Last night I spoke to Chris Sacca, one of the most prominent investors in Venture Capital history, he was one of the first investors in Twitter (owning a whooping amount), and he’s shark on ABC’s Shark Tank. Now as impressive as this sentence may sound, I should note we spoke on Twitter. You probably just said, “Oh” and have become less interested in me because I am no longer truly connected to the Silicon Valley inside circle, this is true. But it’s also true that we spoke. I sent him a message, he read it, took time to think, CC’ed another person, and respond back. Below is the tweet:
He also gave it a ❤️, which is the Twitter equivalent to “You’re welcome.”
I reached out because my girlfriend and I are planning a ski trip to Tahoe. She asked me to do research. I casually told her, “Cool I just ask Chris Sacca.” He mentioned Tahoe in an interview I read and he’s one of the few tech celebrities my girlfriend is familiar with because she heard him on Gimlet Media’s Startup Podcast. She rolled her eyes and wished I would just research the damn area. Nevertheless, I sent out the tweet and sure enough there was a response. She couldn’t believe it. I felt pretty cool, even though Chris and I are far from bffs.
Now, I’ve engaged with noteworthy people on Twitter before, just like the millions of other users, that’s the true value of the platform. Never before in history could you speak to a noteworthy person or even the President and get a response, even if it’s as small as a ❤️. I began to think, “What would I have to pay to get the same access?” Math isn’t my strongest subject but let’s give this a shot.
Sacca is worth $1.21 billion (way to go Chris!) and his firm has $33 million AUM as of last year. And his time (the only non-renewable resource for us humans) is incredibly valuable, but what would be his actual hourly rate? The way I’ve calculated this is by researching financiers who have a similar net-worth and operate a firm with a comparable AUM at publicly traded companies where their salaries are public. The number I ended up with is $10,000/hour. That means every 2 hours he earns a Volkswagen, that’s a lot scratch. Price this out by minute and you get $167/minute. So our little Tweet session, if I paid him out of pocket, would be ~$334!
This blows my mind because I (like many of the millions of users on Twitter) tweet to dozens of high profile people all the time and sometimes get responses. From Gary Vaynerchuk to Casey Neistat to Joe Biden (for the record: he didn’t take me up on a request to grab ice-cream). I’d like to note that most of my tweets are thought-provoking or seeking real advice.
Now imagine of Twitter mailed you a bill for all of that engagement you’ve had with high profile people and even friends of yours that work normal wage jobs? What would the cost be? Imagine if you had to pay it? Twitter, who has been riding the struggle bus for 2 years now seeking effective monetization, would become the most profitable companies on Earth. If they could monetize the 200 billion tweets sent each year I’m sure the shareholders would be happy, but of course you’d have 0 users the following morning. So there’s that.
Thankfully you will never receive a bill from Twitter even though you’re getting all of this free access. It’s an unfortunate paradox that the company is struggling to boom like it’s bigger social brother Facebook. I’ve written before about how Twitter can be an empathy machine, but it looks like Facebook and nascent companies like Magic Leap are going to dominate that space. It’s unfortunate but not sad because that is simply how the system of capitalism works. I don’t know about you but I’m glad I’ll never see a bill of that magnitude for my tweets.