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Trouble At Twitter? One Former Engineer Speaks

By some accounts, there is a mass exodus going on at Twitter. Key players, engineers, VPs, founders… all are fleeing the company. And the latest employee to jump off the wagon has shed some light onto just why so many may be leaving.

Adrien Gaarf (@gaarf) bowed out of Twitter a few days ago, but wasn’t silent about his exit. Instead of vaguely referring to “taking some time off” or not knowing what the future holds like most recent Twitter departures, Gaarf blogged about it.

In his blog post, he describes the work atmosphere at Twitter as full of “turf wars, and a lot of strong personalities with conflicting views as to what the product is, how it works, and what it means.” He also says that:

“…internally, things are pretty tumultuous. Technical debt is shrinking but still sizable. Projects tend to be judged based on how clever their name is (I’ve learned lots of exotic bird names), and that tends to correlate with how popular the stakeholder is, not with objective value nor usefulness. Many folks have left in past few months, triggering waves of FUD within the ranks.”

Gaarf had started at Twitter two years ago, when there were only 150 employees. Now, with over 750, he admits that a lot of the problem was likely growing pains. He doesn’t caution anyone against interviewing and working for Twitter themselves, as long as they “…live nearby, are naturally caffeinated, and able to deal with the chaos that naturally permeates from a company that generates LOLcats by day, and triggers revolutions by night.”

Gaarf’s departure and strong words are no surprise to anyone who has been watching the influx – and especially the outflux – of employees from Twitter lately.

It seemed to start back in March 2011, when co-founder Evan Williams effectively left Twitter to start his own thing. Fellow co-founder Biz Stone joined him in June. Since then, we’ve seen high profile employees like Twitter’s first and only CTO, the creator of Twitter for iPhone, Twitter’s head of communications and even two key early investors step back from the company.

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