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Twitter follows Microsoft’s lead and goes visionless
Why, oh why, do some of the world’s best organisations insist on pushing out inane and meaningless vision statements? Perhaps it’s because…
Why, oh why, do some of the world’s best organisations insist on pushing out inane and meaningless vision statements? Perhaps it’s because they have no vision about which to make a statement.
by Mark Wilson, Founder Partner, Wilson Fletcher
Back in July, I wrote a piece about being yourself, in response to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s ‘vision’ memo. The short recap: it was page after page of nothingness — no vision, and certainly no strategy. It was a whole bunch of industry in-words, in some semblance of an order, that was intended to inspire his organisation and unite an entire industry around his vision for Microsoft. I’d love to know whether anyone — within or without Microsoft — can remember anything he said.
Now Twitter has reached those same lofty heights, issuing a strategy statement that means absolutely nothing. Theirs is, at least, shorter; although ironically too long to tweet.
In Twitter’s own words, their vision is to:
“Reach the largest daily audience in the world by connecting everyone to their world via our information sharing and distribution platform products and be one of the top revenue generating Internet companies in the world.”
Now, seriously, what on Earth does that mean? Does it tell us what Twitter stands for, or what it cares about? I don’t think so.
I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that while Twitter’s management team may well have a business strategy that is driving what they do each day, Twitter doesn’t have a vision. If this statement is any indication, they don’t even know what a vision is.
Now I’m a huge fan of Twitter the product. Always have been. We’ve even built our own products on top of Twitter. I think it’s an immensely important platform that has in many ways changed the world much more than Facebook ever will.
This is about Twitter the company. This is supposed to be the company’s vision for God’s sake. It should have been written like this:
“We want to be really, really big, and make lots of money with our product(s)”.
Inspiring eh? At least it’s easy to understand and fits in a tweet. It’s just not a vision.
A vision excites people and inspires them to get behind you. It puts down a marker that tells its audience (be that a team, a market or a planet) what you stand for. It says “we believe in something important and we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen”. It should be ambitious, exciting and inspiring — I’ll take outrageous even.
It cannot, under any circumstances, be dull, neutral, meaningless or simply incomprehensible. If you can’t say the right thing, don’t say anything at all.
So, Twitter, I’m sorry, but it’s back to the drawing board. Give us something that sets our hearts racing, gets our brains working and makes us believe you know where you think the future lies. If there’s no vision, keep quiet until there is.
Come on, you’re Twitter: you can do better, and you can do it in 140 meaningful characters or less.