, you run your company how you want to apparently, and treat people how you want to.

Very sad.
Here’s a summary of what happened.

We can assume Elon is purposeful and deliberate in doing business. On this basis, the hostility towards employees is surely intentional as well.

More details:… Elon Musk bought the company on Thursday. He immediately fir
Read 4 tweets
Nov 3
Stripe laid off 14% of their team, informed people about an hour ago.

14 weeks of severance, they pay out 2022 bonus, accelerated RSU vesting, career + immigration support.

A very interesting comparison: Adyen, Stripe’s competitor is massively profitable, has no layoff risks.
Stripe posted the message they sent to employees:…

It’s hard avoid comparisons to Adyen, which processes a similar volume to Stripe, but employs ~half the people than Stripe, in lower cost regions (Europe, mostly).

Which is a better positioned business?
A rare to see reflection on “where did leadership make the mistake?”

An addition: Adyen employs ~2,200 people, so a third of Stripe. Similar gross bookings processed.

Clearly, we’re seeing the “hire first, get to profitability later” strategy backfire in the current economy. In making these changes, yo...
Read 5 tweets

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