9 highlights from Snapchat CEO’s 6000-word leaked memo on survival

Adults, not adolescents. Messaging, not Stories. Markets in development, not the United States. This is how Snapchat will return, according to CEO Evan Spiegel . In an internal 6,000 word memo at the end of September that was leaked to Alex Heath of Cheddar, Spiegel attempts to revive employee morale with philosophy, tactics and repentance as Snap's stock price plunges to a historic low around of $ 8, half of its IPO price third of its peak.

"The biggest mistake we made with our redesign was compromising the value of our main product being the fastest way to communicate" Spiegel highlights throughout the memo on the "Project Cheetah". It's the chat that made Snapchat special, and burying it in a feed combined with Stories and not building a fast-loading Android application has had disastrous consequences.

Spiegel shows great maturity here, impatiently admitting Strategic moves and tracing a cohesive path forward. There is no mention of Snapchat that governs the world of social applications here. It seems he understands that he is probably out of reach in the face of Instagram's competitive attack. On the other hand, Snapchat is satisfied if he can help us express ourselves while we finally reach even lower profitability.

Snapchat can be perceived as a toy to win enough adults, too late to recover the international markets of the Facebook empire and too copyable By sufficiently good alternatives to grow truly massive. But if Snap can follow Spiegel's game plan, he could forge a sustainable market through a small but loyal audience that wants to communicate through images.

These are the most interesting comments in the memo and why they are important:

1. Apologizing for rushing The redesign

"There were, of course, some inconveniences to move as fast as a cheetah. We rush into our redesign, solving a problem but creating many others. . . Unfortunately, we did not give ourselves enough time to continue iterating and testing the redesign with a smaller percentage of our community. As a result, we had to continue with our iterations after the launch, which caused a lot of frustration for our community. "

Spiegel always insisted on his instincts instead of relying on data from users like Facebook. His main audience misinterpreted what the teenagers cared about.The appealing catchphrase of "separating the social from the media" also meant merging messages and stories into a chaotic list that made both of them more difficult to use. learned a valuable decrease on the importance of A / B tests.

2. Chat Is King

"Our algorithmic redistribution of Feed from friends made it harder to find the right people with the ones to talk about, and acting too quickly meant that we did not have time to optimize the Friends feed for faster performance. We slow down our product and erode the value of the main product. . . . Unfortunately, at that time we did not understand that the biggest problem with our redesign was not the frustration of the influencers, it was the frustration of the members of our community who felt it was more difficult to communicate. . . In our enthusiasm to innovate and bring many new products to the world, we have lost the core of what made Snapchat the fastest way to communicate. "

When Snap unveiled the changes for the first time, we predicted that" the Teen Snap addicts could complain that the redesign is confusing, mixing all the content of friends. " That made it too annoying to take your friends to send messages to them, and Snap's growth rate imploded, with the loss of 3 million users in the last quarter. Expect Snap to optimize its engineering to make messages get sent and receive faster, and even sacrifice some of its alarms to make chat faster in developing markets.

3. Snapchat must beat Facebook in Best Friends

"Your best friend in a given week contributes with 25% of the volume of Snap sending. When you get 18 friends, each incremental friend contributes less than 1% of the total volume of instant shipments each. "Finding the best friends is a different problem than finding more friends, so we must think of new ways to help people find the friends they care about most."

The biggest structural disadvantage of Facebook is its large graphic of friends that is crowded to include the family. Co-workers, bosses and distant acquaintances. That could be fine in a news application, but not for stories and messages where you only care about your closest friends. With lists of friends and more, Facebook has tried and failed for a decade to find better ways to communicate with your best friends. This is the wedge through which Snapchat can attack Facebook. If you develop special features to attract your best friends to the application and keep in touch with them for better reasons than just maintaining a "Streak", you could hit Facebook where you can not defend yourself.

[19659006] 4. Discover Soars As Facebook Watch And IGTV Stumble

"Our programs continue to attract more and more viewers, with more than 18 programs reaching monthly audiences of more than 10 million viewers unique 12 of which are original productions. As a platform in general, we have increased the amount of total time devoted to participate in our product Shows, almost tripling since the beginning of the year. Our audience for Publisher Stories has increased more than 20% year-on-year, and we believe there is an important opportunity to continue increasing the number of people involved with Discover content. . . We are also working to identify content that performs well outside Snapchat so we can take it to Discover. "

Discover is still Snapchat's biggest differentiator, with premium video content created for mobile devices, but what it really needs are some tentacle shows that have to be seen to drag a wider audience that can get hooked with the experience of the reimagined digital magazine

5. But Discover Is A Mess

"Our content team is working hard to experiment with new designs and content types as a result of our redesign to generate greater commitment"

Snapchat Discover is a heap of overpopulated clickbait.Media, influential people on social media, original videos and aggregate user content collections struggle for attention in a design that seems overwhelming to the point of exhaustion Fortunately, Snapchat seems to recognize that a more cohesive classification with fewer images and headlines Bombing can make Discover a more enjoyable and enjoyable consumer experience.

6. Aging to earn money

"Most of the incremental growth in our core markets, such as the US. UU., The United Kingdom and France, will have to come from older users that generate a higher average income per user. . . Growing in the oldest demography will force us to mature our application. . . Many older users see Snapchat as frivolous or a waste of time because they think Snapchat is a social network rather than a faster way to communicate. Changing the design language of our product and improving our marketing and communications around Snapchat will help users understand our value. . . aging our community in the central markets will also help the media, advertisers and Wall Street to understand Snapchat. "

Snapchat can not be just for cool kids anymore. Their lower purchasing power and lifestyle make them less attractive to brands. The problem is that Snapchat runs the risk of shutting down younger users when courting their older siblings or adults. If, like Facebook, users start to feel that Snapchat is a place for parents, they may fail to find the next function designed specifically to confuse adults and keep them fashionable.

7. Finally, give priority to developing markets

"We already have many projects underway to unlock the value of the main product in new markets. Mushroom allows our community to use Snapchat on low-end devices. Arroyo, our new gateway architecture, will speed up messaging and many other services. . . It may be necessary to change our products to different markets where some of our value-added features detract from our core value. "

Sources tell me that Snapchat's future depends on the engineering review of its Android application. , a project whose code name is "Mushroom". Slow video loading times and errors have made Snapchat practically unusable in low bandwidth connections and in old Android phones the developing world, the company focused on the markets of the US and other first world markets, leaving the door open to the copies of the stories created by Instagram (400 million daily users) and WhatsApp (450 million daily users) to invade the developing world and the total of 188 million daily Snap dwarf users In the hope of good development, Snapchat is already proban do Mushroom, but you will have to do a lot of marketing activities to convince the frustrated users who abandoned the application to try again.

8. Fresh ideas, separate applications

"We are currently creating software that takes the millions of Snaps sent to our history and reconstructs parts of the world in 3D, then we can build augmented reality experiences on those models and distribute them as Lenses … If our innovation commits our main product to be the fastest way to communicate, we should consider creating [sic] separate applications or other ways of delivering our innovation. "

Snapchat has big plans for augmented reality. You do not just want to paste animations over any place, or create AR art installations in a few large cities. He wants to build site-specific AR experiences around the world. And although everything the company has built to date has lived on Snapchat, it is willing to generate independent applications if necessary so that it does not get stuck in its messaging service. That could give Snapchat more freedom to experiment.

9. The Freedom Of Profitability

"Our goal of stretched production for 2019 will be an acceleration in revenue growth and cash flow and profitability throughout the year. With profitability, comes greater autonomy and freedom to operate our business in the best long-term interest of our community without the pressure of having to raise additional capital. "

Snapchat is still losing money, losing $ 353 million in the last quarter. Snapchat ended up selling 2.3 percent of its capital to a Saudi Arabian prince in exchange for $ 250 million to lengthen its shortening track. And last year they took $ 2 billion from Chinese gaming giant Tencent. Offers of this type could threaten Snapchat's ability to prioritize its objectives alone, not the moral imperatives or development platforms that would benefit its benefactors. Once it's profitable, Snapchat will not have to worry so much about struggling with short-term user growth and, instead, it can focus on retention, social impact and its true purpose: creativity.