The Most Important Fact Buried In Twitter's 70-Page Investor Slideshow: 3.7 billion projected 2017 smartphone users.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Twitter!
Twitter's 70-something page investor slideshow is out and we have the whole thing right here. It summarizes what the company does, how it makes money, how it expects to grow in the future, and why investors should buy its stock when TWTR goes public on Nov. 6.
But if you've been following the company closely you'll know that slide 41 is the most important part of the presentation. See the image above.
Why would Twitter need to actually say that it is a "mainstream product"?
The answer is that when it filed its S-1 disclosure with the SEC, many people were shocked to discover that Twitter had only about 50 million users in the U.S., and 230 million users overall. Its S-1 suggested that the product was used by elite members of society, rather than ordinary folk:
"Our users include millions of people from around the world, as well as influential individuals and organizations, such as world leaders, government officials, celebrities, athletes, journalists, sports teams, media outlets and brands."
It's true that Twitter users over-index among those who always need to know what's happening now, such as journalists and PR people.
On top of that, people noticed that Twitter's user growth was already slowing, particularly in the U.S.
The conclusion from all this could be that with Twitter confined as a business-to-business app for communications industry types, its overall revenue growth might be limited too. (In fact, Twitter's revenues are not directly linked to the number of its users.)
So this slide appears to be an attempt to correct all that: "Twitter is not a niche product!," the slide screams. It's making it loud and clear that given a total universe of about 4 billion smartphone users, Twitter has plenty of room to grow.
Update a year later from Benedict Evans of a16z:
Hence, the first phase of the platform wars is over: Apple and Google both won. Apple now sells around 10% of all the 1.8bn (and growing) phones sold on Earth each year and Android the next 50%, split roughly between say 2/3 Google Android outside China and 1/3 non-Google Android inside China. Over time this will expand such that smartphones take almost all phone sales - perhaps 400m or 500m units a quarter, with Apple taking the high-end and Android the rest, and there'll be close to 4bn smartphones on earth. And though Apple sells a minority of devices, its positioning and execution means it has a much larger share of traffic and a majority of content and ecommerce revenue in developed markets, so its ecosystem is perfectly sustainable, as is Google's.