The energy exception
As alluded to in the previous story, 2022 was a tough year for the stock market. As of Dec 15th, the S&P 500 Index was down 17% this year — with 338 of its ~500 members losing ground. The exceptions, of course, were energy companies — many of which raked in record profits during the year.
The tech and media sectors in particular had something of a reckoning. PayPal and Tesla lost more than 50% in value, while countless others — including Amazon, Alphabet and Disney — shed more than a third of their value.
As public market malaise fed through to private markets, VCs became cautious, despite a record amount of dry powder sitting on the sidelines. As startups struggled with funding, finances were squeezed — bringing the end of the hiring spree for big tech and more substantial layoffs at startups.
With tech stocks souring and Tesla shares tumbling, Elon Musk’s $44bn Twitter takeover offer in April looked more-regrettable with each month that passed, with Musk recently dethroned as the world’s richest person.
Eventually, the 6-month+ will-they-won’t-they saga concluded, and Musk completed his acquisition in October. It is, of course, hard to say exactly what will happen with Musk as Chief Twit, but with sharp staffing cuts, an advertiser exodus, and a subscription-focused revamp of the verification system, it’s clear that a shifting business model is afoot.
Beyond Twitter, it’s been a busy year across social media — the fickle industry we all love to hate — where platforms come and go at breakneck speed.
Mark Zuckerberg has been betting big on his Metaverse ambitions... and finding it hard going. Meta has shed some ~$800bn in value since its market cap. peak — suggesting many aren’t quite as invested in Mark's new online world.
Meanwhile, TikTok’s been doing, well, what TikTok does — getting bigger and bigger. Even as regulation threatens to slow the Chinese-owned platform’s meteoric rise, TikTok has been hitting huge revenue milestones at unparalleled pace this year. In a completely unrelated set of events, every other social platform has decided that short-form vertical video is a really cool idea.
It’s also been a big year for socials looking to take things back to basics, like BeReal. The app invites users to shun the carefully-crafted style that other platforms encourage, which proved to be a huge hit this year. Donald Trump's TRUTH Social also launched to much fanfare, though the platform is yet to breakout beyond the ex-president's core fanbase.