free html hit counter Help Me Interview Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter (And Win Free Tix to Web 2) - John Battelle's Search Blog

Help Me Interview Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter (And Win Free Tix to Web 2)

By - October 03, 2011

costolo.jpegOur dinner conversant at  Web 2 Summit is Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter. Why pick Costolo for dinner? Because he’s pretty damn funny, besides being the CEO of Twitter, that’s why. And when it comes to dinner, you need some levity.

Not that Twitter doesn’t have some serious issues to talk about. I’ve outlined them in full throat on this site; if you want the latest, read The Future of Twitter Ads, for a start.

Dick and I have been round the maypole a few times, both onstage and in life. My company FM had a deal with his previous startup, Feedburner, and we remain colleagues and friends. Of course, that won’t stop me from channeling the Summit audience’s important questions. Or yours. So I’d love your input. What do you want to hear from Costolo, and about Twitter?   

As an extra incentive, I’ll be picking the best three questions from these series of posts (including Paul Otellini, Michael Dell, Dennis Crowley, Mary Meeker, Michael Roth, Steve Ballmer, James Gleick, Vic Gundotra, and Reid Hoffman, among others.) The authors of those questions will get complimentary passes to Web 2 – a more than $4000 value. So get to commenting, and thank you!

Previously: Mark Pincus, John Donahoe, Marc Benioff. Next up: Michael Dell.


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15 thoughts on “Help Me Interview Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter (And Win Free Tix to Web 2)

  1. Peter Mullen says:

    Every so often, I hear about another ‘Twitter hack’. Is there any way you can verify and notify users of actual hacks? It will help stifle the bogus hacks, like when U.S. Congressman Anthony Wiener lied about his supposed Twitter hack when he was busted for his ‘indiscretions’.

  2. Laura says:

    As Twitter has evolved as a global news wire, why not just turn the entire network into a media company and hire reporters, assignment editors, editors and photographers to provide original content to the site? Why not rebrand Twitter as the CNN of the always on digital news world?

  3. Adam says:

    First off, +1 to Laura! Wow. That’s brilliant. I’m ashamed I didn’t think of that, really! That is, I guess I’ll repeat myself, brilliant. Nothing short of it.

    Here’s my less than well articulated question (and I’m going to stick with the Linkedin theme from the last comment):

    You can post comments to Linkedin, from Twitter, with the hashtag #in. In an earlier post of Battelle’s I think he said something about talking to an executive in ad marketing and that executive stated that he believes Twitter has the potential of being a $100 billion company. I think Linkedin could* be in the same ballpark. But, Linkedin is not really making progress. Anyway, I’ll steal a point from Brian Solis on this – Listening. Have Twitter and Linkedin thought about merging? The consumer revolution will revolve around companies that have the ability to listen. What real-time interface could befit the two companies better than a merger?

  4. Question for Dick:

    Dick, many of those who subscribed to Twitter come to see it as a “meme stream”, e.g. ideas that constantly flashing by that they want to mull, process, and then share via say email.

    Why haven’t you created in your Twitter clients a simple button that say’s “email this to me, so that I can ponder/deal with it later, because I don’t want to lose it”?

  5. kd says:

    Three questions from me to Dick, thanks!

    1, Dick said on Sept 8, 2011, “we should think of revenue as the way people think of breathing, it’s necessary for life but it’s not the purpose of life”. Is this a salute to Google because Google has revenue models enabling them to head for Google’s purpose “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, while not worrying about breathing? What is Twitter’s purpose?

    2, Promoted Suite has been there for a while and still evolving, does Twitter consider it as the ultimate business model to make Twitter a $100 billion company? If no, what is Twitter’s plan to find the ultimate business model? Has Twitter ever considered crowdsourcing from its users the business model?

    3, Is there any negative feedback on Twitter’s Promoted products? If yes, what are the problems?

  6. Have you realized that you’ve missed the opportunity to turn twitter into something powerful for twitter users? If so, when did you realize this, did you decide to do anything about it, if so what, and when are twitter users going to reap the benefits of such insights?

  7. 1) Facebook has succeeded in part due to the various options they offer users — from groups, to games, to now integrating with services like Spotify. Twitter, it seems, has done little of this: sticking to a very simple way of posting, retweeting, and replying. Do you see this strategy continuing in the years ahead or are you looking to expand the platform?

    2) Seems a big challenge of Twitter is helping users find relevant content. Right now, the only choice a user has is to “follow or not follow.” Do you see opening up more choices in the future? For example, the ability to follow only someone’s posts that include certain key words? So for example, if there is an expert in search, instead of getting all her posts on her new puppy or boyfriend, I can get only those with the word “search” in it … or choose to only get links to articles that she posts.

  8. SM says:

    Here is something for possibly entertaining dinner-table conversation piece – the merge of Twitter and Google+.

    I thought it would be interesting if Twitter and Google+ got together and found a way they could benefit from each other. And here is why:

    In fact, the way I see it, Google+ already has a lot of Twitter in it. Twitter as an independent group can easily situate in Google+ “CIRCLE.” Then this “twitter” group can be treated as one big or small(depending on the number of followers & followings) “HANGOUT” place. Now, for tweeting, “HUDDLE” texting concept is already accomodating “tweets being sent out to your followers.”

    Either by tweaking “HANGOUT” and “HUDDLE” in Google+ for Twitter or by implementing the exact Twitter methodology instead, different Twitter-like groups can be created under one account.

    I like this idea because it will help members keep more meaningful social contacts with right group of people through one social media. Let family/friends conversations stay in among family/friends while personal/professional interest matters are shared with others.

    In my humble opinion, Google+ is providing almost everything you can think of “What a Social Gathering Place should be like in the internet space.” It is laid out in a very well-organized
    and most logical way. But perhaps that’s why so many of us are struggling to identify Google+ with one particular thing (that “IT” factor) at this time. And that’s where Twitter’s strength can kick in for Google+.

    From Google+ standpoint, I thought of the following two well-known shortcomings in Twitter feature and how Google+ can play a role to strengthen them:

    1. no emailing capacity
    2. 140 characters restriction.

    As we read through incoming tweets, we retweet anything worthwhile to share with our followers. However we also have many friends, family members, colleagues who may not be members of Twitter. It would be nice if there is a “email it to someone” feature to be able to send any of tweet content by simply providing an email address or by other simpler means. I imagine that this may be implemented painlessly in Google+. This will also present an opportunity to invite non-twitters to join.

    Anyone who ever tweeted understand how challenging it can be to meet the max. 140 chars limit at times. For this, I think that a Google+ blogging feature can be greatly utilized. I’m not suggesting that every tweet that’s even slightly more than 140 chars should be getting an equal blogging-page attention. But something can be done to accomodate this properly. This way, Twitter members are also encouraged to engage in more meaningful content-rich conversation whenever necessary
    without leaving Twitter – now all in one pot.

    At last, yes, the “anonymity” issue will have to find its own way:-).

    Well, I’m sure that this may not make any sense at all to many of you, but I surely had fun thinking about it!

  9. My three questions for Dick Costolo:

    1. As Twitter monetizes tweets (firehouse access, etc), will there be a revenue share option for the producers?

    2. How will Twitter work around the challenge the logged-out user presents, in terms of attaining highly prized user data, in order to capitalize on that audience. Additionally, does Twitter have plans to migrate these users from observers to engagers, or will they develop separate services for these two different user groups?

    3. What are Twitter’s plans to maintain the “serendipity experience” while increasing relevance.

  10. Sergey says:

    Twitter is a great tool for ad-hoc collaboration and I’d like to see Twitter extending it reach to enterprises. I’d like to hear thoughts on possibility of private Twitter (appliance, VM, private cloud, etc). It may be a very viable revenue source for Twitter and ecosystem around.

  11. Given Google’s and Facebook’s strategic push towards local advertisers and knowing the importance of local advertising in the grand scheme of things (Twitter is a local marketplace IMHO), what is Twitter’s strategy to monetize “local”?

  12. Sabrina says:

    Many users do not engage with Twitter because they are not interested in creating content, do you have a plan to acquire more followers/bystanders for the platform? How can Twitter be more consumer friendly?

  13. Adam says:

    Agree with Sabrina. A lot of people don’t “get” Twitter. If they do join, they fail to see the point in using it because they are only following people; have no followers. Do you see the hashtag evolving as a possible fix to an issue like this?

  14. Blake Brysha says:

    I have 2 questions for Mr. Costolo:

    1. In my opinion, the introduction of “Recent Images” in August was a brilliant move to enrich the user profile while maintaining simplicity. Similarly, Facebook’s timeline was a smart move to enrich an already strong profile. The difference is that Facebook is sitting on a wealth of user-provided data that allows for very targeted advertising. While Twitter can deduce interest based on what someone is tweeting and who they are following, you only have access to very basic provided user info. Does Twitter have plans to expand user profiles further to support advertising goals?

    2. Over the past couple years, brands have started to see real business benefits using Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter Accounts alike. The difference between the two is that, in Facebook’s display algorithm, Fan Pages are weighted differently than personal accounts. On both Twitter and Facebook, a user needs to opt-in to follow so my question is: Does Twitter have and plans to give different relevancy weight to “business” accounts vs. personal accounts in the future?

    Big fan of the blog, John… thanks for the opportunity.

  15. Jonathan Brown says:

    I’d ask how he thinks Twitter has changed, in terms of their company culture, given the recent changes in leadership.