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Twitter, Déjà Vu Titanic All Over Again

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There is a reason for training: so that the mind and/or body respond reflexively, without conscious direction, when a situation occurs.

Way back when many/most of you weren't even born (yes, THAT long ago :)) I was in Naval officer training, as Officer of the Watch (and Navigating Officer - multitasking is a training given) I had brought 'my' ship through a narrow winding channel to within sight of proposed anchorage... to see the entire bay filled with log booms... oops, no anchorage. As I was deciding on which alternative was best (it felt as if an entire slideshow was flipping past faster than I could read) the Captain decided that distraction was in order.
* man overboard (drill: dummy overboard).
At least this turned the ship back away from the covered anchorage... (grasping at silver linings)
Half way through manoeuvre...

* main steering failure (drill: not allowed to use main but coxswain stands ready in case of silly bugger trainee).
On top of it (iamlost but iamgood!) but the time to get secondary (and very slow responding) steering operational takes ship well past second man over board recovery turn...
Adjustments on the fly...I could feel my mind over-revving...
Crew reports secondary steering engaged...

* fire in the galley (drill: no no no CO2 release :)).
No problem. The right orders just cracked out.
I was feeling an out of body high, felt like I was watching someone else making all the right moves, exhilarating.

I made the mistake of looking at the Captain and smiling. And...
He put his hat over the gyro-compass repeater...
* gyro-compass failure.
I imploded at this fourth (anchorage gone being first) sequential complication. My high evaporated instantaneously, my stomach fell into some black hole, and my mind went absolutely blank. I just stood there (it seemed like forever but I was told after just a few seconds) looking at the Captain while he now smiled at me...

I reached out, picked his hat off the gyro-repeater, handed it to him and said: Gyro repaired, sir. And with that problem 'solved' worked my way properly through all.
Note: in the debriefing that night I got told that while my demeanour, behaviour, responses, and competence had been generally outstanding I was never ever again to fix a gyro by hat removal. :)

Besides patting the much younger me on the back why this story?
After mentioning the reason for training?

Because Olivier Blanchard just published How to fix Twitter (and not just Twitter), 25-January-2016.

Note: bold emphasis is mine.

Today, we are going to look at what it takes to start saving a company like Twitter. This post is going to be about process, about method, about actionable insights that can be applied not only to Twitter but to other companies struggling with the same types of obstacles.
To understand why we are even having this discussion, here’s a quick recap: Twitter is in trouble. The once immensely popular social platform has stopped attracting new users. Worse yet, many of Twitter’s existing users have all but abandoned Twitter to spend time on other platforms...
Twitter has been trying to extricate itself from this seeming death spiral in all the usual ways: 1) Layoffs. 2) Making “big” (but superficial) changes, like pushing the 160 character limit to 10,000 characters, for example. And now, we have entered phase 3: The big shakeup at the top.
At the core of the problem is the simple, basic fact that Twitter isn’t attracting people like it used to. Every single problem that Twitter is currently trying to fix is rooted in that one fact. And unless Twitter figures out how to get people to come back, character limits and layoffs and big shakeups won’t really matter a whole lot.
So to get anywhere, you have to ask the right questions. To ask the right questions, you have to start at the beginning:
1. What’s the problem? People aren’t coming here anymore.
2. Why aren’t they coming here anymore? Because they don’t care anymore.
3. Why don’t they care anymore? Because a) we aren’t giving them a reason to, and b) other companies are.
4. Why don’t people care about our company or product anymore? Tip: (It isn’t because users want their tweets to be 10,000 characters long, or because they want a broader menu of story formats.)
Here are your two fundamental questions. Until you can answer them, you’re screwed, so figure it out.
1. Why does Twitter exist?
2. Why does Twitter matter?
(Feel free to replace Twitter with any company.)
Note that we are talking about actual purpose and relevance here, not mantras and mission statements. Why is your company here? What purpose does it serve? (If you can’t answer that, how do you expect your customers and users to know?)

Once you’ve solved that piece of the puzzle, here is the next set of questions:
1. What problem does (or could) Twitter solve?
2. How does (or could) Twitter solve it better or more elegantly than other companies?
3. How does Twitter make (or could make) itself indispensable to its users?
If you can answer those three questions, you can take it from there. You won’t be out of the ditch quite yet, but you’ll know how to get out of it, and where to go once you are.

He put into words what I had been feeling/thinking reading about Twitter's thrashing about. If you've gone through a company 'near death experience' aka training you have training aka experience to guide you the next time; if not, you need to step back, take a deep breath, and get back to basics - much as Olivier lays out. The thrashing Twitter aka Twitter's CEO is doing is hastening it's death (the sharks to thrashing come to feast...).

Just as media especially news organisations dumping all their talent is strangling them. They are NOT asking the right questions, they ARE throwing the baby out with the bath water. And if it weren't so tragic I'd be howling with laughter at the comedic errors after errors after errors by one and all; instead the tears are of sorrow and the howls are of agony...

It's not rocket science, you idjits!

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Well I don't think righting the ship (business fortunes) is all that easy. Also I'm one of those former users who rarely goes to twitter any more. Lost interest. Can't say that I saw it as "VITAL" but it was fun and interesting and for a period it filled my "news" with posts from people who taught me or informed me of things going on. Plus I found it fun.


In any case in terms of trying to "right the ship" here is an interesting tidbit of news from a business that has been around for a while ...McDonald's. For years sales per store had been dropping. Not a good sign at all. They made all sorts of changes. Nothing worked.


Customers had been telling them for years to do something "different". They resisted. Said they couldn't do it.


They finally responded to customer calls...and same store sales have been DRAMATICALLY UP!!! All as a result of listening to their customers. It all has to do with making egg mcmuffins and breakfast sandwiches an all day item Ha....egg mcmuffins. Egg sandwiches...egg and meat sandwiches...egg cheese and meat sandwiches. Cripes McDonald's basically invented this food group.


Listen to your customers. It is one way to try and turn things around. Its not the only way and its not a guarantee at all, or you could listen to the wrong customers, etc. but it is one way to turn things around.


Of course some idjit might suggest to twitter they offer egg sandwiches to tweeple. Probably a bad idea.

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Of course some idjit might suggest to twitter they offer egg sandwiches to tweeple

Or maybe offer "Tweety Bird" sandwiches. Sylvester would just be just lovin' it. He spent his whole life wanting one. :)


re McDonald's. Being a late riser that was always my beef with them. 11:00 AM and no breakfast available.

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re McDonald's. Being a late riser that was always my beef with them. 11:00 AM and no breakfast available.


They adjusted just for you. What is the term for egg mcmuffin in Quebec? "le greasy american sandwich"??


(btw: I love Quebec city...but in the summer....;) and I've been "corrected" for my "French french" ) Its okay...such a great city.

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The menu item is Oeuf McMuffin. but folks just say "un McMuffin" which, as in English, means egg McMuffin. The rest you specify.


and I've been "corrected" for my "French french"

Oh and I have been reprimanded too. Some are just like that. (I could say some naughty things here and usually do) .....and you could not pick out my spoken French in a crowd. You would need a really trained ear. Most are surprised to hear I am really anglophone.

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Well getting back to the opening post and its reference to twitter and "how to right the ship"....I don't necessarily think its easy. I believe the questions "getting back to underlying reasons for twitter are indeed worthwhile questions for twitter, let alone any organization.


On a second note I was scrolling through twitter this morn after reading the opening post and also looking at tweets from tweeps I followed over the years, some active in local SEO; They have "cut back" It appears peeps in at least one area have found other places to communicate. But that is just one tiny topic.


....and as to Mickey D's. Breakfast sandwiches leads the way back to popularity. It just struck me funny and interesting. I never would have thought of it...I have been a mcmuffin and eater of other such sandwiches for years....I had no idea the customers were telling mickey D's to run them all day, and that mickey D's wasn't listening...and boom they do that and their sales go up.


Just interesting all the way around. And nice to know I can get a an Oeuf McMuffin any time of the day. Now that is worthwhile news!!!! :D

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