When Elon Musk bought almost 10% of Twitter, he was duly invited to come to sit on the Board. Musk declined. Remember, Musk did not launch Tesla. He took over. Now his intention seems to be to take over Twitter. To redo it. He obviously has big plans.
He is the Twitter King. Of all the people on Twitter who have the largest following, he is easily the most active. He lives on Twitter. The Prime Minister of India has a lot of followers, but I doubt he tweets himself. He has a large team behind the operation.
Elon Musk has built a track record over the past 20 years that makes him “the king of kings,” the tech entrepreneur that even top tech entrepreneurs look up to with awe. And he is not that old. He could easily be chugging along on earth for a good 20 years before he sends himself to Mars.
Should Elon Musk be owning all of Twitter? Would that be a good thing? For Twitter? For the world? For Elon?
Twitter is a curious company in that Jack Dorsey is a curious person. The last thing Jack Dorsey became very famous for was spending a few weeks in Burma. I guess we all have our blind spots. Twitter was an afterthought of a company run by Evan Williams. Then Evan got ousted. Jack was invited back. Then diluted.
A lot of people have noted that if the Blockchain is the next big thing, much, much bigger than the Internet itself, then it appears to be that the Blockchain crowd seems to live on Twitter. What gives? There is obviously potential. Elon wants to unlock it. Should he be allowed? Considering the Blockchain is permissionless, I think that question is moot.
I blogged about Twitter’s need to live to its potential more than 10 years ago, and I would like to offer some ideas. If Twitter can be bought at a 40% premium for about 40 billion dollars, then obviously it has not lived its potential. The market cap is minuscule. Twitter is a promising product that found product-market fit and never really scaled.
I would like to offer some ideas should the takeover happen.
My suggestion would be that Musk buys a browser, something next generation, and build or outsource a Pi tablet and/or laptop. Allow Google to index the entire Twitter. Make them pay for it. Let them be the default search engine on the browser. Make them pay. Let Twitter be the landing page in the browser. Marry Starlink to the whole idea. People get internet access for free on the device. The browser has a pay bar or a pay corner where ads are served. That pays for it all. Location and browsing history determine what ads get served.
Redo Twitter. 99% just want to consume. They don't even want to open an account. Let them consume. Of the 1% who bother to sign up, most content is created by the 1% of that 1%. So Twitter should have three modes. (1) Browsing mode. No sign up necessary. You don't see any symbols. Just natural language. (2) Sign up mode. (3) Content creation mode.
I am for free speech. No tolerating any curbs anywhere. The Twitter free speech would be planetary. I am curious about open-sourcing the algorithms. Perhaps the Open API madness can make a comeback.
Twitter would be in good hands. I think Elon Musk could turn Twitter into a trillion-dollar company in less than 10 years.
(Submitted to The Washington Post on April 19.)