Biz Stone Talks Twitter At Fortune Brainstorm
Thursday, July 23, 2009; 4:33 PM
Twitter's Biz Stone takes the stage at Fortune Brainstorm in Pasadena to talk with Fortune's Adam Lashinsky. The session, called "Changing The World In 140 Characters Or Less" begins shortly, I'll be live blogging it.
My real time notes follow. I can say with certainty that the Twitter hacking incident will be brought up as part of this conversation.
An audience poll shows 65% of attendees use Twitter, but 77% say they prefer Facebook to Twitter.
First question from Lashinsky: "Will Twitter make money?" Biz says "yes!"
- company has 55 employees now.
- size of the service: Biz says they are 1% into the journey of Twitter, and they have a lot of growing to do. "The level of awareness is way bigger than the level of engagement."
- How they will get more user engagement: start by showing users Twitter search and show results on your product, etc. Then they ask how they can get involved. "We have to position our product better," says Biz. Search and trends are ways to get immediate engagement from users.
- Why isn't Twitter making money? Biz: Lots of people like Twitter and want it to succeed. They want Twitter to make money so that the company sticks around. Biz says that Twitter is being used by people and companies around the world, and if the network is robust and reliable, there are lots of ways to make money. But they need to optimize for value before they optimize for profit, he says.
- Twitter's business plan will begin this year, he says (which correlates to the notes we published last week). First step - launching today or tomorrow Twitter 101, a set of use cases, techniques, best practices, etc to help new users and companies use Twitter effectively. Will post today or tomorrow, Biz says.
Biz is excited about Best Buy's use of Twitter to engage with customers and provide better customer experience.
- on the hacked documents: Biz says they are thought documents more than anything else, gives people an idea of the scope and level of what they are thinking of, nothing more. "We're thinking big," he says.
- Biz says the easy business model is value added services, like verified accounts, that they can charge for. Advertising is less interesting, he says.
- On whether he will sue TechCrunch: We're still investigating, he says.
- Biz says they are preparing to launch lots of new features, really looking at a golden age for Twitter. New features that are coming - add more value to users, watch how users are using Twitter, bring new features that make sense.
- Discovery on Twitter - how will they do a better job of this. Biz says they need to assign weight to users or specific Tweets to do a better job of surfacing Tweets.
- On doing good in the world v. making money: "We want to have a real positive impact on the world, and the only way to do that is to make tons and tons of money."