The Twitter IPO presentation is posted online. Overall it looks good and very professional, here are my thoughts on how it could have been even better (comments in random order):

UPDATE: The official presentation has been taken down, it is still out there on YouTube:

  • The whole story is structured around a description of Twitter, what do we do, how do we make money, how are we going to grow. It could have been pitched more to the point: why is Twitter such a great company to invest in. This would have changed the flow of the story significantly
  • For knowledgeable investors, there are a number of huge elephant-in-the-room questions about Twitter: the biggest one being, how are you going to make money? The presentation should have included hints to the answer to that question upfront in the presentation, and elaborate on it more during the presentation (the CFO only gets to the meat around 27 minutes into the talk, many potential investors might have tuned out by then).
  • The presentation is full of social media speak: engagement, driving conversation, rich media experiences, content, etc. To an industry insider, the sentences make the exact point, but to an audience who might be tuning in and out (watching the presentation online, while now and then checking the email inbox in another tab), this creates too much white noise to which the brain pays limited attention.
  • The look and feel. Twitter has an incredibly powerful branding (colour blue and the bird). It could have been used more prominently in the slides. Not by increasing the side of the logo, but by using the graphical language in the actual content of the presentation. 
  • Using the actual embedded Tweets in the presentation is good, but the small print makes them hard to read for the audience. Also complicated conversations (a celebrity chefs replying to a person preparing for a dinner party for example) do not really come across, or worse, the audience is trying to read all the stuff that is going on on the screen (windows, tweets, hashtags) and loses the audio narrative that drivers the big point home. A better solution would have been a tiny representation of the actual Tweet with an extreme close up of the content that actually matters.
  • The 16:9 aspect ratio leaves some canvas blank on the tiny 4:3 screen of this 1990s video delivery platform of the Retail Roadshow service. For an IPO this size, they should have resized the slides.
  • The energy of the presenters (CEO, CFO) is held back a bit sometimes. In some sections, it flares up. For example: the interesting statistics about Tweets during TV shows, or the CEO closing remarks about the importance of the platform that can give everyone a voice.
  • Some very interesting messages are not reinforced by explicit slides. I found interesting for example that on Twitter, advertisers can target people by their actual interests in life, while traditional advertisers have to derive/guess these interests from demographics information. A big point, it deserves a slide. Another example: the majority of Twitter users are outside the US, while international ad revenue is a fraction of the US one, again a point that can be made in a slide, ideally with some growth curve that shows that it is not unreasonable to assume that international ad revenue is catching up to US levels fast.
  • Video is used only in the beginning of the presentation (mainly portraying the founders), it could have been used throughout the presentation.  Interviews with people, or snap shots of important live events that were broken on Twitter. The video animation of the spread of the Obama-4-more-years Tweet was amazing to watch, and only popped up in a small window.
Overall, Twitter comes across as a company that is organised and diligently working to monetise its user base and make a decent profit from advertising. But maybe it could have upped the story and add the ambition to do something amazing to the Internet, or even humanity, and remind us of that at the end of the presentation with a closing by the CEO, and not a simple thank you for your attention after the financial slides. A bit more courage!

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