Just last week we were finally able to report that Twitter does intend to become a profitable business and this week CEO Dick Costolo took it a little further at Fortune Brainstorm Tech. Adam Lashinsky fired off some questions at Costolo about Google+, Promoted Tweets and the like, some of which Costolo answered and others he responded to.
Not surprisingly the first question asked was in regards to the Fortune cover titled "Trouble at Twitter." Costolo responded with some stats like Twitter's website getting 400 million unique hits per month and that their users generate 1 billion tweets every 5 days, which is an improvement from June, where it took seven days to reach 1 billion tweets. Costolo also mentioned that their mobile usage is growing 40% every quarter.
That's not all the Twitter CEO had to say. Hit the break to find out else was said.
The next question Lashinsky asked was about Biz Stone and Ev Williams leaving. This has been a topic of interest and Costolo feels as if the focus should be on building up a management team, not the exiting of the founders.
In late 2009, we started putting together a senior management team at the company. The media has focused on the founders coming and going, but really what's happened is we've built this senior leadership team. We need a couple more senior engineering managers. We are going to be bringing in a senior marketing executive. One of the most interesting things about Twitter is it's one of the most powerful brands in the world, that blue bird, but we don't have anyone curating that internally.
Skipping forward a little bit, Costolo starts talking about the advertising opportunities that Twitter has and wants to take advantage of, all of which offer advertisers the opportunity to take advantage of global, real-time advertising since Twitter is available on a variety of devices. Twitter also wants to develop an ecosystem that will offer up core analytics and CRM services but probably not much more. Their goal is to keep things as simple as possible.
That goal is in-line with Twitter trying to stay focused and ignoring secondary markets that Facebook and Google+ are battling over right now. Costolo seems to think that it would be real easy for Twitter to get sucked into that but they intend to hold their ground.
The simple answer is it's a distraction. We and Zynga and Facebook have had to retroactively put lots of policies in place to constrain that. Because it's a brave new world you worry about the people buying, are they accredited, what do they know, who's going to get in trouble in the end of the day if it doesn't work out.
Overall I think that Costolo keeping the blinders on Twitter is a good move. If you intend to compete with Google in the already overcrowded market for online advertising, you should probably get really good at it. His focus on building the company from the inside out is also a good thing. If their users see value and potential in their service, Costolo has to foster that same value and the passion to harvest Twitter's potential in it's employees. Couple this with his understanding that they need to sink more money into infrastructure to support their growth internally and externally, if they can get the funding. It just might be possible for them to pull it off.
Something else encouraging for all to hear is in fact a vision statement. This from a company that until recently didn't even care about having a business plan comes to me as a bit of a shock but is still welcome none-the-less.
Our mission is offering simplicity in a world of complexity. If you just look in your side view mirror, you say, 'Twitter's going to be the world in your pocket... now with video chat,' then you lose your way.