At its IPO, Twitter had more than 85 million outstanding shares subject to RSUs with an average grant-date value of $16.89. With about 3,900 employees, Twitter is almost twice as big today as it was then.
When the stock was trading in the $40s and $50s from 2013 to early 2015, employees were getting paid in restricted stock at those prices.
Of course, early employees are still in good shape. The weighted per-share average price of options issued in 2010 and 2011 was 55 cents and $1.34, respectively, according to Twitter's IPO prospectus.
There's a positive spin to the stock's slide, according to Wieser. Employees and prospects who see Twitter's impressive reach and view the stock as beaten down could be excited about the opportunity to accumulate equity at a discount.
"If they believe in the company, they have to believe the stock is cheap, in which case they know the next issuance will provide value," Wieser said.
That's a big if. Twitter has a business conundrum that's proving difficult to address.
Facebook keeps growing and Snapchat is capturing the younger generation, but Twitter has stagnated with the number of monthly active users increasing only 3 percent in the second quarter from the previous period to 313 million. Sales growth of 20 percent in the quarter was by far the lowest rate of expansion since the company's IPO.
Stock compensation "is more a symptom of the problem than a problem by itself," said Aswath Damodaran, a finance professor at New York University's Stern School, in an e-mail. "Twitter's problems are more fundamental. They cannot figure out how to monetize their users."