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Life after Dick: Twitter needs to ignore Wall Street, concentrate on users

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has resigned after five years on the job. Twitter’s subscriber growth has slowed, the company recorded subscriber growth of 18 percent in the first quarter of the year, on the conference call Costolo indicated that April had been slow. Meaning that subscriber growth had slowed further. I think the problem that new Twitter followers have is that they do not understand what it is useful for. For me Twitter is a customisable news feed. You can follow people who are awesome aggregators, you can follow your favourite sportspeople, actors, politicians and so on.

Moving into the void is Twitter co-founder (and current chairman) Jack Dorsey. Dorsey will not be in the team that is going to hunt down a new CEO. As this WSJ article points out, Costolo took the business from a startup to a listed business. Since the listing however, “things” have gone badly for the share price. Perhaps the pace of subscriber growth has not been as high as investors would hope. The “proprietor” of Lowercase Capital, a fun guy by the name of Chris Sacca penned this post a few weeks ago. As he says: “At one point I had even exhausted all of my savings purchasing Twitter shares and was technically insolvent.”

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Sacca was inside of the first 140 users he says. I think he is right in suggesting that there is no natural ceiling on the revenue Twitter can generate. Extinction in hardware and software happens in front of your eyes. BBM, Blackberry was crushed by WhatsApp, Samsung, Android, Apple. Done for. Twitter is however one of the big 5, in my mind. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. There is of course Google plus, Tumblr and Flikr, let me not forget LinkedIn. Missed anything? Sorry if I have.

According to Alexa, who rank the most visited sites in the world, the current order is Reddit, News.Yahoo.com, CNN.com, Huffingtonpost.com and Nytimes.com. Reddit is a mess and the users fund the site. Yahoo? There is a surprise. Most of the sharing options are Twitter and Facebook, in the old days it was to email it to your colleagues. Although that seems front and centre, the email option. Twitter is fast news, Facebook is topical news. That is my sense. No offence to Facebook, I think the platforms are great, Twitter is where the higher brow conversations happen {hides}.

If you read the New York Times’ piece on the matter, you can see all the high profile folks coming and going. The company obviously needs something fresh, someone to drive advertising, perhaps the co-founder is not the right person. I suspect however that Sacca is right. I really, really like Periscope, I think that the sorting function needs to be better. The market is rejoicing, quarteritis is contagious, Wall Street needs and wants it. I hope that the company just ignores the needs and pleas of Wall Street and just focuses on building a better platform for their committed users. The share price is up nearly 4 percent, the market enjoys this outcome. Sigh.


This article by Sasha Naryshkyine is adapted from the Vestact newsletter and republished with permission.

Image: JD Lasica via Flickr.

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