It’s not all about Elon Musk. Ben Thompson has made variations of this argument on Stratechery and Dithering, but I wanted to quote this segment from the Sharp Tech podcast where I thought Ben particularly nailed it:
Part of the irony of everyone getting upset about Elon Musk killing all the third-party Twitter apps is that that’s what Twitter’s management should have done a decade ago. If you’re going to go in that direction, go in that direction. Instead they didn’t have the guts to sort of follow through in their strategic decision to its logical endpoint.
I stopped posting to Twitter in 2012 exactly because of this strategy. I’ve said that Elon has greatly accelerated what was already the path for Twitter fading into silo irrelevance. I wish I could come up with a less violent analogy, but what comes to mind is Twitter leadership in 2012 loading the gun and pointing it at third-party apps, but it wasn’t until 2023 that anyone pulled the trigger.
Elon deservedly gets most of the blame for Twitter’s recent chaos. But I don’t think Twitter was going to last forever under any version of its clown car leadership over the last 15+ years. In the long run we will be thankful that Elon is effectively putting the company out of its misery. We’re going to see innovation on the open web as third-party developers realize they are the ones who have actually been given new life.
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