Category Archives: Twitter

Whither twitter

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

http://brontecapital.blogspot.sg/2016/10/some-comment-on-twitter-buyout-rumours.html

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.

Disruption

Picked up on this article by Steve Blank over the weekend – such a good read.

I have worked at a few places in my life – startups, corporates, corporates in decline (Yahoo) and joint ventures masked as vehicles for corporates to try and stem declines (HOOQ). All of them share critical components but the corporates trying to deal with disruption can be very interesting. They don’t have it easy but they also continue to display the classic behaviors that got them to where they are in the first place. 

I notice in the local space that there is not a lot of investigative journalism into the big corporates around Singapore. I am guessing it is too touchy of a subject or maybe doesn’t drive page views. Hard to say.

Having just left HOOQ I would like to say a few things about it since I am asked many times why I went from startup land, Spuul, to pseudo startup land – HOOQ. 

Let me list a few reasons:

– I wanted the chance to get to know Singapore Inc. more closely.

– I wanted exposure to Sony and Warner.

– I was generally intrigued by the concept – 2 big studios work with local telco to try and do something cool in OTT.

– The plan had a solid model – the plan that is. The execution – not so much.

I went into the gig with my eyes wide open. I would learn, I would network and I would gain much needed experience on how to deal with a big corporate giant, actually three of them, trying to innovate. I would have a seat at the board meetings – huge learning opportunity. Boards can help a lot if done right.

Lastly, most importantly for me – I would try and see if I could buck the trend of a large corporate trying a new way to innovate but normally failing. The model had the right ingredients – a joint venture versus a subsidiary, good partners, a worthy business to go after and funds. Most startups don’t have these ingredients but then again most startups also don’t come with any baggage. Usually startups have a green field advantage and the right to make plans as they go whereas a joint venture is immediately plagued with too much funds, large parents to make happy and long range planning processes.

Frankly – it is too early to tell what will happen. Right now the market for OTT in emerging markets is early days. It is all about funding, posturing and moon shots. Obviously Netflix and Amazon will be the largest global players. As I keep saying to folks who constantly ask – who is the Amazon of India – Amazon. Just wait and see.

However folks tend to only thing big and forget that there are some healthy niche businesses out there – take Spuul for example. Doing well, but most folks only want to hear about big fund raising or other PR noteworthy milestones as examples of success.

For video we tend to think of Netflix or maybe YouTube. Right now the YouTube of emerging markets is YouTube. The Netflix for emerging markets – is also probably YouTube cause free and piracy are still the leader around the emerging markets. The idea of building out a robust, and profitable, paid OTT service for the emerging markets is still a work in progress.

HOOQ has a shot but iFlix appears to have the early lead. Will guys like Rakuten, Alibaba and HotStar emerge to try and go big? Don’t know yet. Will Netflix and Amazon slowly take over? Possibly. Will Google eventually get it right around the globe when it comes to premium content? I think not likely. Apple – well, they just seem to suck at emerging markets when it comes to payment models so I am not hopeful.

The race is on. I will continue to armchair quarterback it and share more insights as I go.

Another good take on Fabric

Since I don’t feel like building things on Twitter anyway the old issue don’t bother me much but of course if I built stuff on Fabric and they yanked that I would be pissed. However I think the world has evolved this time around. Notice a conversation I had with the CTO of Twitter:

https://storify.com/dreampipe/conversation-with-dreampipe-burnflare-and-adam-mes

Of course time will tell and my guess is many more folks will build on these frameworks than were interested in building Twitter clients which means it could impact a lot more apps and ecosystems.

Interesting times.

https://gigaom.com/2014/10/24/twitters-new-fabric-offering-isnt-just-a-pitch-for-developers-the-companys-future-is-at-stake/