Don’t be misled by this chart Twitter used in its IPO filing

Don’t be misled by this chart Twitter used in its IPO filing

By David Yanofsky @YAN0 October 3, 2013

Twitter included in its IPO filing a chart of monthly active users—MAUs as it calls them. These numbers are significant for investors trying to assess how fast Twitter will grow in the future—and it’s clearly in the company’s interest to make the growth rate look as impressive as possible. Twitter’s chart looks like this:

g564001g90u15

If you were just looking at the bars you might make the assumption that from March 2012 to June 2013 monthly active users tripled—the June 2013 bar is three times the size of the March 2012 bar. But if you look carefully you’ll see that the chart’s y-axis starts at 100 million, and if you look at the numbers on top of the bars you’ll see that over this time period user growth was only 58%. Here’s a more accurate chart of the same data, with the y-axis set at zero:

twitter-monthly-active-users-mau_chartbuilder-1

The flawed Twitter chart appears at the beginning of the filing. But in fairness, Twitter does provide bar charts of its user growth with y-axes that start at zero later in the document. See page 61.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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