Is Snap the peak of the social media hill?
After the company's Q2 earnings, it actually looks like we've reached the end of the social media behemoth age. Snapchat's active user base is shrinking, even as it pulls out all the stops to grow it, with a new design (which didn't go well), and other new features.
Snap's Q2 results were actually strong, at least in terms of cash, which makes this all the more strange. It pulled in 44 percent more cash than last year's same quarter, and narrowed its losses by 22 percent, but daily active users pulled it down: the company lost three million users this quarter.
Yeah, in one quarter.
It seems that Snap faces many of the same woes that Facebook is right now, and the same problems Twitter came up against in recent years: the new users simply aren't there, and we're unlikely to see billion people-sized networks pop up again.
Perhaps this isn't such a bad thing, and these companies made a mistake. Both Twitter and Snapchat irreparably tied their earnings, and how the public market values them, to the active user metric, one that doesn't really tell anyone anything. That number looks great on paper at first, but as time has proven repeatedly, is hard to move the needle on long-term.
Strangely enough, Snap had better numbers to focus on in the first place. It touted one of the highest time-spent numbers in the industry in 2017 for its users, about 49 minutes per day in the US. By focusing on the daily active user number, it's trained investors to measure the company on that alone, despite any improvement it might make elsewhere.
There's a few things I'm optimistic about for Snap long-term. First, there's the play that it's the antithesis to the Facebook's of the world, and it's been doubling down on that secure, private angle for a few months now.
Second, the company's developer platform is in its earliest phases and could be a boon for similar reasons. If they could turn 'login with Snap' into a real, appealing platform and somehow convince developers to embed the Snap camera into their native apps, it would be a huge opportunity to bolster those numbers.
Why this matters: Snap has time, and cash on hand to play this out. What it doesn't have is the patience of investors, who appear to grow tired of technology companies trotting out giant numbers, promising to be the next Facebook.
It needs to convince people that maybe that daily active users number isn't as important as they think, and I believe we'll see them push to downplay it going forward.
P.S - Snap took on $250M from a Saudi Prince, and I don't have a take so much as questions: Uber did the same in 2017, and it seems like this is what you do when US investors are scared away.
Salesforce got a co-CEO: Keith Block
Marc Benioff will share the role of CEO with Keith Block, making official something that the company says has been the reality of running the company for some time. Lots of questions about whether or not this will change the company's pace, or if Benioff will shrink into the background, but I doubt it.
Slack is raising more cash - $400M
*slaps roof of bank account* This bad boy can fit so much damn investor capital in it.
Firefox wants to recommend your next click
I love the recommendations in the Firefox new tab page, but this is next level: Firefox is building a machine-learning experiment that analyzes what you're reading right now, and tries to recommend good stuff to read next. This sounds like distraction hell, but also pretty interesting for discovering things on the internet again.