X-rated auction sells last vestiges of pre-Musk Twitter
Oscars 2014 Ellen DeGeneres Selfie in oil, anyone?
In case you were heretofore unconvinced that Twitter is dead and is never coming back, the latest sell-off of branded tat might sway you.
The wayward social media network is headed back to the auction house with a stunning 678 lots under the hammer, evoking images of Elon Musk stalking the halls, selecting which pieces of modern office furniture don't fit his vision anymore.
The Tesla and SpaceX mogul bought the business last year after a chaotic affair centered around ridding the platform of bots and protecting free speech. That ended up costing Musk and creditors some $44 billion – an awful lot to pay for the 14th largest social media site.
Faced with a financial black hole and advertisers balking en masse at Musk's devil-may-care management style, the early days of new leadership were not much better with thousands laid off, lawsuits flying, and bills left unpaid.
One measure that smacked of desperation was an auction of 631 "surplus corporate assets" through Heritage Global Partners in January including coffee machines, pizza ovens, and bird-shaped neon lights.
Heritage Global Partners has now been handed the reins for a second sell-off next month featuring yet more industrial coffee grinders, swanky furniture, printers, video conferencing systems galore, and workstations, all at the low, low starting price of $25.
The lot photos are notable for just how empty Twitter's San Francisco office space at 1355 Market Street could be now. A year or so ago, one might have imagined the plentiful desks and consoles on sale to be populated with a bustling and enthusiastic team of engineers and others, but with more than 6,000 or 80 percent of the workforce given their marching orders since then, it is easy to think that these areas have been left to gather dust and the remaining team works in the corner of a single room.
As if to underscore Musk's ultimatum that surviving workers would have to be "extremely hardcore," any items that remotely resemble fun activities are listed here, like four acoustic guitars, a complete drum set, amps, and a couple of keyboards. It's a wonder pre-Musk Twitter got anything done, and even more surprising that the website is still operational given the amount of technology being flipped.
- Lawsuit: We've got the stats to prove Twitter ax fell unfairly on older, female engineers
- X tries to win back advertisers with brand safety promises
- Twitter sues Brit non-profit, claims hate-speech reports scared off advertisers
- Twitter's giant throbbing X erected 'without a permit'
But among bird-shaped coffee tables and @ or hashtag shaped neon-lights, there is some original artwork, like the "Photo Mosaic of Celebrity Tribute Tweets" to Robin Williams or "Oscars 2014 Ellen DeGeneres Selfie" oil painting, a rendition of what nowadays stands as the fifth most retweeted tweet, and we expect these to fetch slightly more than the starting price.
More unwieldy items include Twitter bird fascia signs on 10th Street and Jessie Street. The lot descriptions warn that they are "still mounted on side of the building. Buyer is responsible for hiring an SF Licensed Company with appropriate Permits" – because we can't have another episode like the one where the company illegally erected a new sign on its headquarters, can we?
It all comes as Musk dismantles nearly two decades of brand recognition in favor of an untrademarkable Unicode 𝕏, which many have characterized as business suicide. Though the iconic bird logo is now nowhere to be found on the platform or on our phones, the website still resoundingly answers to twitter.com.
Musk wants to make the corpse of Twitter an "everything app" yet it's pretty much business as usual for now, excepting the monthly pay-to-play subscription fee and the fact that
shitposters "creators" can now be paid for posts that achieve high engagement.
As for that cage fight supposedly happening between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Musk over the former's ailing Twitter ripoff Threads, Zuck posted on Sunday: "If Elon ever gets serious about a real date and official event, he knows how to reach me. Otherwise, time to move on. I'm going to focus on competing with people who take the sport seriously."
Last week Musk was claiming: "The fight will be managed by my and Zuck's foundations (not UFC). Livestream will be on this platform and Meta. Everything in camera frame will be ancient Rome, so nothing modern at all. I spoke to the PM of Italy and Minister of Culture. They have agreed on an epic location."