This decline is despite the fact – and I trust we can find common ground here – that Twitter has become an iconic brand and the global heartbeat for our information age. The only firms with the reach and influence of Twitter (Tencent, Facebook, and Google) register 17x, 24x, and 39x the market capitalization, respectively.
Greatness is in the agency of others, and many talented executives have left the firm. It is difficult to ask people to work evenings and weekends when the CEO works mornings (is part time). The exodus has resulted in anemic product development that has stunted growth and monetization. The poor performance has been somewhat wallpapered over by President Trump. His decision to communicate and govern via 280 characters creates a sugar high that masks the underperformance of management, and will not last. Few people have benefited more from Donald Trump’s election than Jack Dorsey.
Unlike Facebook, I believe Twitter is a net good for society. However, the problem is with the word net. Despite the community, news, communication, and joy Twitter offers, it’s clear there has been an adoption of big tech’s broader playbook: a disregard for the wellbeing of its users, the order of social discourse, and the sanctity of US elections – in pursuit of profits.
However, for Twitter, the pursuit has come up short, and stakeholders have borne the brunt. Any examination of what ails the firm leads to one diagnosis: poor governance that tolerates what only eight firms in the Fortune 1,000 endure – a part-time CEO. Mr. Dorsey’s inattention and lack of urgency is understandable, as 85% of Mr. Dorsey’s wealth resides with his morning/afternoon job (CEO of Square).