I sure hope Jack can get Twitter on track. I have so much of my career bet on it.
I'm hearing a ton of noise from the Twitter ecosphere (employees, partners, investors) about how badly-managed Twitter has been for many months. A few journalists even wrote scathing articles. Fortune wrote the one that I remember the most.
I hope they can get through this tough period of trying to get a cadence of new things shipped. Google+ is really showing how bad the product team at Twitter has been doing. Quick, name five new features you've seen on Twitter in the past year. I can't. Quick, name a meeting that Twitter's management has had with any of the users. I can't (Google is ALL OVER meeting with both big users and small here).
I hope to see an innovative Twitter again. It's important even if you like a competitive system, like Google+ or Facebook.
It's criminal how they've ignored things like lists. Google has simply outclassed Twitter on that front and it's a shame because Twitter had such a large lead and could have turned its system into something magical.
That said, the pushback I got to my post on Sunday (like from Techcrunch's +MG Siegler
) shows just how hard it is to get forward motion inside Twitter. Everyone has a different idea about what innovation at Twitter means.
I sure would not want to be Jack.
Some of the consistent stuff I've been hearing is:
1. There's very little curiosity inside the product team at Twitter. Quick, name a poweruser who works at Twitter. I can't. In fact, some of my friends have analysed the people who work at Twitter and most don't follow many people, most don't tweet very often, most don't interact with other people very often. These are attributes of people who will design new features. There is also a decided bent against heavy users, which is biasing that team toward inaction rather than anything interesting.
2. Until Jack came back engineers were being held back from shipping new features. I've heard of lots of disgruntled engineers working inside Twitter from a wide variety of people. Lately they say it's more fun to work at Twitter again (I guess it's not if you are getting fired like these four, though).
3. I've talked to a few investors in Twitter and there was consistent feedback that bad hires had been done in the move to rapidly expand. Of course, everyone has an opinion here. I bet the four folks who got fired today will have a different tune to sing.
4. Partners are complaining that Twitter doesn't know what it wants to be and doesn't have a consistent story of how it wants to proceed with partnerships. This demonstrates managerial troubles that I'm sure Jack is being forced to deal with.
The good part?
Apple just gave Twitter a major shot in the arm. Look for Jack to build off of that partnership this fall and add new features aimed at strengthening that relationship.
Also, my inbound stream has NOT slowed down since Google+ came out. So, at one level, users are just fine with Twitter staying the way it is (I think that's a mistake, just like MySpace initially looked like it had healthy usership, but then slowly lost those because the feature set just kept falling more and more behind Facebook).
Anyway, I imagine this is a tough day at Twitter and for the four who were let go.
I'm interested in seeing where Jack takes this important company in the future. I hope the product team starts shipping major new innovations that keep +Vic Gundotra
from sleeping at night.
If Jack does that then we all win.
Right now, though, we're getting a small glimpse into the mess inside Twitter and it's not smelling very good.