Twitter is currently experiencing some employee shakeup, since late July Twitter has either been clearing house or losing talent such as Loren Brichter (developer of Tweetie, acquired by Twitter), Mike Abbott (VP of Engineering), Sean Garrett (Head of Communications), and most recently Pam Kramer (VP of Consumer Marketing). Even some investors are heading for the door, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures left his seat on the board back in September. Now, I should also note it is bringing in new talent, too, but it is pretty clear that the outflow of employees is currently greater than the inflow.
So what is going on at Twitter? Jack Dorsey.
Clearly, Jack is the only common denominator here, since his return, there have been several employees leaving. However, let me be clear — this is not necessarily a bad thing. People who joined Twitter before Jack came back did so because of the management team at the time and the direction they were looking to go. Which means that Jack’s vision for Twitter is obviously different from previous managements, hence the exodus.
Jack Dorsey, one of the original co-founder’s of the company, left Twitter in 2008 to start Square, a mobile payments service, where he currently resides as CEO, however is now back as Chairman at Twitter and is clearly causing some disruption. The fact that the two other co-founders (Evan Williams and Biz Stone) are now gone and working on new projects has left Jack and current Twitter CEO Dick Costolo with essentially complete reign over the company and a mission to generate big revenues and profits.
But what does this mean for the future of Twitter? Well, for starters, its current deal with Apple that integrates Twitter directly into iOS 5 is a huge deal, but Twitter obviously cannot rely solely on Apple alone to be the success story that many expect it to be. Recently, when Twitter announced it had 100 million active users, I said I wasn’t impressed and it really isn’t all that impressive once you examine those numbers more closely.
The thing is, Twitter has been experimenting with different types of promoted tweets, promoted trending topics, as well as with content partnerships with companies such as Microsoft (Bing). All of which have been moderately successful, but nothing that has seemingly proven to be a cash cow. Twitter needs that cash cow. It needs that Google AdWords/AdSense type combination that propelled Google into the multi-billion dollar corporation it is today. What will be Twitter’s cash cow? Time will tell if they can come up with one. But I can only assume Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo, with the recent $800 million investment round, have an idea or are currently working very hard to find one.