Jul 122015

New York Times writer Nick Bilton delves into Twitter’s search for a new CEO and comes up with a left of field conclusion – the company doesn’t actually know what it is.

Twitter has certainly been casting around to define itself, particularly after its stock market listing that saw it valued at over twenty billion dollars.

Bilton flags one reason why management is so uncertain about their company’s identity, that it’s directors don’t use the service themselves.

As I see it, the problems at Twitter come down to a lack of leadership and a micromanaging board.

And the churn is constant: many of its founders, chief executives, numerous product directors and other top brass have been fired or pushed out. Three of the eight positions on the current board belong to Mr. Dorsey and the former chief executives. About half of the board barely tweets.

The lack of social media credibility on the board raises another issue about how much direct industry expertise should a company’s directors have. While it’s almost certainly not desirable to have insiders dominate a board certainly some, if not the majority, of directors should have some experience in the industries the company operates in.

For Twitter though they desperately need to define the business and what its valuation really is. Even more pressing is to show how the platform differs from Facebook as the confusion of investors, users and advertisers isn’t helping.

Ultimately as Bilton suggests the direction of a business is determined by the board, it’s time Twitter found at least a few directors who at least use social media, if not have some understanding and experience in the business.

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