Twitter is about to file the most anticipated IPO since Facebook and the man leading the charge is CEO Dick Costolo.
Twitter confirmed that it filed the S-1 documents with the SEC on Thursday, in a tweet.
The S-1 form isn’t public yet, so we don’t know how much money Twitter plans to raise, but it should be huge. The company is expected to do more than $US500 million in revenues this year and has taken more than $US1 billion in funds from investors. They will want a good chunk of their money back, plus profit.
We found the first tweet of Twitter’s CEO just before he became COO, Dick Costolo, and given today’s news, his tweet is … revealing.
Before you read it, you need to know some background. Costolo joined Twitter in 2009 as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Twitter was already a popular service, but it was also a free service. Costolo’s job was to figure out how to make money. Looks like he did (and we’ll know more about that when we see the S-1 form.)
Before you read his tweet, you should also know that Costolo is a genuinely funny guy and he was probably joking. Before he was a tech entrepreneur, he was a member of a comedy improv troupe in Chicago called Annoyance Theatre.
Still, the day before he joined Twitter as COO, with Evan Williams still CEO, this is the thing he sent out into the world.
First full day as Twitter COO tomorrow. Task #1: undermine CEO, consolidate power.
— dick costolo (@dickc) September 13, 2009
Interestingly, Williams first asked Costolo to step in as CEO as a temporary gig, while Williams was on paternity leave, reported Jessica Guynn at the Chicago Times in 2011.
But, true to his first tweet, he stayed on. Evans moved over to a product development role and eventually left Twitter and pursued other startups (though he stayed on the board of directors).
Costolo came to Twitter by way of Google. He was the cofounder and CEO of a startup called FeedBurner, bought by Google in 2007, reportedly for about $US100 million. Costolo joined Google and became a product manager responsible for social media ads. Prior to Google he founded two other startups, SpyOnIt, and Burning Door Networked Media.
Costolo has deftly avoided questions about Twitter’s IPO the whole time he’s been CEO. Even just a couple of months ago, in June, he told AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher flat out:
“I’m trying to run this business and build this business. [An IPO] isn’t what I spend a lot of time thinking about.”
Clearly, with the IPO paperwork filed, he’s got to be thinking about it now.
How will he run the company after it goes public? Here’s a hint. The tech company he most admires is Amazon, he said in May, speaking at the National Venture Capital Association’s VentureScape conference, reported The Wall Street Journal’s Lizette Chapman:
Along with its culture of willingness to try new things, it seems to have that whole ‘manage investor expectations’ thing down pat, Costolo said, judging from Bezos’s annual letter to shareholders last month when he told them having no profits was actually a good thing.
Read into that what you will.
Update: This story originally reported that this was Costolo’s first tweet. He was an avid Twitter user before he joined the company. We apologise for the error.
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