I’m pro-Elon Musk, but still fired from Twitter

  • Engineer Ikuhiro Ihara was fired from Twitter the night before Thanksgiving.
  • The firing shocked Ihara, who supported Elon Musk’s “Twitter 2.0” vision of “hardcore” work.
  • Ihara said he held no grudge, but sympathized with ex-colleagues who now have visa issues.

This is an as-told-to based on a conversation with Ikuhiro Ihara, a 30-year-old Japanese machine learning engineer who worked for Twitter and was fired the night before Thanksgiving. It has been edited for length and clarity.

It was the night before Thanksgiving when I received an email saying I was being let go.

I had scheduled PTO for the following day and was preparing for my flight the following morning when the email landed in my inbox.

Before I was fired, I was the technical lead of the Twitter home timeline modeling team. We are basically responsible for messing up your timeline by randomly reordering things and inserting tweets from someone who doesn’t follow you.

I was also one of those who pushed to expand the number of characters in tweets to 280 – it was my side project.

I had no reason to expect such an abrupt termination. I thought I was well aligned with the new Twitter 2.0 vision.

When Musk took over Twitter, I was actually excited

I believed that Twitter was on its way to a slow death — and perhaps still is. The company moves so slowly. I was always caught up in an endless quarterly schedule that lasted for weeks. I felt like Twitter needed a shake up and Elon Musk was our best option.

The return mandate was needed. The lack of aisle conversation and aisle knowledge sharing had become painful.

I’m a bit on the workaholic side, so the “hardcore” ultimatum didn’t upset me, and what Musk said in that email made a lot of sense to me.

The email I received Wednesday evening said I had been fired for unsatisfactory code

It read: “As a result of the recent code review, your code has been determined to be non-compliant, and we regret to inform you that your employment with Twitter will be terminated with immediate effect.”

I still don’t know what “code review” the email refers to. I remember the morning after the massive “fork in the road” event that Musk told us he would be doing 1:1 code reviews with each engineer. I was excited about this at first, but it never got around to it.

There was no time to meet every engineer. The “reviews” eventually became a team-wide presentation of what each team does – and it took Musk until midnight to join my team.

I have no idea what else I could have done

I feel like I probably would have been fired sooner or later – at least that’s the general consensus among the majority of my colleagues.

After talking to others who have been laid off under different circumstances, I’m increasingly under the impression that the company under Musk is trying to replace the existing workforce with a cheaper and smaller team — like a total blood replacement.

I feel sorry for my colleagues who have problems with their visa status, but I am lucky because I have a green card. I also have some savings and after that tweeting about being firedI have been inundated with exciting opportunities and invitations.

I don’t hold a grudge against Twitter or Musk.

I really wanted to see how Musk will work and change the course of Twitter 2.0, but I was just an employee. If the owner doesn’t need my help, so be it.

Are you a current or former Twitter employee? Contact Sam Tabahriti from a non-work address at [email protected] or via Twitter DM at @samtabahriti

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