The metaphor should be lost on no one: it's the first generational change to the S&P 500 and it must be hailed as the beginning of the end of the old-school companies and a new chapter for the new school of businesses and their ethos.
When Bayer AG announced the acquisition of Monsanto two years ago, Monsanto was already viewed with skepticism as a company because of its creation of Agent Orange, the American scourge during the Vietnam War, and the pioneering work toward genetically modified seeds, the GMOs that so many millennials despise. How controversial, how reviled is Monsanto? One way to look at it is that Bayer has elected to scrap the once-hallowed name of Monsanto itself with the Bayer CEO, Warner Bauman saying about the change that it is "too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill."
Of course, the issue here is progress itself: millennials believe that Monsanto has taken it too far and that natural and organic is the way to go. I know many millennials who run from anything with GMO and the trend has only accelerated since the acquisition. Bayer itself plans to abandon the Monsanto name after the takeover deal is finalized this week.
At the same time, the addition of Twitter represents an incredible contrast: Twitter makes nothing. It doesn't produce anything of real progress. It's created by millennials and, at one point, was thought to be for millennials yet has become the preferred way for the President of the United States to communicate with the country. It's his unfiltered, natural and organic way to communicate with the nation and the world. Without it, you have to assume that the president would have to hold press conferences or make presidential proclamations that would then be critiqued endlessly by the media, most of which he despises.
One would think, by the way, that Howard Schultz, the man who built Starbucks (SBUX) , could similarly use Twitter to get the word out except that you have to believe that the media would be far more likely to do the bidding of Schultz given his affinity for precisely the kinds of journalists that the President despises. Or to put it a little more neutrally, the journalists as a group are considered more globalist, something that Schultz, is, given his international comfort, while the President is more nationalist, given his outspoken defense of the U.S. even when there is nothing to defend against.
Twitter has gotten to a place it's large enough and relevant enough and representative enough of the new economy, something Monsanto was at one time when it shed its old line chemical business and became a seed company with biotech trappings. That's become old school; Twitter is new school.
The ascent of Twitter is quite amazing. A little less than a year ago, its stock was at $15 after a series of misses and faux pas. It became little more than a takeover story, with first Salesforce (CRM) taking a run at it, largely because of its big data possibilities and then several media companies considered bids as its popularity grew.
Now that seems off the table as it has become a fast-growing earnings story that is now too big to be swallowed without hurting the acquirers' earnings.
How did this all happen? I would say because advertisers desired an alternative to Facebook and the advent of video programming, especially sports, made it an easy call as the popularity grew at a far more consistent pace.
So, it's out with the once-thought-of- as-new GMO makers and now just reviled biotech food company, and in with the social media upstart that makes nothing itself and is natural and organic in its progressive growth and ethos.