From Twitter to ‘X’: Unpacking the Implications of the ‘Everything App’ 

Are we ready for an ‘everything app’? Twitter’s metamorphosis into ‘X’ under Elon Musk might be a game-changer for the tech industry, but what does it mean for startups? Let’s explore… 

Elon Musk is one of the faces of our time. A polarising figure, to say the least. Whatever you think about the man, he will be intrinsically linked to some of the most talked-about innovations of the last twenty years or so.  

Of course, the hot news in the last week is his decision to rebrand Twitter, one of the planet’s most popular social media networks, to ‘X’.  

It is a letter that Musk appears to have a mild obsession with. SpaceX being a well-known entity. The company he formed to purchase Twitter in the first place is called ‘X Holdings’. There is also the name of his son. The list goes on… 

Less discussed but equally controversial at the time was his desire for PayPal to be rebranded as, back in 2000.  

The insights at the time was that the ‘X’ brand named was too-often linked to pornography in the mind of the consumer. Musk was stubborn, though, in his belief that it was the right move. At the time he stated: 

“If you want to just be a niche payment system, PayPal is better, but if you want to take over the world’s financial system, then X is the better name.” 

This is an important insight when you consider the widely reported desire Musk holds to transform the Twitter platform into what is commonly referred to as an ‘everything app’. The parallels are quite clear. 

Musk reportedly made his intentions clear to Twitter staff in June last year, stating, “You basically live on WeChat in China. If we can recreate that with Twitter, we’ll be a great success.” 

To elaborate, the WeChat app in China provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast messaging, video conferencing, video games, mobile payment, sharing of photographs and videos and location sharing. It is regularly described as China’s ‘everything app’. 

Given our position of championing scale-up businesses in the tech and sustainability sectors, this news has naturally got us thinking. Not about whether we like the new logo or if we think ‘X’ is a good name.  

Instead, we’ve been asking ourselves about the potential implications of an ‘everything app’. What would this mean for new startups. Does it present a threat or an opportunity? Let’s discuss… 


Market Monopolisation 

‘X’ poses a threat to startups by potentially monopolising several markets. With its vast range of services, it might limit the opportunities for startups to compete in specific niches. 

Dependency and Vulnerability 

Were the platform to gain traction in the areas it plans to grow into, startups would become more reliant on ‘X’. In doing so, they would also become more vulnerable to changes in its policies, pricing, or algorithms. Any sudden changes could seriously impact a startup’s visibility or its ability to engage with its customers. 

Data Privacy and Security 

Centralising services in one app raises significant concerns around data privacy and security. People take issue with the implication of one company having access to all of your data. Take your health record, for example. It’s important for your GP buy you wouldn’t want your financial advisor to know that you have haemorrhoids!  

Startups could be put in a precarious position if there are breaches, leaks or misuses of data. 


Integrated Platform 

‘X’ provides startups a single platform to reach out to their customers, where they can offer services and products, engage in marketing and social interactions, and even perform transactions. It simplifies the customer journey by reducing the steps between the discovery of a product and its purchase, thus potentially increasing conversion rates. 

Broader Audience Reach 

As ‘X’ offers multiple services, it may attract a more diverse demographic than the original Twitter user base, expanding the target audience for startups. 

Data Insights 

‘X’ might grant access to aggregated user data, enabling startups to better understand their customer base, optimize their products or services, and devise targeted marketing strategies. 

Ecosystem Support 

By offering integration with other services like taxi-hailing or e-commerce, ‘X’ might promote an ecosystem where startups can symbiotically benefit from the popularity and user base of established services. 

Beyond the direct opportunities and threats of what might happen, what else is currently taking place in Twitter’s universe? Will they be the only platform exploring this sort of thing or is there a race to the proverbial finish line already underway? 

The most obvious competitor is, of course, Meta. They have recently launched Threads in direct opposition to the Twitter platform. Threads has been built by a mere 20 people (approx.) in less than nine months.  

Initial reviews are very positive and there are many updates and improvements still in the pipeline. Also, it could well be said that the Meta ‘family’ of businesses is already providing something of an ‘everything’ service to people at present. Sure, there may be a way to go but many bases are already being covered. Facebook Marketplace for one… 

Their growth and competition may be seen as a factor that is forcing the hands of Elon Musk and co..  

Another issue affecting the potential future impact of ‘X’ would be the changes to the user experience and interface of the app. Traditional Twitter users would not necessarily be receiving the experience they were once coming for. Could this reduce user numbers and, therefore, the progress of the platform itself?  

In conclusion, Twitter’s metamorphosis into ‘X’ will (potentially) usher-in a new era of integrated digital services. A new world of opportunities for startups? Definitely. Significant challenges? Absolutely.  

The move towards ‘everything apps’ might be inevitable in the digital era, but it is essential for startups to balance the opportunities with the threats, and strategically navigate this new landscape.  

Startups and businesses looking to exploit the opportunities created will need to address any skill gaps they have to arm themselves with the talent capable of succeeding in these areas.  

When we ask ourselves about whether the ‘X’ platform presents an opportunity or a threat, it may come down to knowledge and experience.  

Can you see the door opening to an opportunity or do you feel elbowed-out by the treat of a powerhouse moving into your space?