How We Define Success

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 9.30.05 AMCurrently, Twitter, as a company, is in upheaval. Executives are getting fired. Workers are getting laid off. There’s widespread panic that Twitter will fail as a company as shareholders grow skittish about the company’s future. Twitter’s stock as fallen more than 50 percent in the last 12 months.

What’s got everyone so twisted up about Twitter is that its user base isn’t growing fast enough.

“The social networking service, used by presidential candidates such as Donald J. Trump and sports stars like the basketball player Stephen Curry, has failed to attract droves of new users,” according to the New York Times. “That has investors questioning how useful the service is for people and whether it will become a mainstream hit on the scale of Facebook or Instagram. Shares of Twitter have plunged nearly 55 percent in the last year.”

Every day 320 million users tweet. The social networking platform gets 1 billion unique visitors every month. Yet, that’s not enough. As a publicly traded company, shareholders want to see growth. Grow. Grow. Or. Die.

But why can’t Twitter just be happy to maintain its 1 billion unique visits a month and it’s 320 million active daily users?

Wall Street demands growth, but if Twitter were a privately held company, could they just be satisfied with what they’ve got and just do a good job servicing their user base? I’ve worked at pre-IPO companies and have had this very conversation. Everyone always goes for the stock options and cash from the public offering, but most of them live to regret it. You lose control of your company when you go public. It can make a lot of sense for a lot of companies, but private ownership can be a really wonderful thing, especially if you want to be in the news business, which Twitter does want to be in very much.

As a media company, you can’t expect 20 percent growth and 20 percent profit every year. It’s just not how the industry works.

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