A “teardown”, in the world of real estate, is when a building or house is completely destroyed to build a new one. When a remodeling project is too costly, or if the renovations are too extensive, it’s often decided to tear down a building.
Elon Musk is currently undergoing a redesign of Twitter that could not be in line with the original design. In fact, as he has changed so many features of the former Twitter—which is being rebranded as “X”—the question that could be asked is why he didn’t simply start from scratch.
Rob Enderle from the Enderle Group suggested that starting something completely new is usually easier than re-architecting an existing product to achieve something it was not intended for.
Enderle added, “Musk has clearly shown that he doesn’t have the skills to manage Twitter. He has also made a number of costly mistakes. It’s possible he could succeed by building what X becomes, but he doesn’t seem to know much about building X. So again, he would be forced to learn through trial and error, which will almost certainly lead to failure.”
What does X mark?
Reuters said earlier in the week that Musk’s choice to rebrand Twitter to X may lead to legal issues, since companies such as Meta and Microsoft have already acquired intellectual property rights for the same letter.
The old Twitter changed the @Twitter handles to @X despite Gene X. Hwang using it for many years. Mashable reported on Wednesday that Hwang received no compensation for losing his handle.
The company has the right to use that username. Mashable pointed out that, except for trademark issues with social media sites, most users have no rights to their specific handles.
This action by X shows clearly that it may not be a well-thought out plan. Every week, a new policy or feature is introduced. It was announced this month that unverified accounts will be restricted to 600 posts. Meanwhile, in June it became clear that all advertisers would have to pay to subscribe to verified content.
Charles King, Pund-IT’s principal technology analyst explained that what we are seeing is Musk improvising in the moment. He’s smart and talented, but his forte is not in social media nor large-scale engagement with customers. “Given the amount of money required to buy, he appears desperate to make the company profitable. However, his choices, so far, have undermined rather than enhanced the value.”
It’s possible that X remains a work-in-progress and the final result could be much bigger than Twitter was. It’s still unclear why Musk didn’t just start over with a brand new product. He may have only acquired the user base for $44 billion, and they might not want to accept the changes.
“Some have suggested that the new X rebrand of Twitter is part of Musk’s plan to develop an ‘everything’ app that blends text, calling, financial transactions and other features—a sort of U.S.-based WeChat, in other words,” noted King. King noted that if Musk’s plan was to create an “everything” app, it would have made more sense for him to start from scratch, rather than take on huge debts in order purchase Twitter. He could then destroy its brand while alienating its majority users.
Musk may not have the talent to reverse the direction that X has taken, particularly as history repeats itself.
Enderle added, “I expect that we will be witnessing one of the biggest failures ever in history, all in an attempt to try and convince people that a bad idea earlier, changing PayPal into X, actually was a good thing. Instead, he’ll simply reiterate that the idea was bad.