How Dick Costolo Deals With Challenge Of Leading Twitter Without Being Its Founder

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at Innovation Uncensored

Photo: Owen Thomas, Business Insider

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is not a company founder, and that presents a challenge.People at tech companies naturally look to founders for direction, he observed at Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored conference in San Francisco Thursday morning. At Twitter, two cofounders, Ev Williams and Jack Dorsey, are still on the board.

The way Twitter solved this: Dorsey declared that he considered Costolo a founder.

That move gave Costolo what he called “moral authority” to make “absurd” requests.

“Founders have moral authority to make absurd requests of the team,” said Costolo. “When Jack says, ‘Think of Dick as a founder,’ what he’s really doing is letting the company know, ‘I anoint Dick with the permission to make unreasonable requests of you.’ There’s a helpful gravitational pull that leads the team to nod their heads and say, ‘OK, we’ll figure out how to do that.'”

Costolo, by all accounts, has put an end to a long period of unrest and turmoil at the information network. The company, whose most recent outside investment valued it at $8 billion, is now expected to do $350 million in advertising this year.

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