Three Things (July 15th)

Thursday, Jul 15th 2021

Commentary

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” - William Shakespeare

1) Twitter shuts down Fleets just eight months after official launch, as the company struggles to drive higher user engagement

Twitter is shutting down Fleets, after consistently low product usage. Fleets, which featured Instagram Story-like disappearing content, was Twitter’s latest attempt to encourage more users to actively tweet rather than just consume content, something the company has struggled to execute. Having more products on a platform allows a company to offer a greater pool of advertising inventory, which ultimately drives revenue. Twitter must drive higher user engagement to bring its ARPU closer to the levels of other social media platforms. We will continue to monitor Twitter’s ability to gain traction around this critical KPI.

2) The New York Times has hired a new CTO to help drive subscription growth

Jason Sobel will become the new Chief Technology Officer at The New York Times (NYT, a holding in Titan’s Opportunities portfolio), as the company seeks to develop its technology platform and increase its subscriber base. Sobel has an impressive track record of success at Facebook and Quantifind, and most recently serving as the Head of Infrastructure at Airbnb. With 7 million current subscribers, NYT believes Sobel can accelerate growth by improving search functionality and the overall user experience on the platform. We are encouraged by this announcement, as part of our NYT thesis is predicated on the belief of upside in subscriber growth. Sobel will need some time to implement his architectural plans, after which we expect to see both an acceleration in subscriber growth as well as ARPU improvement.

3) Microsoft’s release of Windows 365 brings PCs to the cloud, as Nadella’s leadership keeps innovation apace

Microsoft, held in Titan’s Flagship portfolio, will now allow users to access its Windows 10 or 11 environments from any web browser instead of having its operating system tied to a single endpoint. The Cloud PC will be powered by the Azure Virtual Desktop, enabling businesses and enterprises to scale processing power as needed while providing for seamless workflows. This development should open access to virtualized services, which are critical for hybrid work environments. We continue to be pleased with Microsoft’s pace of innovation and consistent focus on removing frictions for users. Satya Nadella’s visionary leadership and ability to execute gives us confidence that Microsoft will continue to compound value as a leading technology company.

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