Elon Musk is the maximum shareholder from twitter. Another piece of news that no one would expect -this is at least not so dramatic, depending on who is looking at it- that this triennium 2020-2022 is leaving us that seems to never end in unthinkable events. Although Musk has had plenty of financial muscle for years to acquire the social network that has become his main speaker, and in some cases also Tesla’s largest marketing platform, his entry as the largest shareholder with 9.2% of the shares and in the Board of Directors opens a stage full of very open ideas for the future.
In hypertextual We have already explained to you how it seems that at first Twitter will be able to contain Musk, also his tug-of-war with the current CEO, Parag Agrawal related to the departure of his friend Jack Dorsey at the end of last year, or the tycoon’s accusations about limitation of freedom of expression. We don’t know what will come out, but, as observers, the future of Twitter as a company can be very entertaining. Perhaps, those yes, as users not so much.
The truth is that earthquakes at the top of Twitter are certainly not something new. From its four co-founders and the push and pull they had, to the exit, return and return to end up leaving Jack Dorsey again, all the positions and majority shareholders of Twitter have always been in a continuous dance of appearances. Already in 2010, The New York Times interviewed Evan Williams, the veteran of the group of co-founders, who said that “The story of the founding of Twitter changes depending on which of us you ask”.
“The story of the founding of Twitter changes depending on which of us you ask”
Twitter went through three CEOs in two yearsand his whole story is much more lively, sometimes dark, but also fun than what his friendly blue bird promises. And all this, with continuous attempts to achieve profitability that have not yet been consolidated.
A lot of history, in short, that we are going through now, until the arrival of Musk.
The Birth of Twitter: Emerging from 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 founding Blogger, the well-known platform for (roll) blogs and, after selling it to Google, left the search engine company with a significant sum of money under his arm.
Evans agreed to go on a business venture with his neighbor, Noah Glass.. The two worked on a platform to support what they considered the new radio, podcasting, the aforementioned Odeo. Leaving Google also took one of his classmates, Biz Stone, who, along with Dorsey, would end up forming the Twitter quartet.
The intra-story of Dorsey’s arrival has several versions. According to Williams, she found Dorsey in a coffee shop writing some pretty basic code. Recognizing the minor Silicon Valley celebrity and wanting to find a more interesting line of work, Dorsey found William’s email on the internet and sent him his resume. A few back and forth and an interview later, Dorsey became part of the Odeo team.
Despite the expectation that William’s new adventure aroused, the platform received little attention. Perhaps because of the service, the moment of the podcast, or perhaps because it was already heard that Williams and Glass had their clashes. Whatever the reason, the company hit rock bottom when Apple announced in 2005 that it would include podcasts on iTunes.
That led the company to look for possible reconversions. And there it is said that Dorsey came up with an idea of “state” or “status”extracted from the platforms live blogging when a user warned that they were absent or what they were doing. Something from which the germinal idea of Twitter arose.
Dorsey told Glass, who defended the idea to Williams, who had asked everyone at Odeo to start programming possible alternatives. Dorsey began to do it, and it caught on and Evans liked it. Glass, delighted with the idea, was the one who put the name of Twitter; flutter, twitter. Although, in principle, as it is known, his logo was green and his name was twtrras the well-known first tweet from @jack.
With the idea, Williams, Stone and Dorsey acquired most of the assets from Odeo’s investors and shareholders as the company became Twitter in late 2006.
Williams would choose Dorsey as the first CEO.
Four men with one
same different vision
Those early years of Twitter were one of construction, of the first appearances of hashtags and of capturing users and investment… Until constant technical problems related to the servers and the code base made the first investors ask for Dorsey’s head as early as 2008. Williams seized power.
From there, a series of comings and goings begins that can best be summarized in the form of timeline:
- In 2009 a Twitter feud between Ashton Kutcher and CNN about who would be the first to reach 1 million followers (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 dispute rises to power in Dick Costolocome to the organization among other things to try to make Twitter profitable. The initial premise was that Costelo would later cede power to Dorsey again… But it was not like that.
- In 2011 The White House hosts a Twitter event with President Barack Obama and Jack Dorsey as moderator. That same year, the Arab Spring raises the popularity of Twitter around the world as a means to cover 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 Vinefor many, what TikTok could have been before TikTok. I would close it in 2016.
- In 2013, Twitter selling a bag
- In 2015, Dick Costolo leaves office CEO and Jack Dorsey takes over.
- With Dorsey at the helm and in the midst of the controversy with Trump as President and using his account as a speaker, an employee deactivates the 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 limited and which are not ceases.
- 2018: Twitter expands the character limit from 140 to 280.
- 2020: Internal shareholders of Elliot Management try to unseat Dorsey, involved since 2015 and combining his work as CEO with the fintech Square.
- 2021: Twitter initiates the purchase of numerous applications, including Revue, for newsletters, and launches 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 takes over from Parag AgrawalCTO, announcing new features tied to NFTs.
- 2022: Musk buys shares until he becomes a majority shareholder and dabbles with the idea of inserting a button to edit tweets.
The pending point of profitability
But if one thing is clear from all this, it is that, due to a critical mass of users, Twitter is the great social network that has achieved the least profitability. Something attributed to Dorsey’s vision and that now the new shareholders wanted to change.
His first approach to profitability came in 2009when Twitter sold the right to make their tweets visible in the Bing and Google search engines for the respective sums of 10 and 15 million dollars.
However, the real question was how to introduce advertising in a way that would not be excessively annoying for users. All the founders wanted to avoid imitating something as overtly commercial as Facebook. The solution came in 2010 with promoted tweets, which still account for about 85% of Twitter’s revenue.
Fights and changes between CEOs and founders
As we have seen, the history of Twitter is one of continuous tensions between its founders and 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 Well-informed person in 2011 he tracked him down to find out the story. Following his post, Williams tweeted “It’s true that @Noah never got enough credit for his initial role on Twitter. Also, she came up with the name, which was brilliant.” Dorsey did not comment publicly on the story, but later stated that she had no role in Glass’s firing.
Subsequently, the founders of Twitter, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey, had a tense relationship to say the least. Although they started out as friends, with Williams even choosing Jack as the person to lead Twitter, their relationship quickly soured. Today Williams still has shares of Twitter, but neither of them is in the company.
Williams founded and runs Medium, while Dorsey has focused on Square, later integrated into Block. Now Musk, friend of Dorsey enters into this soap opera. The history of Twitter, without a doubt, gives for a good thread.