Former Twitter Blue lead Esther Crawford just published a very long post on Twitter about her time at the company, working under Elon Musk, and that incident where a picture of her sleeping on the floor went viral. Crawford joined the company after it acquired her startup, Squad, in 2020 and was part of Musk’s Twitter, which he is currently rebranding to X, in its early months before being laid off.
Twitter’s environment pre-Musk:
As someone with a maniacal sense of urgency built into me, Twitter often felt siloed and bureaucratic. Dumb power plays, reorgs and team name changes for the sake of someone’s ego were distractions that occurred too regularly.
You couldn’t just be a builder — you also needed to be a politician.
Though she did praise former product head Kayvon Beykpour, who was pushed out before Musk officially took over the company.
Life at Musk’s “hardcore” Twitter:
I made peace with the fact that I didn’t have psychological safety at Twitter 2.0 and that meant I could be fired at any moment, and for no reason at all.
Musk’s decision-making process:
I believed I had useful institutional knowledge that could help him make better decisions. Instead he’d poll Twitter, ask a friend, or even ask his biographer for product advice. At times it seemed he trusted random feedback more than the people in the room who spent their lives dedicated to tackling the problem at hand. I never figured out why and remain puzzled by it.
That infamous sleeping bag photo:
Many of you know me from the sleeping bag incident where I slept on a conference room floor, so I figure, let’s talk about that too.
Going viral was an odd and interesting experience. I was attacked by people on the left and called a billionaire bootlicker, while simultaneously being attacked by people on the right for being a working mom who was demonized as an example of a woman choosing her career over her family.
Thankfully I can laugh at myself and I don’t take armchair keyboard ideologues too seriously. Being the main character on the timeline, even for a few minutes, requires a thick skin and a strong sense of self.
The real story is pretty simple. I was given a nearly impossible deadline for his first project and as the product lead I would never ask anyone to do anything I wasn’t willing to do myself. So I worked round the clock alongside an amazing team spanning many timezones, and we delivered it on schedule – truly against the odds. It was intense but also fun.
And finally, a bit on Musk and how he seems “quite alone”:
Living in an echo chamber is dangerous and being at the top makes a person even more susceptible to being surrounded by yes people when nearly everyone around you is on the payroll and somehow stands to benefit from being in your orbit. Figuring out how to keep “better angels” around in the form of family, friends, and teammates is critical to staying on the rails and enduring intense ups and downs. Everyone needs to hear hard truths sometimes and if you fire all the people who speak up then the reality distortion field may just turn into a vortex.