Twitter and 412 Years of Rubbish (plus getting news flown to my backyard)
So, I was sitting in my backyard enjoying the 60 degree weather (rare in Indiana for February) when I saw a newspaper that flew into my backyard. I decided to pick it up and before crumbling it into my oversized Northface, I happened to glance at the article. It was an Op-ed from USA Today from Janaury 26th of this year, reading ‘Twitter has 412 Years to Fix itself’. A bit intrigued, I went on. This analysis, written by Matt Krantz, states that twitter has a reserve of somewhere around 3.5 billion dollars (USD). Based on some analysis of current expenses (of $8.5 million dollars), that means it has 4 centuries of time before it has to go out for another round of funding. Or as the author puts it, to ‘fix itself’.
While it’s encouraging to see at least one tech darling being thrifty about it’s expenses, it’s also ridiculous on it’s face. Cash is important, and controlled expenses are important, but there’s no reason to believe that twitter will survive the next 10 years, let alone see the light of 2100. Why? Because cash reserves are only one of many, many, many metrics that are used to judge a company. And not even one that matters that much for success. I supposed Matt Krantz wasn’t really suggesting that twitter was going to be a media mogul a couple of centuries after the madden voyage of the Starship Enterprise, but he is suggesting something about the safety of the company. Saying a business has 4 years to live gives a sense of urgency, but saying a company has 400 years to lives gives a sense of immortality. Like a vampire bitten in the victorian era, they have nothing to fear and fear nothing.
This could not be further from where Twitter sits today. As the article points out, big shake ups are happening inside twitter, which many major executives leaving for other ventures. And while the developers behind the start-up leads the life and death of the early stage, the management leads the late stage. Make no mistake: Twitter is an enterprise, late stage organization. There is no way to be any other way when dealing with thousands of employees. The ship is simply to large to act like a motorboat.
Does this mean twitter is dead? Absolutely not. It has yet to be seen. But believing that twitter is somehow safe because it has $3.5 Billion stored away is naive. If they can’t find a plan through the next five years to combat the likes of Snapchat, Facebook and other media giants, twitter is #donefor.