I wrote the post at the bottom and linked here when Elon Musk announced his intention to buy Twitter in late April. I am relieved that Musk has decided he does not want to own Twitter. I never thought he would be a good shepherd of the Twitter network and maybe now we have the opportunity to find a better ownership/governance model for it.
I understand why the Twitter Board and management team feel they must force Musk to perform on the agreed-upon deal. They have shareholders to protect and an obligation to do what is best for them. If Musk really does not want to own Twitter and is not just trying to renegotiate the deal, then eventually both sides will come to some settlement that enriches Twitter and lets Musk out of the deal. That will likely be a lot more than the $1bn breakup fee. I hope that we don’t end up with Musk owning Twitter at a lower price. That would be a bad outcome for the shareholders and for the Twitter network.
I would like to see the Twitter Board and management team continue to press Musk to perform on the deal, and at the same time start working on a plan to decentralize Twitter and move it to the thing it has always wanted to be which is a core communications protocol for the Internet. A first step in that direction would to broadly re-open the API and allow third-party clients to be built on Twitter with a business model that covers the costs of operating the Twitter network. Longer-term, Twitter should move to a fully decentralized protocol, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, but that will take some time to do.
When I read the news a few weeks ago that Elon Musk had offered to buy Twitter, I wrote this:
Twitter is too important to be owned and controlled by a single person. The opposite should be happening. Twitter should be decentralized as a protocol that powers an ecosystem of communication products and services.
— Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) April 14, 2022
I continue to believe that decentralization is the right long-term answer for a core communications protocol of the Internet and hope that Elon will think about doing just that once he owns it and is not concerned with the stock price and meeting quarterly revenue targets.
My partner Albert wrote this yesterday:
1 – restore full API access – anyone should be able to write a full client, including their own timeline algorithm (this could require a monthly subscription)
— Albert Wenger 🌎🔥⌛ (@albertwenger) April 25, 2022
Albert’s suggestion would return Twitter to where it was a decade and a half ago when it first launched and that would be a fantastic first step towards full decentralization.
I continue to believe that a single person owning one of the most important communications protocols of the internet is a bad idea, but maybe it can be a bridge to something better.
Certainly being a public company has not been the right ownership model to make the big fundamental changes which are badly needed.