Apr 23, 2019

Axios PM

Situational awarenesses: The S&P 500 closed at a record high for the first time since September, while the Nasdaq closed at a new high for the first time since August.

1 big thing: Twitter's green shoots

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

No matter how much you've read about Twitter’s troubles, the platform is enjoying a burst of encouraging signs:

  • Twitter's Q1 numbers came in high today: 330 million monthly active users, 134 million visiting every day, and $787 million in revenue, beating analyst expectations.

Why it matters: When news happens, and when there's a major cultural event, Twitter is the second screen.

  • Twitter is building its key measurement around those spikes, focusing on daily active users, instead of monthly, and they're growing on that metric, particularly internationally.
  • But Twitter keeps getting criticized for brand safety during those spikes: Women and people of color face repeated harassment, fake news proliferates and the platform struggles to control propaganda and violence.

The big picture: Snapchat has more daily active users (186M). So does Instagram (500M for stories alone). And Facebook itself has 1.5 billion, The Verge notes.

  • That scale matters, especially for advertising.
  • It also matters for the future of Twitter. On the internet, at least, once you stop growing, you start shrinking.

Between the lines: "Twitter, which has a history of being slow to make changes to its service, has recently increased the pace of new product introductions," Bloomberg reports.

  • "Last month it opened access to its prototype app, called twttr, to test new ideas and get feedback."
  • "The company is also rolling out a Snapchat-like camera feature that lets users post videos or photos in a swipe."

P.S. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and President Trump met behind closed doors at the White House today, as Motherboard first reported.

  • The meeting was expected to be about "the health of the public conversation on Twitter," according to an email obtained by Motherboard.
Bonus: Chart du jour
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Note: Turnout rate is weighted to account for voter participation overstatement; Reproduced from United States Elections Project, which relies on U.S. Census data; Chart: Axios Visuals
2. What you missed
  1. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that killed at least 321 people and injured more than 500, but did not immediately offer proof for its claim, the AP reports.
  2. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took home almost $302 million in 2018 after accounting for the actual value of stock he cashed out throughout the year.
  3. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wants to name a Golan Heights town after Trump as a token of appreciation for him recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the contested area.
  4. M.J. Hegar will challenge Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn in 2020: The former Air Force helicopter pilot narrowly lost a high-profile House race in 2018. Video.
  5. Mark your calendars: Pete Buttigieg will do a Fox News town hall on May 19. Details.
  6. White House administration officials were told to boycott this weekend's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, according to reports in CNN and Politico.
3. 1 fun thing

Procter & Gamble "has developed a way to make laundry detergent, hand soap and shampoo without a key ingredient: water," the WSJ notes.

  • Back in 2011, P&G "began tinkering with the idea of condensing cleaning chemicals into minuscule fibers that dissolve when wet — similar ... to cotton candy."
  • “We realized we could make a suite full of products that performed as well or even better than those made with water,” dry-soap project research and development director Lee Ellen Drechsler told the Journal.

Why it matters: "Executives said the new dry soaps and cleaners, which come in the form of small, fabric-like 'swatches' that foam when users add water during washing or cleaning, will reduce substantially water used in production and be lighter and smaller to package and ship."

  • "That could make it easier for [P&G] to sell them online, bypassing retailers such as Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc."