Did Elon Musk Really Fire People Using Lines Of Code As His Metric?

It looks like he at least pitched the idea, but the source is Pragmatic Engineer talking about a leak

Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
  • They have also been discussing this on HackerNews and r/Programming
  • The source seems to be Gergely Orosz, a fairly popular tech writer and former software engineer manager who is also called “Pragmatic Engineer.” He is responding to a supposed leak
  • So, to be clear, it’s possible or even likely that this is true…but it’s not like Elon Musk officially announced this or wanted it to be known. Also, if you read the Tweet below, it seems more nuanced.
https://twitter.com/gergelyorosz/status/1588906808395333633

Reasons For Controversy

According to India Today:

“Okay, but what’s your point, Evan?”

The point is that this all seems kind of bizarre to me. I don’t want to dive too deeply into what did or didn’t happen, nor do I want to state my opinions of Elon Musk and his leadership practices…I also want to give Pragmatic Engineer the benefit of the doubt, as he seems to have sources inside of the company.

Why Lines Of Code Is A Bad Metric

Feel free to read Garner’s link above for an in-depth explanation of why this is such a bad metric. Bill Gates famously said that measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring a plane by weight.

https://github.com/gem5/website/graphs/contributors
  • Web scaffolding
  • Configuration files

Closing Thoughts

In short, firing people by lines of code is a bizarre metric. At least in this case, it was not the sole metric.

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Evan SooHoo

A software engineer who writes about software engineering. Shocking, I know.