The two words missing from this epic, 8,500-word essay on the future of Twitter

Don’t remind CEO Dick Costolo, but Twitter has 100 million fewer active users than Tumblr.
Don’t remind CEO Dick Costolo, but Twitter has 100 million fewer active users than Tumblr.
Image: Reuters/Rilk Wilking
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Dick Costolo.

That’s both the name of Twitter’s CEO and the two words conspicuously absent from this 8,500-word essay on the future of the company, written by one of its earliest and most important investors.

Chris Sacca, the venture capitalist, was one of Twitter’s biggest shareholders before the social media platform went public. “My funds and I [still] own a lot of Twitter stock,” he notes at the start of the essay, although its unclear just how many shares he holds. (He is not among the top 20 investors in the company, according to FactSet).

Sacca warned everyone a couple of weeks ago that he would soon start to more openly share his “strong opinions” about the future of the company. In following through on that promise with his essay today, he outlines several suggestions designed to make Twitter easier for new users. Some seem quite sensible (like the idea of incorporating surveys and polls into live events), others (like changing the star icon on the “favorite” button to a “heart”) seem more trivial.

Sacca repeatedly states that he is bullish on the company’s future and a firm believer in the Twitter story. This quote is particularly good:

I want to apologize to those of you working in the sensationalist clickbait mines, but this post is not a hit piece. I never said it would be. I am not here to slam the company nor the team. I am not an activist investor.

Yet he also says the company has “failed to tell its own story to investors and users.” Whether intended or not, it’s difficult to avoid the impression that this is a rebuke for Dick Costolo and the existing management team. After all, if everything was traveling smoothly at the company, would investors compose 8,500-word essays about its future? Put a different way: is anyone out there right now navel gazing like this about the future Facebook?

Pressure has been mounting on Costolo for months now due to Twitter’s persistently weak user growth and flagging stock price.

Twitter worldwide users Q4 2014

As Fortune’s Dan Primack points out, Twitter’s board of directors is holding its regular quarterly catch-up tomorrow. Will Sacca’s suggestions get an airing? Only those present will know.