The first week of February 2012 will be remembered as the week social media made the leap from geek to big business. The real significance of the Facebook IPO is not about valuation; it’s about the market’s acceptance that social
media is not a fad. It is now deeply — perhaps forever — woven into the fabric of the American corporate culture and mindset of the American consumer. It’s not long until every board has a prominent CCO – Chief Culture Officer.
Some will applaud the fact that the Facebook IPO will make millionaires and billionaires out of people who took risk to develop and code a new way for people to communicate and connect over wild distances, and at the same time enabling marketers to directly connect with target audiences. Others will piss and moan about the crass commercialization of the web, largely because they aren’t in on it. To these, we say “Piss off.” To Facebook — Bravo!
So now, Amazon, Google, and other social media phenomena have more or less successfully monetized their audacity and ingenuity, leaving one very prominent name still on the sidelines of the IPO gravy train. And that would be Twitter.
And What is Twitter’s response? A parody. Twitter this week released a classic viral video that is so bad it’s good. (Actually, it’s just bad.)
It is no secret that developers, coders, engineers, and computer ninjas are in very high demand. As the Internet and its users expand, every company is looking for the next Steve Jobs to help exploit the next big thing.
The landscape is competitive, Google, Apple, Facebook, Oracle, Ebay and every tech shop has a laundry list of unfilled positions. To lure talent, coders are offered fun work environments, free food, high base salaries, generous share options, free massages, and all the sugar they can eat (Something for Michelle to chew on).
To compete with these incentives. Twitter released a recruitment video that cuts straight to the point. All they can offer is hype. And while the video was a PR success, quickly going viral on the net, it exposes Twitter’s major problem. Twitter cannot monetize its business and as a result all it can offer is parody and a work environment that supports parody. Great for theater, terrible for profits.
Cutting-edge developers who can choose between earning eye-popping stock option plans at Google or Facebook, or getting all that plus nice discounts on Apple products, will find it hard to justify working at Twitter, where the chances
of an IPO are slim (you will not get rich), the business plan is based on a freemium model (you will not get rich), and the strategy for attracting top talent is not to offer competitive packages but rather rely on investment from the Middle East and make stupid viral videos (you will never get rich). Show me the money Twitter, show me the money.
Well, some might say, maybe the point of spending twenty hours a day programming and debugging shouldn’t be about money. Maybe we should focus more on making the world a better place. Okay — but — through Twitter? Come on.
Then perhaps it’s the joy of sharing a sense of accomplishment and pride in one’s work with an elite group of highly talented people. Harrumph. Watch the video. Would you really want to work with any of those people? Me, I would be pretty wary of spending time around people who have accepted Twitter’s unintentionally hilarious invitation to “come join the flock.” As my grandmother might have said: “That’s for the birds.”