‘Twas the Night After the Tweetstorm: Top 10 Tweetstorms of 2014

Sonal Chokshi, Michael Copeland, and a16z editorial

Ahh, the Tweetstorm™. It seems like 2014 was the year the storm really hit Twitter, and @pmarca had a hand in popularizing that … and let us assure you, it was his hand: no PR staff, ghostwriters, robots, or animals were harmed in the making of.

While not everyone was overjoyed — BuzzFeed argued the tweetstorm phenomenon MUST BE STOPPED — Quartz described Marc Andreessen’s first six months on Twitter as “unbelievably epic”, analyzing: how many tweets per day (50-200); the dominant client he used (web, natch); his most fertile tweeting hours (2-4 pm and 9-11pm PST); and perhaps most importantly, his responsiveness: “about 60%…are ‘replies’ to other Twitter users”. That’s probably why some argued Marc’s magic on Twitter wasn’t in tweetstorming, but in engaging.

Marc is not the only a16zer who tweetstorms. Balaji Srinivasan does too — see especially this storm on full stack startups. Chris Dixon does so occasionally, and Benedict Evans (though he adamantly refuses to do the /numbered tweets thing) is a bit of a Twitter hit too.

But tweetstorms are not just for @pmarca or a16zers! There’s a reason why people storm instead of blog, observed Fred Wilson (after, er, doing a tweetstorm-about-a-tweetstorm), and thus a number of tools have cropped up: tweetstorm.io; “collaborative story-tweeting” tool AuthorbeeLittle Pork Chop (“now anyone can tweet up a storm” —TechCrunch); and Stormy for iOS. And those are just the ones that we know of. So yes, Farhad, it is a bit crazy that we haven’t funded an app for tweetstorms yet…

If you couldn’t keep up with @pmarca tweetstorms this year, there are various aggregators out there to help catch up: @pngmarca (the one we use on our website); yvoschaap (which captures reaction-storms as well as numbered storms); tweetstorm.io (also very comprehensive); vozag.com; According to @pmarca (a curated collection on Medium); and pmarca tweets as blog posts (which started strong but sputtered out, probably due to exhaustion).

If nothing else, you can start here. Below are what the a16z editorial partners thought were @pmarca’s top 10 tweetstorms of 2014…

1) 11 sure-fire ways to damage a high-growth startup

“Assume more cash is always available at higher & higher valuations, forever.”

read the tweetstorm listicle here (and see bonus tweetstorm on cash burn rates here)

2) ‘Disruption’: one of the most mangled intellectual concepts of our time

“The key attribute of disruptive innovation is a new product for previously underserved market — typically cheaper than existing product.”

read the entire tweetstorm here

3) Why I’m bullish on the news business

“…the key to the old businesses was control of distribution, way more than anyone ever wanted to admit. That’s wonderful while it lasts, but wrenching when that control goes away. The end of monopolistic control doesn’t mean that great news businesses can’t get built in highly competitive markets. They just get built differently than before.”

read the tweetstorm writeup here

4) What never gets discussed in the if-robots-eat-jobs debate

“…the current technology revolution has put the means of production within everyone’s grasp. It comes in the form of the smartphone (and tablet and PC) with a mobile broadband connection to the Internet. Practically everyone on the planet will be equipped with that minimum spec by 2020. What that means is that everyone gets access to unlimited information, communication, and education.”

read the writeup here (based on multiple tweetstorms)

5) Philanthropy matters

“We think there’s huge opportunity to include more people, including/especially underrepresented groups, into the tech field and industry.”

“And the new Stanford ED > Even more powerful healthcare safety net for our lowest-income, homeless, and undocumented immigrant neighbors.”

read the storms here and here, respectively

6) Unbundling banks

“I think banks are getting unbundled with or without Silicon Valley or bitcoin…”

read the entire tweetstorm here (see also this article it was building on)

7) On our general theory that it is easier to teach a tech-founder/CEO how to manage than it is to teach a ‘professional’ CEO how to innovate:

“I propose another lens on dynamic: Difference between knowing What & Who, vs. knowing How, Where, & When… The truly great tech CEOs have mastered all of these:”

read the entire tweetstorm here

8) Movie theaters could be sooo much better if…

“Convenience: Reserved seating, valet parking, warm embrace of Lyft & Uber including ridepooling, on-site daycare.”

read the tweetstorm here

9) Pass the mic

“Silicon Valley has the microphone. More people should step up and seize it.’– I wholeheartedly agree! In that spirit: Here are a bunch of tech people who aren’t widely famous (yet) but who routinely say interesting and provocative things!”

read the entire tweetstorm here

10) What I’m reading

“People and studies I referenced onstage… [and others] I would have mentioned if I had more time:”

“Over the last 2 days I’ve been tweetshotting excerpts from…”

“@pmarca reading list:”

read the storms here and here, respectively; see photos for the last one here

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