When Kara Met Dick: The State of Twitter

Kara Swisher: What’s your business plan?

Dick Costolo: To continue to raise money!

I was over the Facebook hype before it even started but Twitter I’m all about (follow me here).  It suits my personality and information consumption needs.  I’m not into sharing vacation photos, I just want to laugh, make others laugh (see here) and get really rapid information and opinion from the smartest/cleverest people I can find in a sentence or two.

Anyway, Kara Swisher (All Things D) had a chat with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at CES this week.  I’ve plucked a few tidbits from the exchange that I found interesting…

On why TV stars (especially comedians) like Twitter…

Kara: We had Steve Levitan from “Modern Family” talking about how the Web doesn’t help him, but that he and his team like Twitter.

Dick: Sure! “I was having a conversation with Conan O’Brien, as one does” and he was talking about the importance of Twitter to him, and how the 140 character limit is the right length for a joke. It’s definitely the case that network TV people like Twitter, because it gives them feedback, like they’re in the theater, watching how the shows play out.

On Twitter’s reputation for periodic failures…

Kara: Speaking of working consistently, how’s that going for Twitter?

Dick: Right. So, we raised a bunch of money. We’re hiring “tons of engineers and operations engineers” in the last year. We hired 100 people in Q4, out of about 350 total. And we’re working very hard on erasing our “technical debt.”

Kara: “That’s a great word for fuck-ups”

Dick: Anyway, we’ve got a guy assigned to this pretty much exclusively. And there used to be a tolerance for this, and now there isn’t. If someone fires a pistol next to your ear every hour, after a while you stop flinching when you hear it. It’s crucial that we do this, both for our users and our engineers, who shouldn’t have to get up at 3 am all the time.

Finally, is Twitter for sale?

Kara: Sell or IPO?

Dick: We want to be a standalone company. It’s my sincere hope. We’ve accomplished 1 percent of what we want to do.

Kara: You like to sell companies, though.

Dick: Yes, I had two companies that I sold. But that doesn’t mean we’ll sell this one. I’ve had two kids too. But I shouldn’t get a reputation for having kids.


Twitter CEO Dick Costolo on Platforms, Reliability and Independence (All Things D)

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