Loomio
Wed 2 Nov 2016

Line of attack

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PoliUndelivered Public Seen by 417

Hello all. @PoliUndelievered here, offering my suggestions. Who knows if this will work, but it's worth a try and time is of the essence! Twitter can strike an acquisition deal any second, so we need to start taking concrete steps to achieving our goal ASAP.

The way I see it, this is not a matter of online community building. This is about taking real-world action. Petitions are, by and large, useless (it's good to have names and email addresses of people interested, but Twitter is a business and they don't make decisions on the basis of a few thousand names on a list).

Here's what we need:

1) LAWYERS. Every single step of this process requires an understanding of the laws governing corporations, stock issuance and sales, etc... There's a thread on here about identifying people to target to try to persuade them to join this movement... Lawyers do not work for free (esp. not good ones); I don't care how much they enjoy Twitter and want to see it succeed. So that means we need $$$.
1A) $$$ to hire lawyers: This is the sort of problem crowdfunding pages were made for. Idk the pros and cons of each.... This is a liiiitle bit of a chicken-and-the-egg problem. We need to incentivize contributions to the legal fund, but don't know the laws involving contracts to buy stock that hasn't been created yet... Ideally, we could promise that a) contributions to the legal fund will b) be reimbursed by stock in the holding company that's formed to buy Twitter. Perhaps those of us here that most want to see this happen can chip in to hire the first lawyer, who can advise us what we need to do to get the ball rolling on a larger, more widespread fundraising effort
2) Form a holding company/set up a website to sell stock. Basically a holding company is a organization that's formed for the purpose to acquiring other companies. That's what we want. Buying twitter is going to require a lot of money; it absolutely cannot all be raised by well-wishers. We need investors; we need to sell them a vision for how they'll make their money back. We promote it as an innovative new online organizational method, where content creators are rewarded for their participation and where they control the way the site functions. This, the pitch will go, will help to solve Twitter of the biggest obstacle preventing the site's acquisition at the moment: all the hate speech that current management refuses to clean up. We will fix that in a way that won't turn off users, because users will be direct beneficiaries of the improved site. Profit will be pursued, because the capital investors will get a certain % of seats on the board of directors or a certain # of voting shares (again: we should have lawyers who actually has experience with structuring corporations recommend a course of action, because THE WORST thing we can do is get derailed from the beginning by conversations of who gets what rights and powers)
3) PUBLICITY. Sell those holding company shares. Get on CNN. Be the #1 trending topic.
4) Begin talks/ buy Twitter: You don't need to have all the money up front to begin talks. Starting even sporadic negotiations will create a feedback loop with #3 and we might be able to come up with a deal that mixes cash and shares in the holding company, which will continue to solicit investments
5) Redesign Twitter to reward users with voting share in the company. This DEFINITELY doesn't need to be hammered out before other steps. All we need is to agree on the general principle that this will be a coop, owned and operated in conjunction with capital investors. It's an easy thing to agree on, bc we can't get anywhere without capital and I think we all agree that we want to do something bold that makes Twitter a better place and that ripples out and starts disrupting other segments of the web (Uber, what-have-you).

TL

Tom Ladendorf Thu 3 Nov 2016

"The way I see it, this is not a matter of online community building" ...but to even get to most of the other steps, like fundraising and getting on the news, don't we need to build an online community?

DS

Danny Spitzberg Thu 3 Nov 2016

Hi, @poliundelivered - this intersects with a lot of what people have been urging. What do you think about working it into the campaign brief https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vy-gOGDLDeRLkw48wraNoB8sOZlHXtz1NI9C5YhNfR4/edit - specifically, the section on escalation where @coopchange brilliantly pointed out, "Escalation charts can be useful for campaigns such as this; what would the last action (that would result in twitter acquisition) look like? What needs to happen just before that?"

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PoliUndelivered Thu 3 Nov 2016

@dannyspitzberg- thanks for the reply. It's good people are interested in this and I think this forum is a great thing, but I think that google doc is off base. The "escalation chart" comment isn't bad, but the last action in a twitter acquisition would have to be agreeing to transfer a large amount of cash to the people who currently own Twitter. Petitions and discussions aren't going to do it- you need to raise money. I think there's a way to do it, but it's a tough thing and impossible if everyone's not on the same page about the basic mechanics. People have invested a lot of money into twitter- they aren't going to give up their shares because you have a bibliography full of articles saying how important it is to democracy, etc. You need to deal with them in dollars and cents- just like you need to expect to deal with the people interested in helping out in dollars and cents. Relatively nobody is going to contribute money if there's not something in it for them. You need to offer people with money a deal so you can turn around and offer the people who own Twitter a deal- only way it's going to work!

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PoliUndelivered Thu 3 Nov 2016

There's already an online community- it's Twitter. No- for this, you don't need a "community" in the way that word is normally used. You need a group of people who have agreed to contribute money to buy twitter, because it makes sense for them to.

TL

Tom Ladendorf Thu 3 Nov 2016

I guess if we were all well-connected Twitter investors what you're saying would make more sense to me, but since we're not, it seems like it'll be helpful to gather a critical mass of people who are interested in this idea. That's how this idea can get more attention -- which paves the way both to potential acquisition as well as to an ongoing movement for platform cooperativism.

TM

Tom McDonough Thu 3 Nov 2016

Having spent many years in close proximity to Wall Street, I understand what you are saying and agree with most of it, except with your criticism of community building.
I suggest you visit the Slack project #BuyTwitter and the channel #financing_strategies to get a glimpse of the whole picture.
To take control of Twitter we will need 51% of the shares, say $6 billion. To get third party financing we would have to show the ability to put up, say, $3 billion from Twitter users. Just for discussion, let's figure that as 20 million users putting up $150 each. Right now, we have 1500 or so.
Therefore, until we can claim to control $3 billion of TWTR market value, community building continues to be the #1 priority. There's an interim stage but you can read that at Slack.

DS

Danny Spitzberg Thu 3 Nov 2016

Fully agreed, @poliundelivered - talk is cheap, action is nearly everything. And I think a lot of people here and beyond would be happy to focus energy on presenting an economically attractive option. If you can add some of this line of attack into the escalation steps, I believe that would help everyone here direct this collective effort