Big Twitter investor Chris Sacca explains what the company needs to do next

Chris saccaWikipediaChris Sacca

Twitter investor Chris Sacca has come out with his views on the struggling Internet company.

One of the Internet company’s earliest investors and a longtime public supporter of the company, Sacca said last week that he was going to go public with a more candid and critical take on the company.

Sacca stresses that his latest post is not a hit piece. “I am not here to slam the company nor the team. I am not an activist investor,” he writes.

But he goes on to say that Twitter has “failed to tell its own story to investors and users” and consequently is “suffering through a seemingly endless negative press cycle.”

The piece is very lenghty, and we will update with more details. But here are the quick bullet points of what Sacca describes as Twitter is doing well and not so well.

What’s right and wrong?

Here’s what Sacca writes is going well at Twitter:

  1. The pace of product development has accelerated dramatically.
  2. Twitter has shown a willingness to take more risk in making changes to the core product.
  3. Revenue is growing at 74% year over year. (There is no public company of that scale growing anywhere near as fast.)
  4. The management team has stopped selling their stock.
  5. The Google deal is a big win.
  6. Periscope and TellApart are strong acquisitions. (Periscope may prove to be the most important deal Twitter has ever done.)

And here’s what Sacca says is going wrong:

  1. New user growth has stalled.
  2. Almost one billion users have tried Twitter and not stuck around.
  3. Direct response advertising has fallen short of hopes.
  4. Wall Street’s confidence in the management team has diminished.
  5. Twitter has been unable to convince investors of its potential upside.

What should the company do next?

Here are some of his top suggestions for the company.

Be bolder and faster: Twitter cannot afford do build take an incremental approach to product development. “Twitter will need to take huge risks, deeply question its key assumptions and launch materially new stuff early and often.

Rethink the chronological tweets format and the follower model: “In many other cases, users won’t care if those Tweets are ten seconds or one hour or two days hold. In parallel, they won’t care if the Tweets were posted by someone they follow nor not.”

Introduce a “live” feature and “save” button: Make it easier to follow live events through separate tabs and human editors. Offer a way for users to save interesting information that appears on Twitter such as book recommendations or videos.

Create stand-alone “channel” apps. Offer special channels arranged by topic, location and popularity. Twitter could create a special app for news junkies or an NBA app.

We’re reading through the rest of the essay now and updating this post as we learn more….

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