Twitter Hires Maps Exec Away From Google

GoogleWDnetStudio / Pixabay

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is losing one of its top product heads to Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), according to news breaking on Tuesday. Daniel Graf, who was head of the Google Maps, unit is leaving the company to take a position as vice president of consumer products at the micro-blogging site.

Mr. Graf tweeted about his move on Tuesday afternoon. His position as head of consumer products comes at a time when new user growth is paramount in the eyes of Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) investors. The company has shown several signs of weakness since going public last year, and its stock price is reflecting the loss of confidence. Whether or not the company manages to turn itself into a money-making concern depends on products that are likely to be released under Graf’s eye.

Product development makes or breaks Twitter

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has been aggressively responding to the slowdown in new user growth by implementing a design change on its main site, and trying to give users more options to customize the flow of the service. The recruitment of a knowledgeable executive from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is a Silicon Valley omen of change, and Mr. Graf may begin his work before the year is out.

Mr. Graf delivered a statement about the move over Twitter itself: “Followed Maps to find that the flock was just around the corner — excited to take wing with the @twitter product team.” The company’s CEO Dan Costello tweeted “we couldn’t be more excited. Looking forward to having you here next month,” in reply.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) shareholders will be counting on the executive to change the company’s offerings in order to retain users and bring new ones on board. Mr. Graf’s efforts as vice president of consumer products will be an important driver of value at Twitter in the months to come.

Twitter value continues to be questioned

Twitter has lost a large amount of its value in the early months of 2014, and that trend isn’t showing much evidence of slowing. The momentum bust of the early part of the new year left the company’s stock down 33% since January 1 on Tuesday afternoon. Since it went public last November Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has lost around 5% of its value.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is still unprofitable and analysts are expecting it to just about break even for the full year 2014. A public company making a loss is always a questionable investment, but an internet company unable to expand its user base is even more worrying. Twitter can bring on board all of the data analysis firms it wants, if it doesn’t have enough of a user base to analyze it’s a wasted effort.

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Paul Shea
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