Tech Leadership has lost the plot on Human Centric Design, Creating Opportunity, & Value

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Tech Leadership has lost the plot on Human Centric Design, Creating Opportunity, & Value

Post by circuitbored » Wed May 01, 2024 4:40 pm

As I doom scroll through Twitter these days, I feel my brain getting scrambled and fried like an omelet with far too many add-ons at Waffle House... I can't help the multiplying feeling of sadness as I realize that the bot infiltration is in full effect now more than ever on Twitter and many other platforms, as I browse tons of no-context "breadcrumb-marketing" posts, based on trending topics, planted to inspire me to search for clues as to what the heck they're about, many of them leading repetitively to KPop music, crypto ads, political wackiness, or celebrity news.

In using apps like Twitter, it's easy to see that the platform is dedicated primarily towards trending topics, but at the same time it's not quite easy to figure out the logic for how and why certain things make their way onto those lists of trending topics... Certain accounts seem to magically post and receive instant and prominent placements in our timelines quite frequently, while the majority of posts on the platform made never see the light of day, no matter how valid they are to our interests.

Now I know what you're going to say... Things like "Of course the platform has lost it's way" and various other comments about the seriousness, arrogance, and incompetence of platform leadership, but consider this -- Since Twitter has assumed new leadership, why has it still had a dramatic impact and influence on how many other social platforms are run? The answer is that others are following it's cues. A big problem results from a lack of differentiation in technology development. Technology is based on innovation by nature. When a dominant and "virally innovative" idea emerges these days, there are many that quickly launch similar products in hopes of capturing a segment of it's market share... This perhaps may be the result of a very competitive technical ecosystem, but in my opinion it results from a lack of innovative original leadership that dominates technology as of late.

In the early 2000s, many can recall that we had a great tech renaissance that later led to a painful market crash, now affectionately referred to as the "Dot Com Bust", many very prominent tech products came out of that era, including Myspace (2003), Facebook (2004), and even Twitter (2006).

Between March 2000 and October 2002, the NASDAQ fell from 5,048 to 1,139, erasing nearly all of its gains during the dot-com bubble. By the end of 2001, most publicly traded dot-com companies had failed. - SOURCE: Britannica

Looking back, in hindsight from 2024, each of those products were quite distinct, despite having similar purposes as primarily human-centered tools. In those times, there were literally new ideas generated and launched frequently because hosting a concept was as simple as setting up a computer in one's basement to host a web application. Fast forward to now, where most applications are hosted in cloud settings, and when operational costs can soar overnight if an idea gains popularity, the cost of innovation is primarily tied to how much funding each idea maker has. The entry point for creating an application in this day and age is astronomically higher than in the days where some of our most innovative Internet ideas came about. Just for example, Twitter was last sold for about the same price as it costs to buy a full size US military aircraft carrier (~$44 billion), and that doesn't even include the monthly electric bill. As of January 2024, Twitter's market value is estimated to be around $12.5 billion dollars, a massive drop in value since it's purchase for $44 billion dollars.

It's confusing to me how Twitter had been run from 2006 until 2010 without having any ad-selling capability for regular users, and how the app didn't start charging for verification features until 2023. I'm not confused about the "why" as much as how they managed to survive without the burgeoning (some would say opportunistic) revenue streams all those years while hosting and operational costs surged for the app. Apparently the company had big plans to reach their big IPO in 2013, which only lasted for about 10 years, but of course made a select few shareholders quite rich when the company was painfully sold in quite a highly publicized "shotgun wedding" (of sorts) in 2022.

The underlying story behind it all may be that there were several larger corporate sponsors that contributed to Twitter's growth for years prior to it's IPO, and the combination of introducing ads and declining user satisfaction overall led to the decline in the platform's prominence in the long haul. Since 2006, many would also say that the app has declined in terms of functionality, utility, and value for pretty much the majority of users across the board, especially if they did not pay for either ads or the more recently introduced verification fees on the platform... In summary, the app began to press it's (estimated to be currently 368 Million active accounts) user base for profit in order to recoup it's initial $44 Billion purchase price after years of being a no-cost service to average users.

Twitter's net loss in 2010 is reported at -$67.32 million, and now is reported to be -$221.41 million. [SOURCE: ( ... f-twitter/)] The only 2 profitable (recent years) where Twitter was reported as making an income were in 2018 and 2019, a dramatic increase, possibly driven by surging advertising revenue after they began to permit individual (non-corporate) users to run paid ads on the platform, while (allegedly) reducing organic reach of non-advertising user accounts. I cite this info as a user who has been on Twitter since 2008 (, paying careful attention to details concerning organic reach of multiple accounts I ran over many years myself in conjunction with several complaints from numerous other users I've observed in many posts on and off the platform.

Based on the above numbers, it's rather easy for one to assume that advertising revenue generates a lot of revenue for social platforms for a short period of time at least, and that Twitter lost less money annually in the early days of it's operation, but in order to get a better picture of how their profit & loss works, one would have to look deeply into user satisfaction in correlation to the financial performance of the company... Erratic ownership aside, I'm fairly certain (although it's just an opinion) that user satisfaction with Twitter was quite high in the early days and has risen and fallen over years until now (2024) where you'll read many complaining on a regular basis on it's subreddit -

As advertising platforms and paid verification became normalized on Twitter, many other platforms, like Instagram & even newer TikTok began similar services, while also implementing some of the very same features that frustrated Twitter users over years prior. As a user myself, some of the top annoyances on Twitter have been:

1. The injection of excess ads as authentic posts in timelines.
2. Regularly receiving useless notifications to keep me logged in to the app, random posts from accounts I don't follow being displayed.
3. Frequently introducing frustrating functional aspects to the app and pop-ups encouraging users to pay for "premium" services.
4. Getting heavily limited and capped views on original posts & shadow bans.
5. Seeing lots of content we don't desire to see (even violent and triggering content) and even making it persist more after numerous attempts to block it.
6. Creating new features that no one asked for and modifying navigation to encourage it to be popular/prominent.
7. Modifying navigation frequently and shuffling menu controls to keep users engaged longer in apps.
8. Many safety features including "I don't want to see this" not work properly.
9. Removing and hobbling the ability to mute/block keywords (especially for ad-based content).
10. Seeing the very same trending names and topics stuck on lists very frequently.
11. Making feeds not update properly on a regular basis.
12. Preventing followers from increasing/growing at all.
13. Celebrity accounts getting prioritized visibility over all other user accounts.

Many of these annoying things began to become integrated into experiences I observed in many of the social apps I use now, from Instagram to TikTok, to where now it seems as if all of the large-scale social apps seem to be following the same model for how Twitter became a limping shadow of it's former self. Even more annoying are public speeches by application leadership on platforms (even in front of congress) where a customer-centric commitment is presented as if it's a focus of platforms that try to spin the cited tactics above as reinforcing a "user-centered mindset and focus on safety and community'. If you truly know the investments a lot of these tech leaders make into their personal salaries by how much the fallout shelters they buy to live in cost, you'd know that the value is not going to users almost at all, but rather primarily into the pockets of people that invest in and control these tech platforms.

I think we've reached a crazy point in our existence... Major companies (especially those that earn millions and billions every year) are providing products and services that are inferior, and often totally dysfunctional in order to encourage consumers to pay more money for products that simply restore basic functionality at best... Recently, there was a huge court action filed against dating app maker Match Group, responsible for a lot of the most popular online dating apps, further illustrating how opportunism is rampant in the tech industry right now.
(CONTEXT: ... model.html)

Many of these companies reserve "fast lanes" for the highest paying customers and friends and family. We get into a precarious situation as individual humans when we make skewed companies like this more money each year... It's rewarding elitism, and ignoring the reality that our ability to succeed in life is being subverted. If we are not making a profit to cover our business expenses, it makes no sense to invest in companies that implement overpriced "tiered value" services and complex success schemes. If tools like Ai work based on our art and posts, the companies behind it are profiting off of us without reciprocation.

Sometimes it's not Imposter Syndrome, these days it's often humans within companies being disingenuous, opportunistic, hypocritical, deceptive, & dishonest.

The era of content creation for social media is showing signs of cracking, as many realize they weren't really making money, heck if you paid attention to strikes happening over the last few years, many of the actors we though had it made were actually suffering financially after long careers within the entertainment industry.

I think in this era, it's becoming more and more important to push back against hostile technology oppression, and to stop following the glittery scripts they tell us we need to concerning how these tools are "useful" to us, and let the companies that don't live up to their words fail.

As a musician, I'm over with not being able to just share my work without putting a ton of work into each post as if I'm producing a Hollywood-worthy show, especially when that work isn't allowed to circulate properly and fairly.

My job is not to create engaging content for billion dollar earning social media platform users all day, working for free.
My job as a musician and entertainer is to show what I've accomplished & what I'm capable of to inspire others to hire & book me for new opportunities, and to inspire others to buy and stream my music.
Everything else is burnt time in terms of business.

As we almost all use tech-driven services daily now from Spotify to IOT devices and even consumer entertainment apps like Netflix and social media platforms, many come with monthly and individual fees that steadily rise over time. As these platforms grow, if we evaluate their cost versus value to us as individuals, it's disturbing to see how value shrinks as costs to us as users of each platform rise. Our time spent paying for, configuring, posting on and working on content for these platforms is also a cost not easily quantified, as they consume a lot of our time on a regular basis too.

While many social technology companies & leadership behind those platforms constantly evaluate how to satisfy investor expectations and overhead costs, it's all to easy for them to assume that their platform users are seen as "instant cash sources" rather than as the basis for very operation of these platforms, and that also correlates with how these once innovative technology services rise, thrive, languish, fail, get decommissioned, and then fade away so quickly. We frequently cancel and enroll in these services as well, and that is proving to be a very unruly model for predicting success or failure of those technology platforms and business operations.

As far as innovation goes, it's a crucial time for application designers to consider the effectiveness and design of their products for their user base, and in attracting private sponsorship, above the need to please investors... At the time of this post, Twitter has become a private company once again, meaning that most of the activity and efforts put into going public were not exactly fruitful for anyone beyond those who were bought out when it was sold, and definitely has show little value to it's main asset -- It's user community.

We've seen it before with Myspace, Vine, Friendster, Google Plus, and many other technology solutions over time -- Once a user base bails out on a public service or the company behind it, that can well be a funeral it can't come back from, to which no one should be taking for granted, it would not only mean that $44 billion is completely lost, it would also mean that a vital and once epic public service burns out and fades away completely... A deep loss for everyone involved.

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