Unsolicited Feedback on Twitter/X's Outpouring of Product Changes and the Impact of YouTube Shorts on Its Core Business.
📢 Hey everyone! Welcome to Unsolicited Feedback! In our debut episode, co-hosts Brian Balfour and Fareed Mosavat discuss Twitter's creator monetization and enterprise verification offerings, as well as internal fears at YouTube that their YouTube Shorts feature will cannibalize their core longer-form content.
🐤 Let's start with Twitter/X (we’re still getting used to the new name…): 🐤
🔍 Twitter's recent releases include the Creator Monetization Offering and Enterprise Verification Offering.
👍 You cannot think your way out of a revenue gap. You have to ship your way out of it. Twitter used to be stagnant from a product perspective. Now, they are taking swings at filling revenue gaps. It is okay if some of these swings inevitably fail.
👎 However, experts have reservations about these offerings:
It seems that while Twitter was fighting Threads and its own inertia, LinkedIn ate Twitter's lunch - at least in the tech community. Why? Creator Monetization may have alienated creators who treat social as a business. Businesses need predictability, and Twitter's strategy has been anything but predictable. LinkedIn’s incentives are aligned with creator incentives and their product roadmaps remain predictable.
As Fareed says, "Cheaper but worse rarely wins. Free, but worse can win." Enterprise Verification is a filler feature, not a leader, and may not offer enough value for users to justify paying for it. Fareed notes that a leader feature is something that people pay for. It is the thing that attracts them to the paid product. Fillers are usually other things that increase the value of that product for you. For example, for Slack, message history is the leader feature, and advanced search and huddles are fillers. For Twitter, the ability to list jobs for a company is a filler, not a leader, and filler features when the same concept is a leader feature at a competitor is hard to charge for. Brian notes that this is why Hubspot made their CRM free, knowing it was a filler feature that wouldn't compete with Salesforce's leader feature CRM.
🩳 Now on to YouTube Shorts: 🩳
🐌 Internal friction errs toward the status quo. 🐌 If user behavior is flowing in a different direction, your time and energy are best spent understanding the new direction and moving yourself toward it.
🤷♂️ The YouTube Shorts hasn't made clear the problem it solves. 🤷♂️ It's easy to draw surface-level parallels between YouTube Shorts and Instagram Stories, but it's unclear the real problem that Shorts solves for YouTube. Stories solved a real problem for Instagram. It created a way to post without needing to achieve perfection.
✨ New product lines breathe new life into growth strategy. ✨ Ravi Mehta introduced the framework of Creation, Consumption, and Conversations for content and social platforms. You can try to optimize this as much as possible for your existing product, but eventually, your progress will plateau. Brian thinks YouTube figured this out with their core product. Both their move to premium with YouTube TV and their introduction of Shorts create completely new sets of loops to play with.
🪛 It will take time for YouTube creators to understand how to use Shorts. But when it happens, it stands to be powerful. 🪛 Right now, Shorts seems to be like copycat content from TikTok & Reels, rather than things YouTube creators make themselves. However, over time, Fareed expects the legacy YouTube creators to adapt to the new incentives created by Shorts.
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