Who is Sriram Krishnan, Elon Musk's helper at Twitter?

The product expert has worked for some of the biggest technology companies in the world — and has a talk show

Sriram Krishnan is a general partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Getty
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A lot of the noise around Elon Musk's leadership of Twitter after his $44 billion purchase has centred on the drastic staff cuts that took place.

But while many thousands are said to have headed out of the Twitter door, there has been a lot less discussion on who Mr Musk has brought in to hold the company together during this period of upheaval.

What we do know is that Sriram Krishnan is involved, but who is he, and what is he doing at Twitter?

Working with Elon Musk …

It came to light that Mr Krishnan was involved with the “new Twitter” on October 31, when he tweeted confirmation and also praised Mr Musk.

“Now that the word is out: I’m helping out @elonmusk with Twitter temporarily with some other great people. I (and a16z) believe this is a hugely important company and can have great impact on the world and Elon is the person to make it happen,” he said.

He said he was still “very much in my day job at @a16zcrypto. If you’re a crypto founder, you know how to find me!”

Current day job and previous spell at Twitter

The day job is working for Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which is also known as a16z, and backs entrepreneurs building the future through technology.

His profile on the Andreessen Horowitz website says he is a general partner at the company and invests in early stage consumer start-ups.

“I previously had leadership roles running product and engineering at Twitter, Meta and Snap,” Mr Krishnan's LinkedIn profile says.

He said he drove Twitter user growth to more than 20 per cent, year on year, in two years and launched several products, including a redesigned events experience.

Andreessen Horowitz provides some more detail on his time at Twitter, where he was said to be responsible for products including the home timeline, new user experience, search, discovery and audience growth.

“Before this, Sriram created and oversaw various mobile ad products for both Snap and Facebook, including Snap’s Direct Response ads business and the Facebook Audience Network, one of the largest networks in display advertising,” it says.

When he became the newest general partner to Andreessen Horowitz in February 2021, co-founder Marc Andreessen gave him a glowing write-up on the company website.

“I have now known Sriram for years, as have much of the firm,” he writes.

“In that time, I have grown to respect his optimism and ability to look for the good in people — which is critical in a job like ours, where most companies fail; teams may pivot many times on their journey to product-market fit; and where it is hard to be focused on what can go right vs what can go wrong.”

Mr Andreessen said Mr Krishnan, who graduated with a Bachelor of Technology from the SRM Engineering College at Anna University in Chennai in 2005, is “perhaps the only person in the world to have served in senior product positions in the three biggest social platforms of our time” — Facebook, Snap and Twitter.

How does he know Mr Musk?

So, Mr Krishnan and his wife, Aarthi Ramamurthy, were doing a Clubhouse talk show and Mr Musk appeared on it in February 2021. During that interview, Mr Krishnan mentioned that Mr Musk had earlier taken them on a tour of SpaceX.

“A few years ago, I got to know Elon through Twitter — I helped him out with something Twitter-related and we went down to SpaceX and we got to know him a little bit through that,” he said in an interview with Marina Mogilko on her Silicon Valley Girl YouTube channel.

“He is one of the most iconic founders of our generation and we got to build a bit of a relationship.”

He said he didn't think Mr Musk would be interested in doing the Clubhouse talk show but having sent him a text message, Mr Musk replied that he “was busy but let's try tomorrow”.

“He actually tweeted that he was going on Clubhouse before he replied to me.”

He said that it was like “having an out of body experience as I could watch the conversation happen on Twitter and there were all of these streams on YouTube.

“He was amazing, funny and very generous with his time.”

Aarthi and Sriram's Good Time Show continues to be popular on YouTube.

“We [Aarthi Ramamurthy and Sriram Krishnan] believe the stories of people building and creating things need to be told,” it says in its description.

“We host conversations with CEOs, athletes, musicians and more sharing what it means to make it to the 'inside'.”

Has he said anything else about Twitter since Mr Musk bought it?

He has spoken out on the controversial verification changes unveiled by Twitter during the past week.

Mr Musk is introducing the Twitter Blue subscription plan, which requires users to pay $8 a month for their verified check mark.

He touted the subscription plan as a way to contend with plummeting advertising revenue, as well as to weed out bots.

Meanwhile, Mr Krishnan labelled critiques of the $8 verification as “logically inconsistent”.

“1. using a CC/mobile checkout dramatically increases friction. And everyone caught impersonating will lose their money,” he tweeted.

“2. there are lots of people who should be verified (and often impersonated) and aren’t. And vice versa. The current path on any social network is opaque and easily gamed. $8 gives a consistent path for anyone, regardless of their level of notability (which is subjective).

“3. the current model also has severe spam issues (check out any reply to @VitalikButerin or @elonmusk and you will see lots of hacked blue check accounts). $8 and giving everyone makes those attacks less valuable.

“4. Finally, verification on social media was originally meant to solve for 'this person is who they say they are”. It was NOT meant to say 'we judge this person to be notable'. This brings it back to the original spirit of the design. No more DMing employees for a favour.”

He signed off from his Twitter thread by saying that as with any launch, he is sure there will be room for improvement.

Updated: November 08, 2022, 10:23 AM
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