EXPLAINED: WHO IS SRIRAM KRISHNAN, THE INDIAN-ORIGIN INVESTOR, HELPING ELON MUSK’S TWITTER TAKEOVER?

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is officially the owner of Twitter after months of the ‘will he, won’t he’ game. The billionaire has hit the ground sprinting after his Twitter takeover, seeking significant changes to the platform only days after finalizing his controversial $44 billion purchase.

One of Musk’s most significant changes to the platform was the ouster of CEO Parag Agrawal and Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy, and trust at the San Francisco-based company. Moreover, documents filed Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that Musk had become Twitter’s sole director after dissolving its corporate board.

As one Indian-origin Twitter team member exits, Elon Musk has brought on board another to help him with the overhaul of the company — Sriram Krishnan.

 

So, who exactly is Sriram Krishnan, and how will he help the ‘Chief Twit’ in his efforts to make Twitter “maximum amazing”?

Who is Sriram Krishnan?

Born in Chennai and a graduate of SRM Engineering College, Anna University (2001-2005), Krishnan — a US citizen — is an investor, technologist, and engineer. Born in “typical middle-class Indian upbringings,” as per a New York Times article, he moved to the United States at the age of 21 in 2005, where he started his journey in the tech space.

His tech career started at Microsoft in 2005, where most of his work was for the Windows Azure division. As per his LinkedIn profile, he then joined Facebook, where he scaled the mobile app download ads product/business. Krishnan then left Facebook in February 2016 to help lead advertising efforts at Snapchat’s parent company. He quit Snap in February 2017.

It was then, in September 2017, that Twitter hired him as its senior director of products. During his stint with the micro-blogging website, he led a core consumer team responsible for products, including the home timeline, new user experience, search, discovery, and audience growth.

His experience and work drove Twitter user growth to more than 20 percent (YoY) growth in two years.

After two successful years at Twitter, he quit the company and is currently a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), a venture capital fund that invests in crypto and web3 startups. Incidentally, Andreessen Horowitz invested in Musk’s buyout of Twitter.

He also personally serves on Bitski, Hopin, and Polywork’s boards.

Well-known in Silicon Valley, Krishnan also hosts a podcast — Aarthi and Sriram’s Good Time Show — with his wife, Aarthi Ramamurthy, on the social audio app Clubhouse, where he covers tech and crypto.

In 2021, Tesla Inc’s cofounder Elon Musk was a guest on the podcast. Krishnan later told the New York Times that he managed to get Musk on board after texting him.

How will Krishnan help at Twitter?

Since his takeover of Twitter, Elon Musk has been swiftly changing the company from the inside out. It has also announced further changes — from increasing subscription fees to revising the verification process for the prestigious blue tick.

As per a report in The Verge, the world’s richest man has been holed up in a sectioned-off area of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, working late into the night and weekend trying to ideate and introduce revisions to the social media platform along with his inner circle that includes Krishnan.

Musk is bound to use Krishnan’s experience working at Twitter to reshape and monetize the company.

Krishnan has always been passionate about his work at Twitter, which was evident even when he joined the company in September 2017. He then wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “It is something I deeply care about, and I couldn’t pass up a chance to be a part of it.”

Krishnan has also been optimistic about changes to Twitter. He was quoted as saying, “Really excited for the future of Twitter. This platform has given me and countless others so much.”

It will be interesting to see if Krishnan, who tweeted that he would continue with his day job, along with Elon Musk, revolutionize Twitter and how successful they are. For now, all we can do is sit and watch.

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