Bear with me before dismissing me as crazy — I love the idea.
Here is the explanation, which SFDC may dispute. Read it in its entirety before pronouncing judgment.
Twitter is not a social network. It has failed dismally at it. Facebook has eaten their breakfast, lunch, and dinner and drank their milk at it.
At the beginning Twitter was cobbled together in a rush to launch at South-by-Southwest. It grew, haphazardly, showing a ton of problems and a total lack of scalability (as did Facebook at the same time). Then it was shut down temporarily and emerged a solid, well built notifications, communications, and distribution network that can handle massive volumes – greater than any enterprise software application ever had to handle.
The gap between “fail whale era” and today is yuge. Remember??? **
Today, it’s a stable, functioning, scalable, publish-subscribe, notification network can handle live video in volumes that were previously unthinkable. There is no well established, viable revenue strategy in place today — but….
SFDC wants to grow 10+ times larger than it is today – maybe more (I hope more, and this is my assumption). Oracle could claim they are the first vendor to reach $10bb in pseudo-cloud revenues if they get there first, but SFDC can claim to be the first one to get to $100bb in actual-cloud. I may be overextending myself – but I believe it is totally doable with some tweaks to their technology, including the underlying infrastructure.
A few years back SFDC launched Salesforce1 – which I claimed was their first move to become a three-tier, open-cloud, platform-based enterprise software solution. Last year they introduced Thunder (which in spite of their term of “IoT Cloud” is a data abstraction layer that allows them to process massive amounts of data in real-time), and this year they introduced Einstein – a platform play to give all their applications access to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (eventually).
Yet, among these many moves to strengthen and grow their platform the underlying architecture has not evolved equally. Since the times of the Social Enterprise and the introduction of Chatter – when SFDC changed the paradigm of what it is to work in an enterprise application – the volumes keep increasing… yet the architecture did not. Chatter volumes are very large, but I doubt (and will likely be told I am wrong) that it can handle the volumes associated with a 10x growth spur.
If they do buy twitter (we can argue price and value later, as we did with WhatsApp – which proven their $19bb value to Facebook many times over my initial apprehension), they have to shut down the crappy social network. They must get rid of a network where most of the ugliest things in life happen (the Kardashians can move to Snapchat, Trump will eventually fade away) and let them find a new home (maybe they move to Facebook and we either can get them under control or shut down Facebook and get rid of the privacy invasion… double bonus!)
Why shut it down?
So they can begin work immediately to make the underlying infrastructure of twitter the replacement for Chatter as a distribution network. It should take +/- 18 months (I have not done a technology due diligence, may be way off here – I am not inside and need more details before making this assessment).
SFDC is then a platform-based solution with a world-class distribution and notification networks, a data abstraction layer to match it (thunder/IoT cloud), a soon-to-be-set-of-services for AI (Einstein), and the potential to become the enterprise software platform it needs to be for the next generation.
From the technology perspective it adds a layer of infrastructure that they need (I’ve heard some things about thunder being able to handle the load for chatter, etc. – have not explored it sufficiently but my doubts are in handling the growth not at today’s levels) to match their hopes for growth. A killer, scalable, massive pub-sub network as the underlying infrastructure for a platform for enterprise software could be the ticket to that 10x (or more) growth – and be worth a ton.
Dismiss me now, I am done.
disclaimer: these machinations are what happen when I am asked what in the surface seems like a simple, inane question – and one that everyone expressed to be impossible and dumb. Is not that I want to be contrarian, but I wanted to use a different thought process — what if we went beyond the surface? that’s usually how i approach things — looking for their potential, not the face value. I don’t know all the details on the architecture for both and this could be a horrible idea. I will eat crow if that turns out to be the case… but it would make for a wonderful differentiator if it isn’t. You know the rest: SFDC is a current client and they paid my expenses to attend Dreamforce; oracle was a client in the past; twitter was never a client; any other vendor implied or any other relationship assumed is a mere coincidence and even if they weren’t they don’t signify endorsement or agreement or influence. I have enough friends and “frenemies” at SFDC that some will laugh and some will nod. Either way – mistakes are mine, I own the opinion and it is not influenced by anything other than a long week without much sleep and too much meat (hope my doctor does not read this).
** image credit: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23681418