Twitter investor calls for changes

Chris Sacca says he’s a proud Twitter shareholder and user, not an activist investor, but in a long essay posted yesterday on his venture capital firm’s blog, he analyses the platform’s successes and failures and calls for changes.

Sacca, a California-based investor, private equity principal, company advisor, and entrepreneur, was an early investor in Twitter, and his company was the largest shareholder at the time of the IPO. Twitter, he says, can and will be “huge” if it makes Tweets effortless to enjoy, makes it easier for all to participate, and makes users feel heard and valuable.

Current problems include stalled new user growth, users leaving the platform, a shortfall in direct response advertising, and a lack of confidence among investors and in Wall Street. Because Twitter was “built by and for its power users”–users comfortable with lists, DMs, and tagging–new users can be intimidated by the platform’s apparent complexity.

According to Sacca, radical changes are needed. These include:

  • Surfacing the tweets users want to see, rather than expecting them to find them in the reverse-chronological-order raw feed, or restricting content to tweets posted by people users follow.
  • A separate tab for major live events, with active promotion, and no requirement for sign-up.
  • The introduction of channels oriented by topics, location, and popularity, and recognition that channels can thrive in standalone apps.
  • Prompts in the compose box to help users create content.
  • A save button.

With these and other changes, Sacca believes “hundreds of millions of new users will join and stay active on the service, hundreds of millions of inactive users will return to the service, and hundreds millions more will use Twitter from the outside,” and the questions about ad revenues will answer themselves.

Sacca’s detailed proposals can be read here.

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