Skip to main content

Linda Yaccarino was set up to fail

Linda Yaccarino was set up to fail


Will Elon let her be more than a ‘CEO in Name Only?’ Also: takeaways from my interview with Mark Zuckerberg, layoffs hit Snap and Epic Games, and more.

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

A photo of Linda Yaccarino smiling.
Linda Yaccarino.
Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Image, illustration by William Joel/The Verge

The buzz out of the Code Conference this week is, naturally, all about the disastrous performance of X / Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino, who closed out the two-day affair in spectacular fashion. Vox’s Peter Kafka, who has been going to the conference since it started in 2008, called it “the weirdest session I’ve ever seen.” If I had to sum up the vibe as everyone trickled off to dinner afterward, it would be stunned disbelief. As for Yaccarino, she immediately fled the premises with her six-person security detail.

Given how her first interview on the job with CNBC went about a month ago, I had low expectations for her ability to field questions from the tough-as-nails Julia Boorstin on the Code stage. But nothing could have prepared me for how woefully unequipped she was to hold her own. There was something poetic about the Financial Times dropping a profile of her that same day with a photo in a literal crucifix pose.

If you know anything about how Yaccarino came to what is now known as X, it’s clear that she has been set up to fail. She practically begged Musk to hire her, who ended up agreeing to give her the “CEO” vanity title despite him continuing to essentially run the company. She’s invisible to the engineers and handful of product people still working at X, who report to Musk and not her. 

Start your Command Line free trial now to continue reading

This story is exclusively for subscribers of Command Line, our newsletter about the tech industry’s inside conversation. Subscribe to a plan below for full access.

Already a Command Line subscriber?Sign in

We accept credit card, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Having issues?Click here for FAQ