Photo: joi ito
Early last week, Twitter announced a corporate shakeup. Current CEO, 38-year-old Evan Williams, demoted himself to a product and strategy person, leaving his position open for former COO, Dick Costolo.And we’d like to applaud them; this power shift was definitely a good idea.
Founded in 2006, Twitter has had no problem growing users. They now have 160 million of them, up from 3 million just 2 years ago.
The problem isn’t their number of “followers” though, it’s their lack of revenue. And so far, the previous two CEOs haven’t gotten that part right.
That’s where Dick Costolo comes in. Prior to Twitter, Costolo was co-founder and CEO of Feedburner, a digitial content syndication platform, as well as an executive at Google, where he managed its social media advertising team. He was originally hired by Twitter to lead its monetization efforts, and he seems to understand revenues, profit-making, and the mechanics of the business.
As we reported earlier this week, Williams has done a great job refining Twitter’s product and service. Keeping him in a role that allows him to continue focusing on his proven strengths makes sense.
But now it’s up to Costolo to turn Twitter into a profit-making machine. We expect his role will be judged not by the number of Tweets, traffic or followers he can gather, but by the amount of money the company can generate.
Given his background, there seems to be no question that Costolo is the better man for the job.
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