CEO Linda Yaccarino Probably Had No Idea that Elon Musk Would Make X a Paid Service
To counteract the “vast armies of bots” on the site, Elon Musk announced in a live chat earlier this month that X would charge customers “a small monthly payment” to use its service. But X CEO Linda Yaccarino seemed caught off guard by a question about this plan in an interview this week at the Code Conference, asking the interviewer to repeat the question and then asking if Musk had actually said if X was planning to move to a subscription for all users or if he was “just thinking about it.”
CNBC‘s Julia Boorstin wanted to know how this change would affect X’s company, which now relies heavily on advertising. Yaccarino would have known if X was trying to move away from its mostly ad-supported strategy to one that also relied on user subscriptions to generate money, given that she joined X from NBCU, where she had been chairman of its advertising and partnerships business. (At least until the robots can be stopped!)
Yaccarino was confused when asked how many users X stands to lose as a result of the proposed move. She probed Boorstin to elaborate on whether Musk had actually stated that X will adopt this approach or was merely toying with the notion.
(Musk had previously declared that the company was “moving to a small monthly payment” for use of the X platform during a September 18 live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A minor cost paid by all users would make it prohibitive for spammers to benefit from their bots, which he went on to explain, so it’s safe to assume he wasn’t just toying with the idea.
When Yaccarino avoided answering, Boorstin persisted, asking if the CEO of X had been included in the deliberation.
“We talk about everything,” Yaccarino vaguely replied, again side-stepping an answer.
The interviewer brought up Yaccarino’s experience in advertising, most likely because it is unlikely that Musk decided on his pricing structure without consulting the former ad executive.
Yaccarino, however, interrupted her.
“Why wouldn’t he?” she responded, somewhat combatively. “Do you think Elon brought me to the company to be the head of advertising…or do you think he brought me to run the company and to deliver to our users the best possible experience?”
She then spoke on how X was going to grow in the future by adding features like video streaming and eventually financial transactions. She also spoke highly of her history of encouraging innovation at established media organizations.
“That is a whole experience where there is no surrogate. There is no surrogate for X,” Yaccarino said.
Boorstin persisted in questioning Yaccarino whether she approved of a subscription-based X, whether she was consulted, and whether she thought X should still have some free tier, as the issue of user subscriptions had still not been resolved. Since the X product teams still report to Musk, she also questioned whether Yaccarino was truly in more of a COO role. …or a CEO in all but name.
“Yeah, not nice,” Yaccarino responded, referring to the final comment about her lack of power, before continuing to explain. “[Musk] runs product. He runs technology. He leads a team of exceptionally talented engineers…Who wouldn’t want Elon Musk sitting by their side running product?”
There were a few raised hands and some chuckles from the crowd.
Unfortunately, Musk never received a direct response to his inquiries concerning X’s planned subscription model from the company’s CEO.
Her answers suggested that she was either not aware of the plan’s existence or did not consider it to be more than a notion. She clearly didn’t get the point, as she avoided discussing the problem of bots and how fees would deter them.
Of course, as a former advertising executive, she likely didn’t want to scare off X’s advertisers by suggesting the service’s days as a free, ad-supported option were numbered.
Whether it was about Musk’s anticipated lawsuit against the ADL, subscriptions, or staffing for election integrity, Yaccarino seemed overwhelmed by even the most fundamental queries concerning X’s business. However, she disputed that X was disbanding the election integrity team hours after Musk had stated on X that they were “gone.”
She also sounded unsure of X’s user count, at one point claiming that the platform had “200 to 250 [million]” DAUs, or “something like that.”
She also claimed that 540 million people used X on a monthly basis around the world, despite Musk’s recent claim that the number was 550 million.
More broadly, the conversation suggested that Yaccarino and Musk were not entirely on the same page when it came to running X and that the CEO was kept in the dark about some of the company’s most consequential decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to “Linda Yaccarino Likely Didn’t Know Musk Would Charge For X”;
1. Who is Linda Yaccarino, and what is X?
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- The context likely pertains to a situation where Elon Musk, the CEO of a different company or entity, made a decision to charge for something related to X, and it’s suggested that Linda Yaccarino, as the CEO of X, may not have been aware of this decision.
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9. What is the potential impact of Elon Musk’s decision on X and its stakeholders?
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