X cracks under the weight of its ambitions

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The Future. X is throwing a bunch of new features against the wall in hopes of boosting lost ad revenue (historically the big moneymaker for the company) and increasing engagement directly on the platform (the sign of a good user experience). But potentially without enough cash to fund and scale the projects, owner Elon Musk, one of the richest men in the world, may need to take on strategic outside financing to stay afloat.

Everything but the kitchen sink
X is the poster boy platform of wanting to expand into new business while crumbling its existing ones.

  • It’s planning on getting into the social-shopping craze, testing features that would allow for one-click checkouts, live shopping, and the ability to serve product ads via DM (a move sure to feel like email spam).
  • It’s doubling down on video and trying to incentivize brands, sports leagues (like its rich deal with the NFL), and artists to post exclusive ads and content directly to the platform (such as through its Amplify program, which it hopes to revive).
  • It also, bizarrely, got rid of headlines on shared articles because Musk said links lead people out of the platform, which he wants to disincentivize… suggesting people should instead just “post content in long form.”

Will any of these changes work? It remains to be seen, but CEO Linda Yaccarino spent yesterday trying to convince the company’s lenders that the reboot will make a difference, especially as Musk’s initial plan to turn X into a subscription powerhouse has flatlined at 815,000 and 865,000 signups… or 3% of the app’s user base.

All the upheaval has X likely valued at $8 billion, according to Reuters. That’s far less than the $44 billion Musk paid for it and even less than the $13 billion in debt the lenders hold.


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