We’re in the bubble. We’re in the bubble…
Let’s spend it, lend it, send it…
Jack Dorsey came. Now look. Twitter cuts about 10% of its workforce.
With this little pin prick, the bubble starts to burst. There will be blood, much more blood.
Will you come? Will I come? Who will come to Silicon Valley — where no one comes but the dreams, at least, are always grand.
It had to be. You had to know.
All these ideas, services, brands, businesses — platforms — all promising to change the world, and all based on the bubbly, frothy, straight-up stupid notion that people will pay for what you’ve given them for free once the beautiful people show up. Or the masses.
Twitter is just one more business built atop the belief that “advertisers” will pay dearly if you give them access to the very people who love your platform in large part because the advertisers aren’t there.
It doesn’t matter if you believe your platform is going to CHANGE THE WORLD! (and become the new watercooler for that awesome new ABC sitcom), you eventually have to find a way to pay for all your staff, all your infrastructure, all the millions and billions that VCs handed you — with the clear expectation of at least a 10X return. Or, barring that, access to even greater levers of political power. (This is why shit like Vox gets so much dark money.)
Twitter has over 300 million users — and can’t make a penny. Literally.
And for you deniers: this isn’t about going IPO too soon. It’s not about Wall Street and their demands for quarterly growth in perpetuity. This is about building a business that can turn a profit. Twitter has yet to prove it can. And if you think it can once it reaches 500 million users, or a billion users, you are not educated in how social media functions.
It’s all about the relationships.
Relationships matter. Dearly. But nearly all the value in “relationships” reside, like a fractal, within each relationship. And the deeper that relationship, the greater the value.
Twitter doesn’t do this. It can’t.
Rather, Twitter is attempting to to extract value across relationships. The platform may not offer great one-to-one value but the hope is that it will offer significant many-to-many relationship value. My value from using Twitter, for example, is not from a deep relationship with one or two or a dozen others, but a marginal relationship with thousands.
Twitter has yet to prove this model has even the potential to turn a profit.
It gets worse.
It may not be possible, not for any digital service or content, to turn a profit, Facebook notwithstanding. Hell, even Google, with it’s God-anointed intent-search business model is quickly moving into everything-hardware.
The Apple revolution, which took a long, painful 30 years to foment, has led to the reduction in the *value* of everything digital. Software, books, movies, search, maps, phone calls, messages, the world wide web, everything, is rushing headlong to zero.
The Apple revolution has almost been fully realized.
Thanks to Apple, we’ve been taught that anything digital should be free or damn close.
The next revolution, and this will utterly disrupt Apple, is to grind the value of hardware down to zero. Who will achieve this? Hell, we don’t even know where or how or when it will come — but it will. And it will be an even more profound, transformational, pan-planet revolution than digital going free.
Until then, the billions of dollars poured into all-things-digital will continue to evaporate.
Do not expect Jack Dorsey or anyone else to be the savior of digital.