This week’s podcast is about the recent launch of Threads, Meta’s clone of Twitter.
My assessment is that Threads will likely beat Twitter.
However, this depends on Treads getting product market fit. They have to get and retain actual engagement at significant scale. If that doesn’t happen, then none of my strategy analysis matters.
If you’re interested in talking digital strategy and transformation for your business, contact us at TechMoat Consulting.
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From the Concept Library, concepts for this article are:
- Complementary platforms
- Audience-builder platforms
- SMILE Marathon: Sustained Innovation
From the Company Library, companies for this article are:
- Meta / Facebook / Instagram / Threads
Welcome, welcome everybody. My name is Jeff Towson and this is the Tech Strategy Podcast where we analyze the best digital businesses of the US, China and Asia. And the topic for today, why threads will beat Twitter. And this was kind of the big tech news of the last week. Facebook Meta launched a pretty blatant copy of Twitter and racked up. let’s say 100 million users in the first week or so, although that was basically people from Instagram signing up and opening accounts there, which is totally a smart tactic, but okay, that’s not quite the same thing as word of mouth or organic adoption. I mean, it’s a growth tactic. It’s still good, but not quite as spectacular maybe as people are implying. Anyways, I thought this was a great topic to talk about. It’s huge news and I think it is right in my strike zone. I mean, I’ve only been thinking about frameworks for how one business model competes with another one forever. And this was a nice assessment of that. And I came to a pretty strong answer on this fairly quickly. I think threads is gonna be much bigger and much more successful. Now. That doesn’t mean Twitter’s going away. I don’t think this is a winner take all business, but I would. Yeah, that’s sort of where I’m putting the stake in the ground and I’ll take you through strategy wise how I got there. And that’ll be the topic for today. Let’s see any housekeeping stuff to standard disclaimer, nothing in this podcast or in my writing or website is investment advice. The numbers and information for me and any guests may be incorrect. The views and opinions expressed may no longer be relevant or accurate. Overall, investing is risky. This is not. investment, legal or tax advice, do your own research. And with that, let’s get into the topic. Okay, as always, we start with some frameworks, some concepts, and this actually has three or four big ones. So this is a good case for digital strategy, you know, in practice. So three concepts for today, always on the library. Another concept library. Number one is just audience builder platforms, which is a type of platform business model. Usually three-sided platforms. Side number one, people who consume content. Could be consumers, but not always. Side two, the other user group, companies, people, whether professional or amateur, who create content. And then on the third side is usually advertisers and or businesses which are kind of the same thing sometimes. You know that’s pretty easy when you look at an audience builder platform and you look at say YouTube. Because we really know who we’re talking about people who watch videos people who create videos because video is kind of an easy to understand content type media format. And then what tends to happen is those audience builder platforms tend to be joined at the hip with social networks because people like to share this stuff. So that doesn’t happen with marketplace platforms, it doesn’t happen with payment platforms, but if you see a video you like, you might share it with your friends, you might make a reaction video, you might comment. So usually I draw this as sort of a platform business and a model where the consumers are really what I would call connected consumers, as opposed to just viewers on their own. They’re connected to each other. I’ll put a picture in the show notes for that. Now, I think that’s pretty clear when you’re talking about YouTube. As you move closer and closer to a pure social network, let’s say like WhatsApp. which is really just a communication service that’s part of a network, not unlike a phone system. A lot of people, and I’m probably similar in this, wouldn’t consider that an audience builder platform anymore. We don’t see a clearly defined group of content creators whose primary goal is to amass an audience, hence audience builder platform. At that point, it’s just, you know, when there’s just constant back and forth, messaging coming. It looks more like communication. Okay, Twitter and Facebook are kind of in my opinion in the gray zone between those two things. Okay, Twitter looks like a media service. Fine. The type of content that is exchanged is a lot of these tweets which historically have been But more and more it’s about sharing information, back and forth about breaking news. So I still think it’s a platform business model and audience builder. But when we move over to something like Facebook, I don’t know, it’s in the middle. WhatsApp, I would say no. WhatsApp is just a social network. Facebook to me has always looked like 50% of social network, 50% an audience builder platform. Instagram, okay, that’s clearly an audience builder platform. Anyways, there’s a spectrum there, and you kind of got to know where you are. It’s easier when you think about something like Spotify or YouTube. Okay, so that’s kind of concept number one, audience builder platform. Three user groups, there’s a bit of a spectrum and emerging in with social networks, which are really an asset, that’s how I view them. Okay, concept number two for today, complementary platforms and linked business models. Now, if you’ve read any of my Motes and Marathons books, I put a short list of business models I really, really like. Structurally, I think they’re very strong. One of which would be platform business models, which I would call ecosystem or platform orchestrators, audience builders, one type, fine. What I like even better than that is two or three of those that work together, that complement each other, complimentary platforms. Now, linked businesses is something that’s not new. We’ve seen linked businesses forever. Pepsi used to own KFC. Okay, those are two different businesses but they were kind of linked and in the 1960s there was a big school of thought in strategy that you should build a conglomerate. If you build a conglomerate, a lot of linked businesses, you get a lot of benefits like access to capital, you can share customers, you can jointly spend on innovation, things like that. Then in the 70s that idea kind of blew apart because people realized there were a lot of disadvantages to conglomerates in the physical world. But still there were cases of linked businesses being fairly effective, being stronger than let’s say they would be independently. But linked business is the reason I say linked business and not conglomerate is linked means that they are related to each other in some place. It’s not like Sony where we’ve got micro. you know, Walkman business on one side, and then we make saxophones. Totally unlinked. That would be, you know, but when they’re linked together like NASCAR, where, you know, you own the stadiums, that’s one business, and then you own the franchise for NASCAR, which is an event sort of league. Okay, those would be linked businesses that actually really do strengthen each other. Okay, linked businesses, a lot of pros, a lot of cons, but when you move to linking digital platforms, That tends to be very powerful because you don’t get a lot. One, you can leverage the linkages much easier. You know, if you have Instagram and you have WhatsApp, those are two sort of platformish businesses, it is very easy to link the customers with no drawbacks because it’s already linked on the smartphone anyways. It’s not like trying to get people who are buying Pepsi to buy Cheetos. No, I mean, it’s right there. It’s very easy to build linkages in the digital world. So those linkages tend to be more powerful. It’s pretty much my favorite business model ever is complementary platforms. Alibaba, that’s a series of complementary platforms. Tencent, complementary platforms. Sea Limited in Southeast Asia, complementary platforms. Google, complementary platforms. Facebook Meta, complementary platforms. Big deal. OK, that’s concept number two. Concept number three, the last one. This idea of digital marathons, which is kind of my idea, hence the idea, the title, Moats and Marathons, there are certain cases where you can be so good as an operating entity, not the structure that would be a moat, that’s a business model. I’m just talking the operating performance can be so good relative to competitors that when that happens in a certain type of dimension of competition, you can pull out in front of your competitors and maintain your lead over time. Hence, everyone’s running a marathon, but one person or two people or three people are way out in front, and they’re just running faster and there’s a big gap. Now in theory, that gap could be closed, but sometimes it can be sustained, and that’s what I call a digital marathon. And I’ve given you five of these in the past, the Smile SMILE. mnemonic, the I in SMILES stands for rate of innovation. So if you are perpetually faster at innovating in a key dimension that matters, you can stay way out in front of your competitors perpetually. And I think that’s what Elon Musk has done with SpaceX. It’s not that other people can’t do what he’s doing, but they’re still trying to figure out how to land rockets and he’s figured that out seven years ago. He just, there’s a gap between them. And you could say the same thing about like TSMC in Taiwan. They are, you know, everyone else is trying to figure out 10 nanometer and maybe seven nanometer chips. They’re working on two nanometer. And by the time SMIC in China gets up to that level, they’ll be onto something else. Sometimes you can maintain that operational performance gap in a place that matters. It has to be a dimension that people care about. Anyways, that’s the third concept for today, Smile Marathon Rate of Innovation. Okay, so let’s talk about this. Now my argument for why Threads is gonna win is really, let’s say three to four points. Point number one, big surprise, given what I’ve just said, Threads has a much stronger business model, much stronger. This is three, let’s say two to three. complementary platforms that individually are incredibly powerful. I mean, I don’t like Facebook as a business. Like, I don’t like it as a service. I think the business model is quasi evil. I don’t use it. I don’t like their management team. I think Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. I view them the same way I view tobacco executives. I don’t like anything to do with this. I don’t use these systems if I can help it. That said, I feel the same way I do about tobacco. It’s an unbelievable business model Instagram 1.6 Instagram is sort of the photo version of tik-tok It’s basically the same business model, but it’s photos instead of short video 1.6 billion users 1.6 billion that would be an unbelievable business on its own. It is on its own as unbelievable WhatsApp, another phenomenal business, 2.2 billion users. Facebook itself, 2.9 billion monthly active users in the last couple of months. Any one of those would be an oh my god type of business. All three of them together as complimentary platform. The only businesses we see in the world with this sort of like just, I mean this reminds me of like. You know, a flotilla of ships on the ocean, like an aircraft carrier and 10 destroyers, and you, all of that, and submarines, that’s what this looks like to me. And then I look at Twitter and I see one medium-sized boat. You know, the only businesses that have this sort of power in the world are maybe Google, Alibaba, Tencent, maybe Epic Games, couple of them. Okay, and then you compare all of that to Twitter. not totally sure what the numbers are right now, probably 300 to 400 million users, monthly unclear. In the US, 60 to 70 million, something like that. I mean, it’s a very good business. This is a very good destroyer. But on the horizon is the two aircraft carriers, the 10 destroyers, the five submarines coming after them. That’s Facebook meta. Okay. So that’s a very good example of linked. or complementary platforms, linked business models. Now, how does that play out for Facebook Meta? Well, the first thing is, each of those businesses independently is a fairly powerful platform business model with powerful network effects, which means the bigger you are, network effects are a demand side economy of scale, the bigger you are, the better your service is inherently. Instagram is a powerhouse and it’s not surprising that Facebook linked threads to Instagram. They did the same thing to go after TikTok. They used Reels, which is part of Instagram, doing quite well and closing the gap with TikTok fairly quickly. So one, that’s a powerful business model. But if you go into my sort of six levels of digital competition in my books, that would be competitive Right? Level number two. If you move down to level number three, which I call barriers to entry and soft advantages, this is where you see soft advantages, which I don’t really talk about very much. When you have complimentary business models, you can do cross selling and bundling. That would be under my list for soft advantages. That’s how they got their 100 million users in one week. They cross sell from. from Instagram, sign up now, we’ll give you a bonus, we’ll give you something free. If nothing else, your customer acquisition costs are much lower, that’s real. You can do lots of tricks, that would be cross-selling. You can also do bundling. If you’re paying for this, we’ll bundle this price together with, you’ll get an account here, and there. Now the important thing with this is… You want to look at cross-selling and bundling for each specific user group. Now, the example I gave and the one that the press is talking about is this idea of they’re recommending threads to their consumers’ users on Instagram. That’s cross-selling. I actually think it’s more powerful for the other user groups. The other user groups are content creators and advertisers. That’s the one that I’m sure is freaking out Twitter. Twitter’s business model, which is a bit shaky, is mostly about advertising, and they’re struggling to get users advertising, political reasons, and the fact that they’re actually quite small and their platform is not awesome for advertising anyways. Not like Instagram. Instagram is the gold standard, well, maybe TikTok now, for advertising. It’s a beautiful advertising platform. Now what happens if Instagram… goes to advertisers and starts to bundle services. If you advertise on Instagram, or let’s say, Threads, will give you a discount on Instagram. That’s a real power move. So they can cross-sell and they can bundle to advertisers as a user group. And they don’t even have to, they can just give discounts and stuff. I mean, there’s a lot of ways you can do it. And then the third would be content creators. If you’re posting a lot, let’s say you’re the New York Times, let’s say you’re a big media company, let’s say you’re a big influencer and you’re posting on Twitter and they come along and say, you should start posting on threads and we will promote you. We will give you 100% of the take rate. I mean, there’s a lot they can do. We will promote you on threads and Twitter on Instagram. There’s a lot of levers they can pull with advertisers and content creators, far more than I think with consumers. So cross-selling and bundling gonna be a big thing. I’m watching them to do that. The other way these sort of complimentary platforms can play out is sharing data. Goes back and forth, very useful. TikTok does this all the time with its various products. You can get economies of scale in technology, R&D and marketing. You can basically pool all that together. Elon Musk fired 80% of the staff or got rid of them in various forms. You got 2,000 people there. How many engineers does Facebook, Metta, Instagram, how many do they have? I mean, they can deploy a huge amount of firepower against this platform that Twitter really cannot match unless they start raising capital. They are just too small of a ship. If you look under soft advantages, you can see three to four that are gonna play out almost immediately, I’m sure they already are. I would keep an eye on that. Now let’s say threads in its own right, forget the complimentary platform, let’s say threads as an audience builder platform, which Twitter is, let’s say it just gets bigger. Let’s say it gets to one, let’s say 700 million users, 800 million. Okay, that makes it bigger than Twitter in its own right. And these platform business models, if you have superior scale, you have a network effect. Your service is better. So it doesn’t mean the other one’s gonna go to zero, but there’s a reason that YouTube is massive and rumble is quite small. Because it’s a bigger audience builder platform, it gets a network effect, the service is superior. So if one party is 60% and the other party’s 40%, that doesn’t usually hold. You end up seeing something closer to 80% and 20% by market share. That could easily happen with Twitter versus threads if they get a scale advantage as an audience builder platform. And then you can start to do other things like subsidize pricing, give money. So anyways, it’s just a much stronger business model. I mean, that’s the second, the main point here. Outside of that, we’re talking about structural advantages here. There’s a couple other things that matter here. Tactics, money wars. Facebook can throw a lot of money at this project for a long time. I mean, they put $12 billion into Metaverse in a couple of years and then just kind of let it go. They could throw $5 billion at this. And that’s three times, two times the revenue of Twitter, probably. And now in theory, Elon Musk, because he’s such a unique individual, he could probably raise capital to match that, but it would hurt. Facebook can just throw money at it forever. Forget capital raising, they don’t have that problem. How would you throw money at it? Well, you could advertise for sure. You could pay content creators. You could subsidize advertising and you could choke off their advertising money. You could pull the content creators. You could plaster billboards everywhere. Well, they wouldn’t do that. They would just put them all over Facebook. So there’s a lot of tactical moves here that Elon Musk could probably match, but it would hurt. He may have to do, I would suspect like if I was in the room, that’s what I’d be preparing for. I’d be preparing for that. We may need to start raising significant capital right now to fight them off because they could drown us this way. And that’s kind of the main points there. So. On structural analysis digital strategy, ultimately what we’re looking at is a standalone medium-sized business with a shaky business model versus the mother of all conglomerates in the digital world. This looks a lot like Slack when Microsoft Teams decided to basically copy their product. Slack was the utility that everyone used for chatting and coordination within businesses. And then one day Microsoft announced a copy, Slack put an ad in the paper, welcome to the fight. Two years later, Slack, they got acquired. They just went down like a rock. You can’t compete when Microsoft says, we’re gonna launch Microsoft Teams and we want your space. They were just outgunned and then they got acquired, but they were… It was like a straight line down for them once Microsoft entered. So that’s kind of point number one. From a business model analysis, it’s pretty daunting. Okay, so let’s keep moving down the six levels. And the next level down would be, well actually let me make one more comment about, I mean what was Elon Musk doing in my opinion with Twitter? broken product with a somewhat shaky business model that is standalone. So what does that mean? Okay, it’s an audience builder platform. That’s the business model. Good. I like that, generally speaking. It’s a bit shaky in that the advertising never quite worked as it was, like with the limited you know, character count and you can only be… It wasn’t a natural advertising platform. But it was an audience builder, it was just a bit shaky. I think the bigger, and it was standalone business. It wasn’t part of something else. It wasn’t like part of Tencent where you’re feeding. No, it was a standalone business model, a bit shaky as an audience builder. And the product itself, the service itself, was always kind of half broken. where it was clearly addictive, people use it all the time. So something is definitely great about the product and the service. People who use it, use it all the time. But it was also kind of half broken in that, the majority of people in the US have tried Twitter and left. 100, 200, 300, 400 million users. They didn’t really have any growth in usage or number between about 2012 and 2021, 22. Now, a lot of that was management was bad, but there’s something wrong with the product where it was so toxic and it was so argumentative and so many people tried it for a while and then would leave. So that’s kind of how I always thought about it. Half broken product, part of it clearly awesome, part of it problematic. shaky but potentially really attractive business model and it’s a standalone business. It’s not part of something else. Okay. So when Elon Musk took it over, I kind of took a stab at what I thought his plan was going to be and I think I kind of got it. I was pretty close I think. I said phase one he’s going to do cultural shock therapy because this thing, 51% of the problem was bad management. a lazy culture that can’t innovate. Forget innovating, they can’t do anything. You know, the edit button that they wanted to add, because everyone always tweets, and then you realize you have a typo in your tweet and you want to edit it. They worked on that for three to four years or something insane. Elon Musk did it in like six days. Right, there was no progress with that social network audience builder between 2012 and like 2020, it was flat. share price didn’t move, well, I mean, the market went up and down, but its performance didn’t. I mean, it was really like, 51% was management and then culture. So he comes in and you can’t fix it. Well, one, you fire all the management, which he did. Like literally the day he got there, you’re all gone, go. And then the cultural aspects, the organizational aspects, you really can’t. do that gently. If you’re gonna transform the culture, you have to really do shock therapy. And I think that’s what he did. I think he went in and was so crazy. You know, we’re working 10 p.m. at night on Saturdays, everyone’s here. That the crazy people like him all thought it was great and they all stayed with him at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. And then a lot of people got fired. And the other people, most people just left on their own because they didn’t want to be part of this. 3G Capital is famous for doing this sort of shock therapy to management and culture. Okay, so that was sort of step one. Step two, stabilize the finances. This thing was losing money. Advertisers were under sort of political pressure and other things. He seems to have done that pretty quickly. Got rid of a lot of staff, slash and burn. He’s recently said it’s getting close to operating break even. Right now it’s probably there. Okay, that was kind of phase, we’ll call that step one. Step two, you’ve got to start addressing the real problem, which is to fix the product. Fix the product, how do you make 10 times more people use it than before? You don’t want to fix it 20%. How do you go from a couple hundred million users to a billion? That means you got to fix the product, and while you’re doing that, You’ve got to grow the revenue because the revenue streams are shaky. The two things he appears to be doing in that regard. One, he’s making lots of little changes to the product all the time. Like every day they’re making fixes and upgrades and they’re testing, which is the way you do it. Iterate, iterate, iterate. But the two big levers he seems to be pulling are video and payment. that if you want to increase your users and your usage, short video is the, you know, that’s it. Right. It’s the most addictive product on the internet. So that’s why everyone’s doing it. Reels, WeChat jumped into it. So shift into video and then payment. Try and get payment in there as soon as possible for two reasons. One, it opens up the door to doing e-commerce. just like WeChat Pay enabled the mini programs. But two, it’s also probably your quickest way to get more revenue, because as soon as people, I mean, you get immediate revenue when people start doing payment transactions, you get cash immediately. So video and payment seemed to be like the big things he was focusing on, I think that’s still what he’s focused on. And he sort of talks about this as a copy of WeChat. So he may go into mini programs later, but I think that’s kind of what he’s been doing. All right, that said, the business model, as I mentioned, structurally doesn’t compare with Facebook meta, it can’t. Nobody can really, maybe Google or Tencent maybe. ByteDance is maybe a serious competitor to them, structurally. Okay, so we move down the six levels of my little chart and we start looking not at structure, but we start looking at operating performance. Digital marathons. How fast are you at iterating? How good are you? I mean, does your team just run faster than the other team? Okay, look, you got a motorcycle and they got a car. Structurally, they are stronger than you. But are you just a better driver? You know, sometimes that can matter. Okay, maybe here, I mean, here’s my assessment. I think Meta Facebook is very good at operations. I think they took their core business model and grew that thing systematically year after year for the last 10 years. I think they remind me of Apple and Tim Cook. Steve Jobs was the innovator, the creator. He thought of everything. Once he passed and Tim Cook came on, they haven’t really invented anything, but Tim Cook is a very good operator. He was selling iPhones everywhere in the world. They’re more efficient. His supply chain is spectacular. He’s good at marketing. He’s very good at operations. That’s kind of how I view Facebook. They’re very good at operations. They don’t seem to be able to innovate at all. But maybe they don’t have to. I mean, you don’t have to be everything in life. They do seem to be good at M&A. So whenever they launch something new, it’s usually by copying somebody or acquiring someone. They acquired WhatsApp, they acquired Instagram, they copied Snap, they’ve copied TikTok, which is kind of coming along. They’re good at copying, so that’s kind of what they’re doing. I mean, this is in their strike zone. They’re not inventing anything new, they’re just basically cut and pasting Twitter, copying it. So yeah, I think they can do this, and they’re good at operations in that sense. Okay, that said. Elon Musk is a world-class innovator. I mean, he’s arguably as good as anyone ever gets at creating new things in this world. So when he says, I’m going into video, and when Mark Zuckerberg said, we’re going into short video and we’re going into payment, I was kind of skeptical. I mean, one, you kind of missed the boat on that. When Elon Musk says, I’m gonna go into video and payment. I’m like, okay, he’s probably gonna do it. If this guy can land rockets, he can probably do videos. And he can probably get payment in there. Okay, so he’s a world-class innovator, product development, fine. He does have access to capital. If he has a new idea and he restructures and he raises capital, he can make moves in the capital markets. Like, I mean… he can probably raise as much money as he ever wants. Who isn’t gonna put money with him? So his ability to innovate, his ability to raise capital, his ability to build partnerships and do M&A, if his company, Twitter, is too small as a standalone entity, it might be that we need to partner up and become, this thing is better as a feature in something else. as opposed to a standalone business model that’s dependent on its own revenue and profits. That might be the right answer. So we’ll get to the end here. My summation, if this is about structure, and as Twitter exists today, then I think threads beats Twitter. I think they’ve got a stronger business model. I think they’re very good at operations and I think they’re copying this thing effectively just like they’ve done with Snap and TikTok. However, Elon Musk is the wild card. If he goes on a innovation marathon, where he starts changing what Twitter is all the time. and he keeps making it better and more interesting and merging it up with something else and launching videos and launching payments. If he changes what Twitter fundamentally is, then I think he can do quite well. Because Facebook will be copying something that’s not really what people want anymore. And in digital behavior, media, content, the game does change all the time. So. If he goes on a digital marathon in innovation, hence the third concept for today, and he dramatically transforms Twitter over the next one to two to three years, and he keeps doing it, he could do quite well. And there’s certain individuals that can do that. And that reminds me a little bit of like Microsoft and Steve Jobs. Like Microsoft always had a better business model, Bill Gates did. But Steve Jobs, you know, later in his life was so good at creating new stuff. that he just did well anyways. Anyways that’s kind of how I see it. So you know I named my books motes and marathons. This is a competition between a mote and a marathon. That’s how I view it. Now here’s what I think is the good news because I really like Twitter because of its commitment to free speech which threads clearly does not have. They are already censoring people at will. not for being wrong, that’s what they’ll say, just for having something that goes against whatever the narrative happens to be. That’s my opinion of what goes on. Now here’s the good news. This doesn’t look like a winner-take-all game. It really doesn’t. Slack versus Microsoft was a winner-take-all because it was kind of a utility. It was an undifferentiated service. There’s no reason to have an alternative to WhatsApp. WhatsApp is better than a smaller competitor because it has a network effect. It connects you with more people. A smaller competitor can’t really differentiate across any dimensions that a user would care about. It’s just a utility. Well, entertainment content, there’s, there’s room to differentiate, um, in the user experience. And I think that’s interesting for Twitter versus threads. Um, And then you have to ask, well, differentiate for who? Which user group? Are we talking about differentiation for readers and users, content consumers? Well, clearly people on Twitter care about freedom of speech. And I think there is a, in my opinion, there is a widely accepted view that Twitter is free speech and Facebook is not. It’s actively censored. for whatever reason as far as I can tell. So that could be a point of differentiation. It might be a point of differentiation more for another user group, which is content creators. Content creators, let’s say independent journalists, the Matt Taibes, the Glenn Greenwalds, people like this, they do not wanna build on Facebook because they’ve been so actively censored and deplatformed. And one of the first things Elon Musk did when he took over Twitter was reactivate the accounts of a lot of these independent journalists who got disappeared. So content creators may care about that more than anyone. So there’s a point of differentiation that may matter. We’ll see. And then you could say the same thing about advertisers in the opposite direction. Advertisers like censorship because they don’t want their ads next to stuff, whether it’s pornography or whatever. So the advertisers may far prefer threads. So anyways, you wanna think about differentiation of service for each individual user group and then we’ll see how it plays out. A lot of people talk about sort of privacy and freedom of speech. I care about them. I’ve come to accept that a lot of people, maybe most people, don’t care. Like privacy is always talked about. Oh my God, privacy. You know, Facebook is selling all your information, which is not really true. It’s selling advertising services. You know, and this violates privacy. And all the numbers have shown for 15 years. Most people don’t care. They just don’t. The people who talk online a lot care about this, but the numbers don’t move. Every time there’s a big scandal at Facebook, the user numbers don’t move. So we’ll see. So I kind of have a, for surveillance and privacy, I think most people don’t care in practice. They care about convenience and other things, and they’re living their lives. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that they’re going to work and they’re taking care of their kids, and they’re just not in that discussion. I suspect freedom of speech runs much deeper than that, but we’re gonna find out. So that will be kind of one of the things we’ll see. How does that, Clearly threads is not going to be a freedom of speech location and Twitter is as loudly positioning itself there as possible. So we’re actually going to see some numbers on who cares about that and who doesn’t. Anyways, that’s where it is today. I really like Twitter. I think it’s just fun. I have to, I do sort of post like argumentative stuff. I have to stop doing that. It’s really a stupid thing to do. But it is fun. And we’ll see what happens. All right, and that is sort of the content for today. The three concepts for today. Audience builder platforms, super important. Think about how that interacts with social networks, which are really, the audience builder is the business model that is built on the key intangible asset, which is the social network. That’s how I view it. Communication like WhatsApp, I view that as a service built on the same asset. Okay, complementary platforms and linked business models. It’s a super important thing in the digital world and as traditional businesses go digital because what digital lets you do is create connections between things that used to be separate. So this idea of linked businesses and complementary platforms, I think it’s a big deal going forward. It’s my favorite business model, full stop. Third concept for today, the Smile Digital Marathon’s rate of innovation as a dimension of competition where you can build a sustainable operating advantage versus a competitor over time. That’s how I view it. Okay, that is the three concepts for today and that’s it for the content. Anyways. I really like this subject. I’m gonna dig more into this one. I feel like this was like they threw a ball right across the center of the plate for me on this one. As for me, I’m sitting in an apartment in Belgrade, Serbia. It is an absolutely beautiful day. I’ve got this kind of cool place. I’m staying with a balcony with sort of plants overlooking the park. I’ve been here a couple of days. I was in Germany. giving a talk which was really great. Just two days in Stuttgart. It was really pleasant. I had a great time and thank you for those of you who were there. Drew, Claudio, Jonathan. It was a real pleasure. It was really a privilege to be part of what you’re doing there at the company and your digital strategies. I won’t mention the company of course. But yeah, thank you for that. That was a real pleasure. I enjoyed it. And then I flew out to Belgrade because I’m floating around Europe for a couple of weeks. Um, and I kind of wanted to check out Belgrade and Serbia. Um, I hadn’t really spent any time here. Um, kind of a great place. It’s not really a tourist place. Like it’s not, there’s not huge tourist attractions, but it’s really kind of a pleasant place to be very green, obviously in the summer and people are super friendly. Um, If you go online and look up tourism in Serbia, what you’ll hear about is smoking. That is the… Oops, sorry, my phone’s going off here. What you’ll hear is people complain about the smoking, which yes people smoke a lot. There’s some graffiti, it doesn’t really bother. You know what bothers me? I’m going to say bother. What I notice is the jorts. Like half the adult men of Serbia seem to wear jean shorts all the time. Which, I’m sorry, it looks ridiculous to me. It looks like an eight-year-old. boy is wearing this. There’s jorts everywhere. That’s all I notice when I walk around. But apart from that, it’s really great fun. So I’m enjoying that a lot. I’m heading out to Budapest tomorrow, then into Bucharest and up into Transylvania a couple days, and then I’ll probably head back into Germany after that. So anyways, it’s gonna be a great couple weeks and then yeah, we’ll see. Okay so that is it for me. I hope everyone is doing well. As you can hear, I got a call coming up in a couple minutes. That’s what that alarm was for. Anyways that’s it for me and I will talk to you next week. Bye bye.
I write, speak and consult about how to win (and not lose) in digital strategy and transformation.
I am the founder of TechMoat Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that helps retailers, brands, and technology companies exploit digital change to grow faster, innovate better and build digital moats. Get in touch here.
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