Friday, October 8, 2010

Dick Costolo's Lessons Learned

I definitely enjoyed listening to Dick Costolo's talk at Vator Splash. Dick is the recently appointed CEO of TWitter and co-founder and former CEO of Feedburner.

"Twitter CEO Dick Costolo's lessons learned
Costolo, the first keynote speaker at Vator Splash September, shares a few lessons for entrepreneurs"

The complete review is in the link above, but here are the points I appreciated the most:

1. Have a voice

Costolo’s first lesson, which he seemed the most eager to impart, is to create a personality for your company. For example, even though deal-of-the-day sites are the easiest kind to copy and paste, Woot stood out from the rest by having the most funny and raunchiest descriptions of its daily deals. (Costolo recommends reading the Woot CEO’s post after Amazon acquired his company.)...

4. Think long-term

Not thinking about exits, however, doesn’t mean forgetting about the long-term. Relating an example from one of his earliest ventures, Costolo described how his company veered from their six-month business plan because one customer asked for one specific feature and backed up the request with the promise of good money. Though the business managed to make quick profits by pleasing this one customer, they shut out a large group of other potential customers by delaying their original plan three months. The company had traded in their vision for sub-optimal results by thinking in the short-term.

5. Launch late to launch often

Twisting the adage to “launch early and launch often,” Costolo advised that companies be patient with their product, even if that means launching late. Once a solid product is released, then the business can focus on launching updates often.

At the same time, Costolo warned against waiting to dump every single new feature on users, an experience that can be overwhelming. Even worse, waiting for absolute perfection before launching could be disastrous because perfection might never come; receiving feedback is key.

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