I’m not for one minute going to sit here and pretend like I know the best way to run Twitter; but I will say that I had a chance to work at Twitter under Dick Costolo after we (MoPub) were acquired. What I can say is that the guy did a hell of a job taking it from a side project to a publically traded company with one of the most, if not the most powerful brands in history; period.
Now to be clear, I’m also not a Dick Costolo fanboy, or a fanboy of anyone on earth minus my parents, however I do feel compelled to share my experience with the guy and pay respect where respect is due. Come on people, under his leadership revenue went from zero to $1.4 billion in 2014.
I ran into Dick often and tried to show my appreciation for having acquired MoPub in 2013 as a result changing the lives of so many of my closest friends. Every time I spoke to Dick he gave me 100% of his attention. Every time I emailed him with an idea or question, he answered and gave me thoughtful feedback.
This was, in my book, is a guy who cared about being a good leader and wanting to show his people he cared.
It really pissed me off the way the media and Wall Street portrayed Dick. Frankly, I think that Twitter’s challenges are more on the engineering organization side versus business side. What Dick and Adam Bain have been able to do has been amazing. And anyone who has tried to run an engineering organization knows how hard it is to ship, not to mention ship at the scale that Twitter is at.
So you’re thinking, ok, but isn’t it the CEO’s job to run all aspects of the business not just the revenue side?
Yes, that’s right, however it’s easier said than done with dealing with a very complex technology stack with millions of users around the world on it 24/7.
I don’t know this to be true, but it seems to me that Twitter’s engineering dysfunctions have existed from the very early days. And frankly, outside of Google, Linkedin, Facebook, who by the way were growing in parallel to Twitter, what other companies have had to build and scale businesses with the makeup of Twitter?
What references do you have throughout history to seek guidance from when making the technology decisions for a stack like Twitter? I don’t know, but it seems like a reasonable question.
Again, I don’t know the answers. And just like these assholes on Wall Street come up with inaccurate assumptions around what Dick could have done better or how to better operate Twitter, I suppose I could to.
But why? — Why not thank Dick for the many years of his life he committed to building this very meaningful company and wish him the best. That’s my position and I believe one that the man has earned.
So are you happy now Wall Street that he’s gone? Will Twitter’s product innovation and shipping woes go away now? We’ll see, however it’s VERY important to thank Dick for his contribution to changing the way the humans’ communicate.
Thank you Dick.
As for who’s next?
Well, I am very biased but I think that my friend and Twitter’s Chief Revenue Officer Adam Bain would be a great next CEO at Twitter. He’s loved by everyone (no really, he’s awesome). He understands media, agencies, and technology — and most importantly how to monetize Twitter. Under his leadership Twitter has become a several billion dollar business.
Adam is a family man and a character guy. He always tolerated my rants and ideas and always gave me the time to listen.
Adam Bain for CEO? — Let’s see…