With apologies to Nate who sounds like a sharp and nice guy….
Today’s “only in the Silly Silicon Alley” post comes from Nate who is a new entrepreneur in residence at Rose and therefore really deserves more respect I suppose, but his idea, parroted over at Silicon Alley Insider sure sounds dumb to me – too dumb in fact to make it through the Silicon *Valley* peer review needed since the most important Twitter folks…live there. Nate is seriously suggesting that Twitter could be quickly turned into a payment system which would immediately gain widespread use and respect in the tech community and thanks to all that use would give Twitter a valuation of … wait for it … ON BILLION DOLLARS! Just a moment, just a moment…. over at his own blog Nate’s making that valuation 1.5 billion. Hey, what’s half a billion in the bubble economy, anyway?
The idea is, I suppose, OK as an out of the box thinking experiment, and it’s true people would jump from PayPal in a New York Minute because they are so usurous with fees, but I think it’s dumb for about a billion reasons. Here are 3.5 of them:
* Nobody trusts Twitter to stay up, let alone handle their money, protect their checking accounts and credit cards, etc.
* Nobody sends a few bucks here and there very often –
* C’mon Nate, you can’t develop a billion dollar website 1.5 billion dollar website based on people sending a few bucks back and forth.
* The short symbolic chatter at Twitter will not be a comfortable way for most people to send money, even those that *are comfortable with* symbolic chatter. Moving money is important and you want some checks and balances on your own quick activity. Paypal has it’s problems, but it’s secure and intuitive for most transactions (though not all – I’d be thrilled to see some competition from Google checkout in this space).