Today started off as a good day for Twitter. America's new Cheeto-stained President-elect basically ran his entire campaign on the service (it is where trolls live, after all) and the stock closed up four per cent, on a day when most tech stocks plummeted. Image: Getty
But like the rest of the world, it's not a good day for Twitter. Twitter's Chief Operating Office, Adam Bain, has announced that he is leaving the company. Naturally he announced this on Twitter in a tweetstorm where he affirmed that everything is just fine.
After 6 years and a once-in-a-lifetime run, I let Jack know that I am ready to change gears and do something new outside the company.
— adam bain (@adambain) November 9, 2016
Everything is most definitely not fine -- not for America and certainly not for Twitter. Adam Bain, who joined Twitter back in 2010, was internally known as the company's biggest cheerleader. Back when he ran revenue operations for the company (a job he was actually good at), he was even considered for the CEO job after former executive Dick Costolo left the company. Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter's co-founders, would eventually take the job, but Bain was installed as his number two in October 2015.
Bain was also extremely well-liked. As Recode put it last year, "Adam Bain is so nice." Every employee I have ever spoken to at Twitter has always expressed the nicest thoughts about Bain. And in addition to his role as COO, Bain also acted as company cheerleader, going on TV, giving interviews and talking up how good Twitter was doing, even when Wall Street and users had different opinions.
So what does it say when a person that well liked and seemingly that integral to the business decides to leave? Quite simply, it says what we've known for quite some time: Twitter is screwed.
I don't write that with glee. For all of its many faults, Twitter has become an essential service for many of us. It allows for real-time conversation (some of it can even be good!) and news dissemination in a way that no other service has managed to do.
But Twitter is also a deeply troubled company. After nearly 18 months at the helm, Jack Dorsey's plan for putting Twitter on the right path to profitability and user growth just isn't working. Investors would understandably like the company to be sold, but all the would-be acquirers were chased away by the toxic users who have marred the service by association.
And now, the one guy that everyone liked, an executive who survived the employee shake-ups and investor drama, the guy who was by all accounts really good at his job, is throwing in the towel.