Happy Twitter-versary (for the nth time around), Jack Dorsey. Things haven’t been going well, it seems, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel — Twitter may be acquired by someone somewhere in the tech (or entertainment) industry, perhaps.
To be perfectly fair, the company Dorsey inherited from his predecessor(s), including an array of former product leads as well as CEO Dick Costolo, wasn’t in that great of shape to begin. But Dorsey’s return was heralded as a return to form for Twitter, in the hope that he might come in and shake things up to the point that the company would finally turn around and make Wall Street happy.
So in the last month or so, a lot has been made as to whether the company should remain independent or whether it makes sense as part of a larger empire that can devote more resources into growing it. There are natural arguments for each — Twitter is one of the go-to sources for news (and also sports!), but a company like Salesforce could pump additional life into it to get that user base growing more broadly. And perhaps the company once again needs new, fresh blood.
Dorsey’s tried to make the service less confusing during his tenure, such as shifting around the way tweets are presented and removing some contributions toward the character limit for types of media. But the company still suffers from being confusing, being difficult to get on-boarded and, of course, harassment.
So, the turnaround still didn’t really happen. Let’s take a quick look at a few charts of what’s happened at Twitter under Dorsey.
For some reference, here’s a one-year chart of the S&P 500:
And let’s look at the user base the company reported last quarter, which has been the main sticking point for Wall Street and Twitter:
So, barely any growth whatsoever (and even a small drop-off at one point). Hmm. What about revenue growth? Under the leadership of Adam Bain this wasn’t a huge problem for a while, though everything still stems back to user growth.
And Twitter’s still losing money:
One last quick one, which isn’t exactly a chart — how much it’s paying for stock-based compensation:
Let’s cap this whole thing off with a some recent headlines:
- Twitter’s User Growth Goes Nowhere As It Meets Revenue Expectations Of $710M
- Twitter’s woes continue on Q1 sales of $595M, a sluggish 310M MAUs and weak guidance
- Don’t feed the trolls — tackle their abuse of platform power instead
- Twitter launches on Apple TV, Fire TV and Xbox One
- Twitter will livestream weekly games from MLB and the NHL
- Twitter adds former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor to its board
- Twitter dives after mixed Q2: $602M sales, $0.13 EPS, MAUs up 3% 313M
- Twitter is introducing a quality filter to clean up your notifications tab
- Twitter partners with CBS News to live stream convention coverage
- Twitter targets extremism, suspends an additional 235,000 terror accounts
So, you may be sensing a little bit of a trend: a big shift to live video, some attempts to combat harassment and other problems (though it hasn’t worked) and, of course, lackluster results under Dorsey.
It’s been a tough run for Dorsey, which may eventually be capped off with a final sale to a company. Anything can change at the last minute, of course, but for the time being it seems like Twitter needs to right itself — whether that’s through increasingly drastic internal changes or bringing in new leadership under new ownership to do just that. And there’s always next year!
Twitter’s third-quarter earnings come out later this month, and it’s kind of hard to believe that this may be the final time we see the guts of the company for the foreseeable future. It may end with a final sign-off like LinkedIn: “In light of the pending merger, LinkedIn will not be updating its outlook for fiscal 2016 and will not be hosting a conference call for its second quarter 2016 business results.”