Are investors too quick to condemn tech companies that don't deliver on high expectations?
Imagine you run a company that’s growing revenues at a nearly 50% clip, to the tune of more than $700 million in the fourth quarter alone. Well over 300 million people use your product each month, and though that number isn’t growing, your sales team has been convincing customers that a new kind of ad product—in this case related to video—is worth spending more money on. Your company loses money, as you’ve expected, but it lost considerably less last quarter than in the year-earlier period.
You might be pretty happy to find yourself in that situation, which just happens to be Jack Dorsey’s reality. It’s unlikely that Dorsey, CEO of Twitter twtr , is too happy though, because investors and critics are so focused on that lack of user growth they can’t consider anything else.
Twitter is so unloved that its stock is down more than 70% from its high. Then again, it’s now worth a cool $10 billion. That’s not bad for a fledgling company that loses money, has a confusing product, suffers from comparisons to competitors Google goog and Facebook fb , and isn’t growing its user base.
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It’s just the latest example of the surreal nature of the markets and the tech world. Any company in any other industry would be dancing for joy if it could grow year-over-year revenues by 50% without adding new users. Most companies in any other industry would be delighted to have a $10 billion valuation on a little over $3 billion in annual sales and no profits.
What’s more, there some evidence Twitter is righting its ship. It is pushing a dynamic video streaming product, Periscope. It has begun presenting tweets users missed when they were logged off. It’s “human-curated” Moments feature may be gaining traction.
Silicon Valley is too quick to write off yesterday’s cool kid who hasn’t kept up. That’s fine when financial results have gone south—think of Zynga znga —or when a company is trying all sorts of things that simply aren’t working. (Yahoo yhoo comes to mind.)
Twitter’s shakeup could be good for Jack Dorsey.
Twitter is not done. Nor is it done growing. Imagine that opportunity.