Elon Musk is the maximum shareholder of twitter. Another news that no one would expect – at least it is not so dramatic, depending on who is watching it – that leaves us this triennium 2020-2022 which seems never to end in unthinkable events. Although Musk had a lot of financial muscle for years to acquire the social network that became his main speaker, and in some cases also Tesla’s biggest marketing platform, his entry as the largest shareholder with 9.2% shares and to the board of directors opens a stage full of very open ideas for the future.
On hypertextual We’ve already told you how it looks like Twitter will initially be able to contain Musk, as well as his standoff with current CEO Parag Agrawal over the departure of his friend Jack Dorsey late last year, or the tycoon’s accusations about limiting freedom of expression. We don’t know what will come of it, but, as observers, the future of Twitter as a business can be very entertaining. Perhaps, those yes, as users not so much.
The truth is, earthquakes at the top of Twitter are definitely not something new. From its four co-founders and the push and pull they had, out, back and back to finally quitting Jack Dorsey again, all of Twitter’s positions and majority shareholders have always been in a continuous dance. appearances. Already in 2010, New York Times interviewed Evan Williams, the veteran of the group of co-founders, who said that “Twitter’s Founding Story Changes Depending on Who You Ask”.
“Twitter’s Founding Story Changes Depending on Who You Ask”
Twitter has gone through three CEOs in two years, and its whole story is much more lively, sometimes dark, but as fun as its friendly blue bird promises. And all this, with continuous attempts at profitability that have not yet been consolidated.
A lot of history, in short, that we are currently going through, until Musk arrives.
The Birth of Twitter: The Rise of Podcasting
On March 21, 2006, Twitter emerged from the ashes of another startup, Odeo, focused on the world of podcasts. Evan Williams, the founder who had the most boards, came from the creation of Blogger, the well-known platform for (roll) blogs and, after selling it to Google, left the search engine with a large sum of money under his arm.
Evans agreed to go into a business venture with his neighbor, Noah Glass.. The two worked on a platform to support what they saw as the new radio, podcasting, the aforementioned Odeo. Leaving Google also took on one of his colleagues, Biz Stone, who along with Dorsey would eventually form the Twitter quartet.
The intra-story of Dorsey’s arrival has several versions. According to Williams, he found Dorsey in a cafe writing some pretty basic code. Recognizing the little Silicon Valley celebrity and wanting to find more meaningful work, Dorsey found William’s email on the internet and sent him his resume. A few round trips and an interview later, Dorsey joined the Odeo team.
Despite the anticipation generated by William’s new adventure, the platform has received little attention. Maybe because of the service, the timing of the podcast, or maybe because we’ve heard before that Williams and Glass have their clashes. Whatever the reason, the company hit rock bottom when Apple announced in 2005 that it would include podcasts on iTunes.
This led the company to look for possible conversions. And there Dorsey is said to have had an idea of ”state” or “status”extracted from the platforms of live blog when a user has notified that he is away or that he is doing. Something from which the germinal idea of Twitter was born.
Dorsey told Glass, who pitched the idea to Williams, who had asked everyone at Odeo to start programming possible alternatives. Dorsey started doing it, and it caught on and Evans liked it. Glass, delighted with the idea, is the one who put the name of Twitter; float, chirp. Although in principle, as is known, its logo was green, and its name was twtrrlike @jack’s well-known first tweet.
With the idea, Williams, Stone and Dorsey acquired most of the assets from Odeo’s investors and shareholders when the company became Twitter in late 2006.
Williams would choose Dorsey as its first CEO.
Four men with a
same different vision
Those early years of Twitter were all about construction, the first appearances of hashtags, and the capture of users and investments… Until constant technical problems with servers and the codebase meant that the first investors ask for the head of Dorsey as early as 2008. Williams took power.
From there begins a series of comings and goings best summed up in the form of chronology:
- In 2009, a Twitter feud between Ashton Kutcher and CNN about who would be the first to hit a million subscribers (Kutcher won), followed by Williams’ appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show takes viewership to new heights.
- Noah Glass walks out the back door of the company clashed with Evans.
- In 2010, another internal conflict raises Dick Costolo to power, come to the organization among other things to try to make Twitter profitable. The initial premise was that Costelo would later cede power to Dorsey… But it wasn’t like that.
- In 2011 The White House hosts a Twitter event with President Barack Obama and Jack Dorsey as a moderator. That same year, the Arab Spring increasing the popularity of Twitter around the world as a means of covering events.
- At the end of that year, after a controversial redesign, Biz Stone, initial co-founder, announces his departure. Twitter reaches 100 million users.
- In 2012 Twitter acquires Vine, for many, what TikTok could have been before TikTok. I would close it in 2016.
- In 2013, Twitter goes public
- In 2015, Dick Costolo leaves office CEO and Jack Dorsey takes over.
- With Dorsey at the helm and amid controversy with Trump as president and using his account as a speaker, an employee deactivate Trump account on his last day of work. It is recovered 11 minutes later, but the controversy over which messages from the president are censored or restricted and which are not ceases.
- 2018: Twitter expands character limit from 140 to 280.
- 2020: Inside Elliot Management shareholders attempt to overthrow Dorsey, who has been involved since 2015 and combines his job as CEO with fintech Square.
- 2021: Twitter initiates the purchase of many applications, including Revue, for newsletters, and is launching its own clone of Clubhouse with Spaces. Also, in search of monetization, Twitter Blue is launched, a payment service with improvements.
- End of 2021: Dorsey announces his departure and succeeds Parag AgrawalCTO, announcing new features related to NFTs.
- 2022: Musk buys shares until he becomes majority shareholder and launches into the idea of inserting a button to edit tweets.
Breakeven point pending
But if one thing emerges from all this, it is that, due to a critical mass of users, Twitter is the major social network that has achieved the least profitability. Something attributed to Dorsey’s vision and which now the new shareholders wanted to change.
His first approach to profitability came in 2009when Twitter sold the right to make your tweets visible in search engines Bing and Google for $10 million and $15 million respectively.
However, the real question was how to introduce advertising in a way that wouldn’t be overly annoying to users. All of the founders wanted to avoid mimicking something as overtly commercial as Facebook. The solution came in 2010 with promoted tweets, which still make up around 85% of Twitter’s revenue.
Struggles and changes between CEOs and founders
As we have seen, the history of Twitter is one of permanent tensions between its founders and its shareholders. With a particularly relevant case, that of Noah Glass, who for a year had on his Twitter profile “I started this” (I started this).
A report of Initiated in 2011, he tracked it down to find out the story. Following his post, Williams tweeted “Admittedly @Noah never got enough credit for his first role on Twitter. Plus he came up with the name, which was awesome. Dorsey hasn’t commented publicly. the story, but later said he had no role in Glass’s firing.
Thereafter, Twitter founders Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey had a strained relationship, to say the least. Although they started out as friends, with Williams even choosing Jack as the person to run Twitter, their relationship quickly soured. Today, Williams still owns shares of Twitter, but neither of them are in the company..
Williams founded and runs Medium, while Dorsey focused on Square, which later became part of Block. Now Musk, Dorsey’s friend is stepping into this soap opera. The story of Twitter, no doubt, gives a good thread.