First let me say I’m a fan of Twitter… and use it on a daily basis…
News from Wired today that Biz Stone over at Twitter thinks… well I’ll let him speak for himself:
Blogs and news sites buzzed the next day about how Twitter had ushered in a new era of communication. Such proclamations would have most internet entrepreneurs seeing dollar signs. But not Biz Stone, who insists Twitter’s mission is simply to provide a useful, robust service and let the dollars follow later.
“At this point, given that we have plenty of money in the bank, it makes a lot more sense not to distract ourselves with trying to put the finishing touches on a revenue plan,” says the 34-year-old Stone, who founded Twitter with Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams in 2006.
Kinda seems to me Biz is missing the point… they have their investor’s money in the bank… and those investors expect a return… not just lots and lots of users.
I feel certain those investors were not putting up money to make people happy or enrich lives – and if they were I’d like them to call me… there are one or two very credible charities that do great work….
More after the jump…
And it gets better:
But Stone is unconcerned about Twitter’s current lack of profits or even revenues, saying too much focus on these things would be “a distraction” for Twitter. For one thing, the company is improving its infrastructure so the service doesn’t keep getting overloaded.
“Unless we have a reliable service that works the way we think it should,” Stone says, focusing on revenue “is really putting the cart before the horse.”
And my personal favorite:
The most obvious solution to how Twitter can make money would be to serve advertising directly in a user’s Twitter feed (or “timeline” as the company calls it), or elsewhere on the site. But Stone and his fellow execs are wary of alienating Twitter’s hardcore user base, which has grown accustomed to an ad-free service.
“How would they respond to us putting ads on the site?” Stone says. “Are we going to end up pissing them off?”
There is no two ways around this one… if Twitter users will not accept ad placement – and they won’t pay for their account… then what the <controlled omission of an expletive> is the point?!? Just shut it down.
It is this type of nonsense that gets people all fired up about bubble 2.0 – and more importantly makes reasonable people look at anyone with a internet/social media/web 2.0 startup like they are one step away from being a slick used car salesman. I frankly, find it more than a little repugnant.
Economics have not substantially changed… the only way to run a business is to have a business model, generate revenue and operate within your margin. You do not have a business if you do not, will not or can not do those things. Yes, startups often need to invest ahead of revenue – but only with a significant expectation that the investment will generate revenue…
What shocks me about these quotes is how blatant is Mr. Stone’s disregard for his investors and their money. What shocks me is how blatantly he disregards the basic principals of running a business.