How Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey Missed Out on a $50 Billion Video App Revolution


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Jack Dorsey, the iconic entrepreneur and co-founder of Twitter and Square, could have owned another app worth over $50 billion if it weren’t for a series of critical missteps. The app in question is Vine, a platform that allowed users to create and share 6-second videos, which ultimately became the genesis of short-form video content. This article will explore the meteoric rise and sudden demise of Vine, and how it laid the groundwork for the success of today’s social media giants like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

The Emergence of Vine:

Vine’s story began in 2012 when its creators, Colin, Dom, and Rus, decided to add a social component to their video editing tool. They were aware of humans’ short attention span and introduced a 6-second time limit on video clips, as well as a looping feature that allowed users to easily digest content. By the end of 2013, Vine had gained 40 million subscribers, with future celebrities like David Dobrik and Shawn Mendes finding their initial breakthrough on the platform.

The Battle for Short-Form Video Content:

With the surge in popularity of short-form video content, other platforms like TikTok and Instagram took notice. TikTok eventually became the most downloaded app in 2022, and Instagram introduced Reels, amassing 2 billion monthly interactions. But Vine, the original short-form video app, was left behind.

The Downfall of Vine:

Vine’s fall can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the platform stuck to its 6-second video cap for too long, and by the time it increased to 140 seconds, TikTok had already taken over the world. Additionally, Vine failed to offer a streamlined way for creators to monetise their content, forcing them to negotiate their own branded deals and sponsorships. In contrast, TikTok and YouTube both have creator funds to reward dedicated and creative users.

Other factors contributing to Vine’s downfall include Facebook’s move to shut down Vine’s API access, preventing creators from sharing their Vines on the platform. But the biggest mistake was Twitter’s failure to recognise the creative constraints of Vine’s 6-second time cap, which led to users and advertisers moving to other platforms like TikTok.

Learning from Vine’s Mistakes:

Despite being the first to market, Vine serves as a cautionary tale for not adapting and evolving with user demands and trends. Had Vine helped creators monetise their content, developed an efficient ad network, and recognised and emulated trends that propelled YouTube and TikTok to success, it could have been a behemoth in the short-form content market.

Vine’s tragic tale is a reminder that innovation alone is not enough for success; businesses must also be agile and responsive to user needs and market trends. As TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram continue to thrive and generate billions from the concept Vine pioneered, the story of Vine will forever serve as a lesson in the ever-evolving world of social media.

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