Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making Dick Costolo An Offer He Can't Refuse

The Telegraph: Twitter lacks ‘clear long term vision’ admits new CEO: I am currently trying to define what Twitter’s purpose is in the long term. .... Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and chairman, added that it was difficult to try and define Twitter’s function and purpose, as so many of its uses had been defined by its users over the past four years..... mindful of Twitter not losing its company culture, as it opens up offices around the world. ...... , similar to other US technology companies, such as Facebook, most of its international offices would be sales focused as opposed to having a product development division.
Vision happens at the DNA level. Founding CEOs who turbocharge - Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg come to mind - are few and far between. People say it is not the idea, it is the execution. But then big, unsexy companies execute all the time. Then people say, it is not the execution, it is the ideas. But then startups with great ideas flounder all the time. It is quite a chicken and egg situation, don't you think?

Twitter's case is tricky. It is a great company that could hope to reach newer heights of greatness. The fundamental question is this: why is Twitter not riding the global mobile web craze? Something went amiss somewhere along the way.

It is amazing to me Twitter has no Gowalla. Facebook has competition, predecessors, imitators. Same with Google. But not Twitter. It's quite amazing. SMS might have inspired Twitter, but it can not be called a predecessor.
VentureBeat: What’s Twitter’s big vision? Twitter CEO says he’s figuring it out: Twitter seems to have made a virtue of essentially flying by the seat of its pants. Twitter is one of the classic examples of how a technology can seem head-scratchingly frivolous (hence the constant “why should I read about what someone’s having for breakfast?”-type questions) until people started using it in powerful and unforeseeable ways. .... Ev Williams recently said Twitter is currently “in a transition.” ..... Twitter co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey is quoted in the Guardian article while Williams is not. Williams pushed Dorsey out of the CEO role in 2008, and while Dorsey is supposedly still focused on his mobile payments startup Square, there are rumors that he’s getting more involved in Twitter too, at Costolo’s request.
I have talked about Twitter at this blog more than any other company, I think. The label Google appears more often, but that is because Google ends up being one of the labels even for posts that are only tangentially about Google. But in terms of explicit posts focused on just one company, I think Twitter is number one at this blog.
Business Insider: Twitter CEO: We Still Don't Know What Twitter Is For: users have come up with a lot of past innovations like the hashtag. ..... despite its fast user growth and the introduction of new revenue sources like sponsored tweets and selling access to data, Twitter still isn't booking a lot of revenue .... the Promoted Products Platform isn't open to general advertisers through a self-service platform (like Google's AdWords, for instance) ..... if Twitter sells too many ads, the signal-to-noise ratio will drop and users will abandon the service. ..... the company now has 325 people and is trying to figure out how to grow without creating crippling bureaucracy, and that it has a "scalability problem" that will soon require more data centers
I am publicly offering my services to Costolo and will send this to him as a tweet: a business consultant that will engage in some DNA surgery. Asking price: $500 per hour, for about 20 hours for phase one of the work, pay half in advance, half upon task completion. If you like what you see, phase two is at a higher price, half in stock, half cash.

I think Twitter's ambition has to be to become central to the mobile web experience. Scalibility is not the reason Twitter has not made major feature advances. Facebook has had to scale much more. It is not lack of money. Twitter has not lacked for investors for years now. So what is it? It has been vision. Twitter has been kneecapped due to vision poverty. And I can help.
Dave Winer: What should Twitter's vision be?: the Telegraph quoting new Twitter CEO Dick Costolo ..... I think what he did here was admirable because it's so obviously true. .... They've always been ragtag, and I'm pretty sure they always will. It's in their DNA. And besides, companies as they grow never get more competent, they always get less. ..... I won't even go out to eat at a restaurant that looks good from the street, that was recommended by someone I like, without looking it up on Yelp and seeing what other people thought. It's amazing to me how unhelpful most vendors' sites are in my buying decision. .... Ads almost never influence my buying decision. .... service isn't very good for providing info about products people may want to buy. I can't even keep track of what cities my friends are in with Twitter .... intelligence, smarts, even brilliance and vision, that comes from not being immersed in the very limited vision of Silicon Valley which boils down to "we know what's right." ...... he admits they don't know what's right. Hold on to that, and never let it go. The wisdom about your product is not in SOMA, it's "out there" -- the rest of the world that SV works so hard to abstract and simplify. It's not simple, it's rich and very very different from what you think it is
Twitter does not have a revenue problem. It has a vision problem. Revenue will come. Twitter will make a ton of money. But the Twitter experience has to grow. It has to become much, much better. Twitter is in such a sweet spot, and it does not know it.

Twitter, FourSquare: Mobile Web Thingies
Twitter Is Massively Complex
User Friendly Twitter? Get Out Of Town
Chris Dixon On Twitter: Not Impressive
Towards Threaded Conversations On Twitter
Twitter: The Obvious Missing Features
Twitter Has To Scale The Signals
Twitter Need Get Work Done
Twitter Needs To Eat Into Its Ecosystem
My Twitter Suspension Lifted
TweetDeck, Power Twitter, Twitter Globe, Better Than Facebook
I Get Twitter
Fractals: Apple, Windows 95, Netscape, Google, Facebook, Twitter
Twitter Should Hand Over Search To Google
Goal: A Billion People On Twitter
My Relationship With Ashton Kutcher
Paul Graham, Brad Feld, Me, BBC
Netizen Has Arrived: A Link From AVC

When Twittergate happened on TechCrunch, one of the things I noticed was the Twitter guys were talking in terms of a billion people on Twitter around the same time I was. I am going to call that mind meld.

And if phase two work goes well as well, I'd consider going full time with Twitter as their Chief Vision Officer. At that point Dick Costolo gets to make me an offer I can't refuse. Make it stock heavy.

What I intend to perform is DNA level surgery.

Twitter Should Go For A Netscape-Like IPO
FoodSpotting Is The Next FourSquare
Fractals And FoodSpotting
Am I Smart?
Bottled Water: Liquid Gold

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