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MISSION:INTANGIBLE, the blog of the Intangible Asset Finance Society, offers critical comments on intangible asset, corporate reputation, and finance; supplemented by quantitative reputation metrics. Intangible assets include business processes, patents, trademarks; reputations for ethics and integrity; quality, safety, sustainability, security, and resilience; and comprise 70% of the average company's value. MISSION:INTANGIBLE is a registered trademark of the Intangible Asset Finance Society.

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Twitter: Canary in the coal mine

C. HUYGENS - Sunday, June 14, 2015
Life for an actual canary in a coal mine, like that of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, could be described in three words: "short but meaningful."

Canaries are especially sensitive to toxic gases like methane and carbon monoxide, which made them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the bird kept tweeting, the miners knew their air supply was safe.

After five years at the helm, the toxicity of criticism proved to be too much. Last week, one of the company’s biggest shareholders and cheerleaders, Chris Sacca, publicly called for a change in management. Mr. Costolo announced that he plans to stop singing July 1.

Investor hope springs eternal. Twitter shares rose more than 7 percent in after-hours trading immediately after the change in leadership was announced. The Reputational Value Metrics, ranking Twitter's Reputation Premium at below the first decile  (shown below), suggest other stakeholders have modest expectations.

In the coal mines, the sudden end to a canary's incessant tweeting signaled need for an immediate evacuation.

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