If I had founded the 21st Century Silicon Valley equivalent of Wonder Bread during the baked goods revolution, I would have 2 assistants. I would wear Christian Louboutins and a perfectly coiffed hairdo. I would walk with the swagger of the much celebrated tech geniu-ette that I would be.
And then there's Biz Stone, Founder of a little platform called Twitter, who began this evening's remarks at the CAA Curious Series by telling us he had a large, gaping hole in his pants. Stone is young, witty and had no product in his hair. He was casual and smart and fabulous.
Here are some pieces of wisdom and interesting tidbits from Stone's talk this evening...
1. 'Twitter is about the triumph of humanity, not the triumph of technology.'
Much of Stone's talk focused on the way Twitter has connected us all. From alerts of the earthquake last year in California to the rallying of activists in corruptly-run nations abroad to notifications of a new dessert item from your corner bakery, individuals have taken ownership of their Twitterverse, using it to inform, share, and spread information to their fellow beings. Twitter, as it turns out, is a beautiful thing.
2. Twitter wishes to have a global impact--to serve places without internet (yes, there are still some places without wi-fi)--and to do so has emphasized a mobile functionality. The 140 character limit Twitter imposes on your updates was created because of SMS systems' 160 character limit. Twitter left a difference of 20 characters for the users' names. And here I had thought that Twitter just knew no one wanted more than 140 characters about your lunch and subsequent trip to the bathroom.
3. 'There are more smart people outside than inside.'
Stone shared with us the philosophies and 'assumptions' taught to all new Twitter employees during training. They ranged from the motivational to the inspirational. This particular bulletpoint was a great reminder that all the answers do not always lie within--yourself or your organization. Seeking help on the outside is not a sign of defeat--it is smart business.
4. Regarding Google Buzz, the newest Twitter-esque service from social giant Google, which launched today (you can find my blog on the product here), Stone said this: 'It's a way to interact with Twitter in your Gmail...it's going to be mostly tweets that you're looking at...Maybe they'll make a lot of money and we can share some of it.' Fantastic. Just fantastic banter Mr. Stone.
5. And regarding the silly, oft ridiculed name of the company, Stone admitted that 'the fact that people could make fun of the name and call it 'twatter' probably led to its success.' Well, that is one nickname for Twitter that I'd not yet thought of. But now I surely will.