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Elon Musk Is Forming Circle of Advisers as He Reimagines Twitter


Elon Musk

is quickly setting to work a group of advisers, investors and employees from elsewhere in his business empire to help him reimagine Twitter Inc. in his first days as its new owner.

The group is working on a range of initiatives to try to bolster the platform’s user experience and revenue, according to people involved in the effort, while Mr. Musk continued to publicly float potential changes in a series of tweets.

Mr. Musk’s team outlined three pillars of its plan for the platform before the deal’s completion, said

Ross Gerber,

chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, a Santa Monica, Calif., investment firm that put up under $1 million as an outside investor in Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover.

The plan includes changing the platform by expanding user verification and improving the subscription offerings to become less reliant on advertisers, he said. It would also add ways for content creators to make money on the platform, so that they could earn a living on it like many creators do on TikTok and YouTube, he said.

Mr. Musk, a serial entrepreneur with a dedicated Twitter habit, has moved quickly to put his imprint on the company as a nonconformist, surrounding himself with a group of trusted advisers—and technical talent.

Among them is

Jason Calacanis,

a longtime tech entrepreneur and investor who encouraged Mr. Musk’s initial bid to buy Twitter in April. Mr. Calacanis took to Twitter in recent days to solicit and share ideas. He also on Sunday night asked users in a Twitter poll how much they would pay to be verified by Twitter and have the blue check on their account that goes along with that. Options in his poll ranged from wouldn’t pay to $15 a month.

Some engineers from

Tesla Inc.,

where Mr. Musk is chief executive, met with Twitter staff after the takeover to review the platform, people familiar with the matter said.

Less than a week after taking the reins at Twitter, Mr. Musk has fired several top executives, including the CEO, and posted tweets about potential changes, including revamping the verification process, allowing longer posts, and giving users more options to choose what kind of content they see on the platform. On Sunday, Mr. Musk also posted a poll, asking whether he should bring back Vine, the short-video app it bought and then quickly shut down in 2016.

When one person responded asking about competition with TikTok, which has soared to popularity since Vine’s demise with its own short-video format, Mr. Musk asked: “What could we do to make it better than TikTok?”

Mr. Musk also disbanded Twitter’s board and made himself sole director, according to a regulatory filing Monday, as outlined in the merger agreement. He said in a tweet Monday afternoon that the move was temporary.

Mr. Musk already has tapped allies to assist in the early days of the transition. They include attorney

Alex Spiro,

who has represented Mr. Musk for years, including in his legal fight over his efforts to abandon his agreement to buy Twitter.

Some of the people Mr. Musk is bringing in aren’t new to Twitter. Sriram Krishnan, an investor and former Twitter product leader, tweeted Sunday that he was helping Mr. Musk with Twitter “temporarily with some other great people.” Mr. Krishnan tweeted that he was “still very much in my day job” as a general partner at venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

At least dozens of people were added to an internal Twitter directory after Mr. Musk officially took ownership of the social-media platform, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Unknown, however, is how long or to what extent the people Mr. Musk has brought in expect to be involved.

Investors were also told that up to 50% of staff could be laid off and that employees would be evaluated to determine the cuts, Mr. Gerber said.

Twitter was drafting plans for broad layoffs in recent days, The Wall Street Journal reported. Twitter has roughly 7,500 employees, according to a disclosure earlier this year. The full scale of cuts being discussed couldn’t be determined.

Mr. Gerber said that he sees synergy between Twitter and Tesla. Adding Twitter’s platform to the screens in Tesla vehicles could “be super cool for Tesla,” he suggested.

Write to Alexa Corse at [email protected] and Sarah E. Needleman at [email protected]

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