Twitter has a new CEO. Again.
And just like last time, it’s because Twitter is at a clear pivot point in its life: Now it’s time to use Twitter’s hit product and huge audience to print cash.
Today, the company announced that Twitter COO Dick Costolo would become its CEO, replacing Evan Williams. Williams became CEO two years ago, replacing Twitter’s original CEO Jack Dorsey, who is now the company’s chairman.
Here’s how to summarize the three regimes:
- Jack Dorsey era: Define Twitter as a product — short messaging and publishing — and get the tech-geek set on board.
- Evan Williams era: Scale Twitter as a product and service — turn 20 employees into 300, 1.25 million tweets per day into 90 million per day, get normal people and celebrities and companies using Twitter, etc.
- Dick Costolo era: Scale Twitter as a business — turn a massive communication platform into a massive advertising platform.
As Evan Williams has done a good job refining Twitter as a product and service, it makes sense for him to stay with the company and run product, as he has chosen to do, versus quitting to become an angel investor or found a new company, as Jack Dorsey has done.
But it’s clearly Dick Costolo’s job now to turn Twitter into a real business, judged by the amount of revenue it can generate, not just the amount of tweets it can generate. And it’s obvious that he’s a better man for that job than Williams is.
The sense we get about Twitter — thanks in part to this post by John Battelle — is that Twitter doesn’t want to sell out to the likes of Google, and wants to remain independent. This means it’s even more important for Twitter to become a really, really successful business. And that’s why it’s important for Costolo to be in charge, and not Williams.
So, here we go, phase three of Twitter: The money-printing phase. Let’s hope it doesn’t ruin the service for its users.