April 25

Lords and Peasants

Hey there, peasants and lords of the internet! Back in November, Elon Musk tweeted about Twitter’s new “Lord and Peasant” model. Effective yesterday, if you want a blue checkmark on your Twitter profile, you’ll have to cough up $8 a month. It doesn’t matter if you’re a politician, celebrity, or journalist. You’ll have to pay up. (Well, unless you’re LeBron James, Stephen King, and William Shatner, I guess).

So move over, feudal lords – it’s Twitter’s turn to play the Game of Thrones.

As Product Managers, we’re always looking for ways to make a buck. But, there is a larger debate here about whether or not it’s fair to charge for something that was once free. On one hand, Twitter needs to make money somehow. It’s pretty well known that they’ve been bleeding cash both before and after Musk took the helm. On the other hand, this move is certainly going to create even more of a divide in the Twitterverse. Some even are saying it could be the start of the demise of Twitter. While I’m not so sure that’s true just yet, I’m also not personally paying for the privilege to have the blue checkmark next to my name unless I see other real benefits added to the program.

At the end of the day, product managers need to strike a balance between revenue and inclusivity. Maybe Twitter could find a way to offer premium features without creating such a clear divide. Or maybe we’ll all just have to accept that we’re either peasants or lords and move on with our lives. We’ll just have to see.

For more on all of this, check out Rocketship.FM’s latest episode on the Elon Musk brand of Twitter – was released, appropriately, yesterday… on April 20th. You’re welcome, Elon.

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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