Jack Dorsey, if you read this, I really think this idea could a great strategic development for Twitter!
I have had this idea for a while, and the more I think about it the more it makes sense. What Wall Street needs is a markets driven/focused twitter! Let me elaborate.
The Key Problems
The two biggest problems, as I see it, on Wall Street are: research reports/data points are becoming cumbersomely long, and distribution is terrible. Let’s look at these one at a time.
Reports are longer then they need to be, and there isn’t a very good summary point. What if we could force analysts to present their arguments in 140 characters or less? They could then link to the full report. This would solve a number of problems: firstly, institutions could easily track how many people are reading that particular report, which has always been a major problem. Also, individuals can gauge personal interest based off the summary, without having to spend 10-15 minutes diving into the full report.
Secondly, distribution is terrible. It’s hard to share reports other than forwarding it around, which is assuming in itself (you don’t KNOW if whoever you are sending it to wants to see it). Sharing hasn’t gone mobile yet – I need to rely on my reports being readable on my phone (from email), which is usually not the case. Additionally, it’s rarely real time – that’s the joke in research: “if it’s research, it’s history”. Wall Street hasn’t figured out how to take distribution mobile and live – and that’s where a twitter architecture comes in.
The Key Results
So, as with any solution, it’s important to understand the result’s it will bring about; here are what I see as the key benefits:
- Individual following: a lot of people who work on Wall Street talk about their following – this is a great way to quantify and track it. You can see who values any certain thought leader, essentially allowing you to create a social/thought graph
- Mobile distribution: like any app (even if its web based) it will allow people to take information sharing mobile – whether in the cab, on a flight, or at home – it’s always with you.
- Sharing: it makes it so much easier to share content you like – if I read a report on ABC stock that I love, instead of forwarding it to who I think is interested, I can simply post it – then anyone who is interested can read it and RE-post it – thus exponentially improving the share rate of good content
- Follow what you want: I can’t even comprehend how many emails a top Portfolio Manager must get… its mind blowing. This way rather than having the content pushed to them, they simply decide what they want – it’s amazing! They can reply to anyone they want to know more from, but it’s in their court now instead of the way it currently is where content is forced down their throats.
- Speed: rather than having to wait for something to come out, thoughts are shared a lot quicker. People can give feedback much quicker (“I think the S&P futures are going to start edging down…”)
- Event identification: the biggest crisis on a trading desk is when something starts to happen – let’s say shares in Apple start plummeting – what’s causing it?! Each stock symbol, sector, etc. could have its own individual hashtag (#AAPL), allowing anyone interested to immediately figure out what’s going on in the name.
You Can Monetize It
I know a lot of the problems Twitter face’s is monetization – how do you make money off it? Well the above model is extremely monetizable. Do you think Goldman would pay to have their analysts’ tweets promoted? Do you think Mutual Funds, ETF’s, etc. would pay to advertise on it? Of course – the more concentrated the audience, the more valuable the above services are.
Maybe, taking a leap of faith, that is the future business model for Twitter. They leave the mother ship (the existing Twitter) as is. Then, underneath that, they use the architecture that Twitter has developed to launch business/industry specific platforms- each specifically designed for a different field. The revenues generated at those subsidize the mother ship, and create a re venue stream for the business. But I digress…
To Infinity and Beyond
Now, take that model and branch it out over every industry – I think it’s possible. Why doesn’t the CPG industry have its own dedicated twitter? Why doesn’t film, advertising, or politics? If you are able to offer a particular silo a central (and non-contaminated/isolated) spot to share information, get informed of major news, and share thoughts, it provides huge value to members of that market – that’s what Twitter needs to do!