Yesterday, the LA Times published an interview that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo did with the newspaper. Apparently, Twitter wants to insert itself into the news cycle as of late as they add new mobile features and take advantage of what is an otherwise slow time of year for Internet news.
What was great about the interview for us here at Marketing Pilgrim was the memories it brought back of one of our favorite Internet characters of all time, former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. Remember Carol? The brash, potty mouthed CEO of the listing ship Yahoo, made a remark that a Yahoo and Microsoft search deal with have to come with “boatloads of money”? She was panned for the statement and rightfully so. She even backed off it eventually which was saying something considering her general demeanor in the public eye.
Now, we hear from Costolo a similar term but coming in a very different context. What he said was
Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Dick Costolo said the short message social network has a “truckload of money in the bank” and would remain a private company for as long as it wants.
Entirely different circumstance and an entirely different scenario for sure. Bartz was commenting from a position of desperation where Costolo currently is talking from a position of power.
Trouble is that when you make comments like that in a down economy where others may not be making their truck payments as regularly as they might like it comes off as a bit arrogant. Arrogance these days, especially from the Valley, is not as cute as it once was.
Couple this statement with the move by Twitter to put the squeeze on third party development around the platform and you have a recipe for something that looks elitist. And considering how many define the world with 99% v 1% math these days this kind of talk is not likely to endear Twitter management with the masses on whose backs their are loading that truck up with money.
I seriously doubt that many will get in a huge huff about this statement. After all, pride and hubris at the top of an organization is often a trait that many want to see. But I have read somewhere that pride goes before the fall. There’s a lot of history to support that one.
How do you take a statement like Costolo’s? Is he simply stating the facts or is he appearing to be someone that might draw the ire of people, much like Bartz did for her talk? One thing Twitter has really avoided thus far is being cast in the same light as the other major players in the space. You can’t swing a live cat (the dead cat thing is off putting to me ) without hitting a Google or Facebook hater these days. Not so much with Twitter. Could the recent and developing treatment of the developer community coupled with a bit of “Hey struggling people, look at all the money we have!” attitude push Twitter into the same class?
Would love to get your thoughts on this one.