Over the last couple of years, the cavalcade of reported suitors has ranged from Tencent Holdings Ltd. (TCEHY) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) to Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM) , with the CEOs of Disney and Salesforce previously acknowledging they considered buying the company.
"There is a lot of strength to our independence because we can work on every device (and) through every single medium," Dorsey said at a Goldman, Sachs & Co. (GS) tech conference in San Francisco. Shares of Twitter gained 8% Tuesday to close at $33.44; they were down 0.7% on Wednesday in early morning trading.
"We're not constrained by the particular whims of one platform versus another," he explained. "A lot of our power is able to be in-between."
Twitter's fourth-quarter financial performance got strong reviews, but it also benefitted from a low bar.
The social media network reached GAAP profitability for the first time with net income hitting $91 million. Revenues inched 2% higher to $732 million, but Wall Street expected just $686.5 million.
While Twitter does not disclose the daily average users on its platform, it did say that the number increased by 12% -- the fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. Monthly average users were stuck at 330 million, the same number Twitter disclosed in the prior quarter and just 4% above the prior year.
Facebook Inc. (FB) , by comparison, ended the year with 2.1 billion monthly average users and 1.4 billion daily average users.
Dorsey said that Twitter needs to develop a model "that is not only sustainable but also thrives," and acknowledged that the company is not there yet. "We have a lot left to prove but we're proving it little by little every day," he said.
Twitter aims to use machine learning and deep learning technology to make it easier for users -- and new users in particular -- to find what they need.
"If we see a signal that someone is interested in finance and they are in a context that can actually consume video live right now, we need to deliver that," he said, noting that Twitter has failed if the user has to search for the content. "And in that sense, we are failing today because we don't have a lot of the personalization that we need and we don't have those dedicated areas."
It takes the average Golden State Warriors fan, for instance, too many months to discover that the account they really need to follow belongs not to ESPN or to the San Francisco Chronicle, but to Mary Babers-Green, mother of forward Draymond Green.
"She is hilarious. I mean she is really, really funny and watching the game with her makes it a lot more entertaining," Dorsey said. The catch is that "no one would know that she's on our service if they didn't do the work to find her."
A year into the Trump presidency, Dorsey acknowledged that political fatigue has likely hit many users. Because of the agility of Twitter's platform, Dorsey said, the conversation can quickly change from politics to sports, obituaries or another topic of the day.
"Twitter is a very good mirror for what is happening in the world," he said of the public conversation that drive tweets. "At our worst it makes people be a lot more reflexive and at our best it makes people be a lot more reflective," he said.
To better society, Twitter should develop new products to do the latter. To better its financial model, it needs to do it at greater scale.
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