Biz Stone On His Journey From College Dropout To CEO
Part of our series with 12aheadon 26 June, 2014 at 11:06
As an industry, marketing has a troubling relationship with metrics, so it’s unsurprising that we’ve been measuring Twitter’s success wrong for a while now. “We saddled the board at Twitter with the wrong metrics,” admits Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder, who officially left the company in 2011, and was speaking at the London Business Forum about his early experiences with the company.
When challenged that Twitter’s reach is dwarfed by Facebook’s user figures, he points out that what we’re dealing with is a broadcasting service, a distribution arm; “it’s not how many people have signed up but really how many people have seen a tweet,” he says. And when we consider how heavily Twitter is woven into our media experience now, how it accompanies headlines on global events, with tweets being shown in the news and hashtags used in advertising, then arguably its reach can rival that of Facebook.
On the subject of social corporate responsibility, Stone recognises its growing importance and how start-ups are much better placed to reflect this; “start-ups are uniquely positioned to be built for doing good.” You can embed the idea of social and corporate responsibilities as central pillars of the company at the beginning. “At Twitter we hired a social responsibility guy two years before we hired a sales guy,” he says. “The future of marketing is philanthropy,” meaning, if you have an easily identifiable cause you’re defending then you’ll attract more talent and more customers. “It goes back to the hierarchy of needs model,” says Stone.
In Maslow’s diagram it shows that when you reach a certain point the way to satisfy our needs shift, so once basic shelter and comfort is taken care of then we can work towards fulfilling needs that centre on having a meaning by helping others, through self-actualisation. “Even by showing up at work people feel like they are doing something meaningful.”