Welcome to the New Insider Lite

by Dave Michels

Welcome to the new Insider Lite, the free TalkingPointz email/newsletter/post subscription. The previous version was hosted on Revue — a Twitter-owned newsletter service that Elon has discontinued. This new format is integrated with TalkingPointz.com. The free subscription will include some original content, some content from prior editions of the full Insider Reports, and some interesting links. 

This new newsletter has not been tested. If all goes well, it will appear as a regular post on TalkingPoitnz, and be emailed to subscribers. Not all content on TalkingPointz will be mailed – only Insider Lite content (and of course full TalkingPointz Insider Reports are sent to subscribers). 

Let’s Start with Twitter Going to Shit

Cory Doctorow wrote a great post called TikTok’s Enshittification (it was also picked up by Wired as Cory publishes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license). The post is about how platforms like TikTok die. He validates his position by examining failures at other sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. I don’t care much about TikTok, but found his points about Twitter to be particularly relevant. 

Enshittification is Cory’s term to describe how inevitable lifecycle shifts cause a platform to change its priorities. Platforms start by attracting users, then shift to attracting vendors or suppliers, and begin their death march when they focus on shareholders. 

Twitter has always operated under a simple concept: You will see interesting content if you follow interesting people. Individuals effectively control the content they see by following and unfollowing. Twitter has accelerated its enshittification journey by changing that premise to favor monetization goals. We no longer get to see the stuff we wanted to see, instead we see the stuff that Twitter wants us to see. 

Cory says he used to get “hundreds of thousands or even millions of reads” on his tweets, and it has declined to hundreds. I’ve seen a significant drop in reach on my Twitter feed, too. Last week, I made nearly identical posts at the same time on Twitter and LinkedIn. I got three times the impressions on LinkedIn, yet I have five times the followers on Twitter.  

“Thanks to its ‘monetization’ changes, the majority of people who follow you will never see the things you post.” Twitter is now in the curation business, and that’s heavily influenced by its algorithm which appears to be influenced by cash. It’s similar to how Amazon has modified its search results for shoppers and how Facebook has modified what appears in a user’s feed. This is how one monetizes the attention economy. 

Content creators are not helpless. If they want to boost the reach of their content, they can purchase a Twitter Blue check mark for $8/mo — though greater reach is only implied. Cory says the enshittification manual also calls for lock-in. Twitter has banned third-party clients and banned users from promoting their IDs and content on competitive services such as Mastodon. You are free to go, but your network stays. Presumably, the problem with Revue was that it lived/thrived off of the Twitter platform. 

@EvanKirstel bought the blue mark, and he’s seeing a drop in interaction on Twitter, too.@ArnoldJon, who tracks his mentions monthly, reports they are dropping each month. I think Peak Twitter is behind us. 

The manual also says that enshittification should not occur too quickly. If you do it slowly enough, you can retain most users. Doctorow writes: “The villagers of Anatevka in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ tolerated the Cossacks’ violent raids and pogroms for years, until they were finally forced to flee.”

From the last Insider Report

Leadership Changes: The new year kicks off with lots of leadership adjustments. Lumen Technologies announced that Ashley Haynes-Gaspar joined the company as EVP Customer Success, Wholesale and International. Zoom Video Communications announced that it has appointed Cindy Hoots, of AstraZeneca, as an independent director on its Board. Neat expanded its leadership team to include Todd Meister, who joins the company as Chief Operating Officer. Real-time call reporting and business insights provider Akixi announced that Mike Wilkinson joined as Chief Product & Marketing Officer (CPMO). Phonism welcomed Marc Tribbe as Chief Product Officer and James Lee as Chief Operating Officer.

Layoffs: The R-word keeps coming up. Many vendors are lowering their guidance. Lower projections call for smaller budgets, and that means layoffs. Remember that whole Great Resignation thing? Those were the days. During the boom of the pandemic, many were frustrated that big companies benefited more than small companies, but this so-called “correction” is less selective. Salesforce, Amazon, and Alphabet are leading the pack. 

Salesforce expects to cut 7K jobs, about 10% of its workforce. It appears it’s attempting to undo some acquisition gain. Tableau (acquired for $15.7B in 2019) was hit very hard. I hear Slack (acquired for $27.7B in 2021) is being hit hard, too, but haven’t seen the numbers. We did see that Slack’s highly trumpeted post-acquisition growth slowed from 9.3% in Q2 to 6.9% in Q3. “Are customers really likely to base their office chat decision on their existing CRM system?” – The Register

I take no pleasure in writing that Peak Slack is behind us as I wanted to see Slack succeed. Everyone I know that has experience with Slack and Teams considers Slack the better designed solution. But Microsoft is very good at targeting IT decision-makers, and bean counters love a “free” bundle. 

The fit with Salesforce is not proving itself. Layoffs, combined with the recent losses of its Salesforce Champion (Bret) and Visionary (Stewart), may be too much. I fear Slack will be lucky to be a footnote in Teams’ autobiography. There are also some great campfire stories to tell the kids about Cisco Spark and Unify Circuit. 

For Amazon, the company now expects to cut 18K employees, though few, if any, in AWS. Excluding AWS, Amazon lost $8.1B in the first nine months of 2022. While that’s a big number, it was offset by the $26B it generated in ad revenue. The Alexa team is getting hit particularly hard. The company reported billions in losses at Alexa. Turns out speak-to-shop isn’t a big hit, although the Lex tech is being leveraged in AWS. Inquiring minds want to know how that NFL investment paid off. 

Recent Content: 

The next full Insider Report will have notes from the recent CCA conference, ISA notes, more on Mitel/Atos, CCaaS + GPT, It will likely publish in early Feb due to travel, The goal is every 3 weeks or so.

I am heading to ISE and look forward to getting updates on the latest video/meeting gear.