Why can't Twitter actually ship anything?


Hey! It's been a busy summer, so I've been sending this less than I would like, but I'm back on deck this week with a full edition.

A special piece of news: today marks a year since I launched re:Charged, my daily briefing service, and having written 208 briefings totaling hundreds of thousands of words, it's been a wild journey that I've been lucky enough to go on with many of you. I'm impressed there's so much to say about the industry, but given the state of media, there really is!

If you haven't tried it, to celebrate the anniversary I've got a special deal for you: 50% off the first two months of briefings. Just sign up with the code 'charged-weekly' and you'll be the best informed in our industry! 

More fun features will drop into testing soon, including chatbot subscriptions, story streams and a bunch of others, so now's the time to jump in. Your subscription supports the weekly newsletter's existence, and my ability to keep writing daily.

Thanks again for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoy this week's edition!
πŸ’Œ Owen


Twitter's nightmare

In the social media space, Twitter is a strange outlier. It's spent the better part of the entire time it's existed grappling with understanding where it fits against Facebook, Instagram, Snap and a host of competitors. At the same time, it's remained largely the same and growth has stagnated.

Yet again, the company has faced something of a reckoning in the last few weeks as it figures out what it wants to be in the long term. As drama unfolded with Infowars leading Apple, Facebook, Google and others to block Alex Jones from their services, Twitter dug in its heels and refused to do the same.

Days later, as the furor over the decision reached its peak, CEO Jack Dorsey told The Washington Post that he's "rethinking the core of how Twitter works" as a result, a platitude that the company has repeatedly uttered year after year without actually doing anything truly substantial.

On the very same week, Twitter began cutting off access to third-party developers like Tweetbot, a change which has long been signaled by the company as it attempts to get users to use its own apps instead. 

Naturally, the majority of third-party Twitter app users are the earliest on the service, and happen to be the noisiest as well. Just two percent of users reportedly actively log in with a third-party app, but the outrage felt palpable as the shutdown happened.

For Twitter, the reality is that it's long struggled to move forward because of a reluctance to upset that loyal, loud, early user base. Third-party apps were great in the beginning for the service, and have quickly become a liability as Twitter struggled to monetize the service, then with rolling out valuable changes, like in-stream discovery, that made it more approachable.

Over the years, Twitter has spent massive amounts of effort on appeasing developers, often at the expense of the core platform, and it seems like those days are over: developers can't emulate the core app anymore. People are protesting the shift on #BreakingMyTwitter, but the ability to focus by doing this, in my opinion, is a good move for the service's health.

The question that's left today is whether or not Jack Dorsey is able to be decisive enough to actually initiate the changes he detailed. I've heard from friends at the company that new ideas are debated to death, simply because Dorsey is unwilling to come down on a side.

According to those friends, many great features have died this way, despite being close to shipping. Ideas are built, then debated to death, in the same way that the company has managed the platform in cases similar to Infowars, ultimately resulting in the feature stagnation we've seen to date.

It feels like this debate appears year in and out, and little changes, but just maybe this time it'll be different.

🌎 Jack Dorsey says he's rethinking how Twitter works [Washington Post]


Around the web

🍎 ARM unveils laptop-class CPU roadmap (interesting timing given the Apple rumors)

πŸ€” Google CEO says it's "not close" to returning to China

πŸ’° Nvidia says crypto GPU demand has dissolved

πŸš— Elon Musk details an 'excruciating' year 


Technology moves fast, and it's hard to keep up. RE:Charged is my weekday briefing for busy people who want to know about the technology industry, but don't have time to read news sites. Get the TL;DR, on your way to work.

Recently I've launched new features, including real-time chat! Join 370 others in our budding community and sign up here today. πŸ’Œ


Why can't Europe do tech?

Interesting piece at Bloomberg on Europe's long held struggle to become a technology juggernaut. I'd argue that many of the reasons Europe has struggled, having seen this first hand, is because often startups here solve hyper-local problems, and it's hard to scale across borders here due to language barriers, cultural differences, and legislation.

🌎 Read on Bloomberg


Other great reads

Finding It Hard to Focus? Maybe It’s Not Your Fault (NYT)

What hypergiant VC rounds tell us about startup market fear (Yahoo Finance)

Why Facebook is losing the war on hate speech in Myanmar (Reuters)


Ultra-smooth desktop recording

I've been looking for an easy way to film my desktop, and my webcam, at the same time and Loom finally nails the experience in terms of just making it so easy to make a screencast that you actually do it. Big fan, and the way their embeds work with emoji reactions is just so slick.

🌎 Loom


Thanks for reading! You're a part of a community of 15,000 others getting the best in tech news every week.