Whither twitter

This is one of the more honest reads about twitter in a long time.


The bottom line is twitter makes money, isn’t growing much, has way too many employees and isn’t innovating much. As someone from the video world I don’t buy the tech feat around all the video since video at scale is pretty easy now. The hard part is local relevant ads, both making it perform and selling them. Twitter hasn’t innovated on any of that since the live streams I have watched in Singapore had no ads. Video is not that hard anymore. 

So video won’t save twitter. 

I myself thought Disney might have made a good buyer but I think Disney knows it will be a mess to clean it up.

Salesforce made zero sense. None.

I tend to agree with this brutal assessment. Reminds me of Yahoo. Marissa should have cut costs, focused and made Yahoo super profitable. Twitter should do the same but guessing it is too late. A 10 year old company has to do better than burn money.

But Twitter is past that. Somewhere near half a billion dollars of costs need to be taken out almost immediately. And that involves firing people and being a general tough-bastard. It’s inevitable anyway – because Jack Dorsey burning half a billion dollar per year isn’t a sustainable business. The cash eventually runs out. 

The problem is if you mix this with a Salesforce.com or similar company it will be really hard to take costs out in a disciplined fashion without upsetting the culture of the home company. Instead this should be fixed (with extreme prejudice by a disinterested outsider) before it is sold again to a strategic buyer.

Or – in summary: the best bastards are from Wall Street. And this needs a Wall Street bastard. 

I use twitter. I love it. It confounds me how little innovation there is.

– the clients suck compared to the non twitter ones.

– their is so little personalization. Like scrubbing my feed for shit it knows I don’t like for example.

– their developer program is a joke

I could go on and on. Problem is I would miss twitter if it goes under. I hope someone fixes it.

Life is better with twitter.

Y Combinator and Peter Thiel

Dan Primack finally weighed in :: http://fortune.com/2016/10/20/term-sheet-thursday-october-20/

And I agree with the pitch-forkers. Thiel has to go. Not from his own funds, of course, but from third-party organizations whose continuing embrace of Thiel is a de facto acceptance of his candidate’s racist proposals (banning immigrants based on their religion) and pathological misogyny. Thiel isn’t publicly endorsing those parts of Trump, but picking a president isn’t a trip to the salad bar. You get the whole meal. Thiel’s continuing presence at Facebook and YC is a cocky, counterproductive reminder to female and minority entrepreneurs that they are second-class citizens in the white boys club of Silicon Valley.

Another great read on the situation :: https://theintercept.com/2016/10/19/when-the-genius-men-of-silicon-valley-suddenly-dont-seem-so-smart/

Thanks to https://www.travelfish.org/ for pointing that one out to me.

I tend to agree with Ellen :: https://medium.com/projectinclude/peter-thiel-yc-and-hard-decisions-2b91bab83764#.azc7uq4rg

Updated with a link to the Sama post :: http://blog.samaltman.com/the-2016-election

Quite the twitter battle today.

I don’t claim to know a right or wrong but it is a good topic to discuss. I think Thiel has lost the plot and people are judged by the company they keep. That’s all I am saying.



When I had the chance to answer this question for the Today newspaper –

What traits do today’s leaders lack most?

I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. I was thinking of techy stuff. Then was thinking about the future.

But then I started thinking about people.

This post hints at why :: https://bothsidesofthetable.com/venture-capital-is-about-human-capital-4d51da6b2b87#.limhpd6rw

So I tell people we’re fundamentally in the people business. Our core skill is being able to identify talent and how to persuade the most talented people with whom we have access that we would be valuable to work with. We then help surround founders with other talent who want to join important causes but don’t have the startup idea themselves. We help founders through difficult moments, we help coach, we act as sparring partners, we help them resolve conflicts when they’re fighting with co-founders and we help them deal with adversity as well as successes.

I am learning. I am a VC in training, but I know everything is about people.

I think we are all so spoiled sometimes that we forget how lucky we are.

That is what my answer to this question was and is, empathy.

I suggest more of us should put empathy first. It makes everything better.


BEA and Warburg Pincus

Had a great time at the Deal Street Asia Event :: http://www.dealstreetasia.com/events/

I think my panel went pretty well and hopefully I can join the crew in some way again next year.

To my left, your right, is Jeffrey Perlman who is the MD for SEA Region of Warburg Pincus.

In talking to Jeffrey I was reminded of my BEA years and working with Bill Janeway. I told Jeffrey about my BEA experience and he immediately commented that this is still one of the single best returns that Warburg ever had:

In 1992, the firm funded the launch of OpenVision Technologies, which subsequently merged with VERITAS Software in 1996. In 1999, Warburg Pincus also was the founder and sole investor in BEA Systems. Warburg Pincus eventually distributed its positions in both companies to its limited partners, realizing total returns of $750 million in VERITAS shares and $6.5 billion in BEA shares on investments in each of approximately $50 million.

6.5 billion on 50 million. Insane. 

Has to be one of the best deals not only for Warburg but for the industry.

I wrote this exactly 3 years ago today…


I think a lot of startups still can’t seem to figure this out.

It was awesome to get this from the First Round email today :: http://firstround.com/review/the-case-for-startups-to-put-cx-at-their-core/

There are many ways to leave an impact but at the core of your business is your customers. Figure out a way to delight them and your business will find a path to success.