Twitter to outlast Peter Thiel

Prominent Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel is very bullish on Twitter.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

CNN's Maureen Farrell has reported: Peter Thiel: Twitter will outlast the New York Times.

That's a bold claim. The New York Times is more than 163 years old.

In a debate with [Marc] Andreessen at the Milken Institute Global Conference Monday, [Peter] Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, said he expects that Twitter's roughly 1,000 employees will have jobs a decade from now. The business case for Twitter is solid, Thiel said.

He contrasted the future of Twitter with that of The New York Times, a print media vanguard that he says is not guaranteed a future in the digital age ... Thiel, who doesn't tweet or own shares of the company, said the company's estimated $10 billion current valuation was fair.

Foremski's take

The New York Times will be around for a long time, even though it certainly won't be in its current formats.

The New York Times Company is valued at 1/10th of Twitter's valuation, but it has a far higher value in terms of trust. You won't find fake news in The New York Times.

On Twitter, you can't trust anything, because there is no editorial process. Twitter as a media brand has little value in itself, since it is an aggregate of the micro-brands of the personalities and companies that use the platform to publish to their networks, and of those many personalities, only some are real.

Twitter's valuation could change very quickly. People and companies are fickle users of social media platforms, while the "users" of The New York Times are often characterized by life-long loyalties.

Twitter has a higher market valuation because its costs are far lower than The New York Times, it employs far fewer staff members, and it doesn't face the considerable challenges of traditional media businesses.

The New York Times' legacy costs of business, primarily its massive pension obligations, will likely force a change in its fortunes faster than its ability to transition to new business models.

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