Twitter IPO Still Not A Priority, Says CEO

Posted by · May 1, 2012 3:48 pm

Just in case you were waiting for a big Twitter IPO announcement sometime soon, CEO Dick Costolo is here to set the record straight…again. Speaking at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference on Tuesday, the Twitter CEO assured his audience that the company is satisfied and more than solvent in its current state.

“We don’t see any need or urgency to even think about that stuff,” Costolo told writer Steven Levy. “We don’t need to worry about financing right now.”

And with more than $1 billion in venture funds sitting in the bank and a largely successful business model, a Twitter IPO would seem a bit hasty. But that’s not the only reason the Twitter CEO is reluctant to take the public plunge.

“I’m never going to optimize for the short-term revenue at the expense of user experience,” he continued. “If people think we’re going too cautiously, I don’t care.” In fact, he said there is a place for such people—“on the sidelines.”

When Levy brought up the so-called “IPO window” that has captured considerable attention lately—especially given the Facebook IPO madness—Costolo expressed resentment toward the prevailing idea that such a window would soon be closed.

“That’s silly and shortsighted thinking,” he replied. “Google went public on its own terms. If you have a great business, and that business is growing in a way that is satisfying to you, then you can be a public company whenever you want to be a public company.”

And the proof is in the pudding. After less than two years in the driver’s seat, Costolo has seen the Twitter payrolls skyrocket from 50 people to 1,000 employees. With a plethora of management styles at his fingertips, the Twitter CEO even developed and now teaches a management course to ensure a more consistent approach to running Twitter.

“What I have been focused on in the last 18 months has been about organizational clarity and trying to organize the company in a way that allows us to build and deliver product more efficiently,” he explained.

Instead of thinking, “Oh no, the business,” Costolo explained that when he goes to bed at night, he thinks about imbalance. “’Is there too much bureaucracy standing in everyone’s way?’” he wonders. “That is what I worry about, not how we will make money” (emphasis added).

Not only is this approach clearly working for Twitter—which had amassed private funds totaling $800 million and was valued at $8 billion as of last summer—but it’s also quite refreshing.

Given the quick money that Costolo and company could easily rake in with a Twitter IPO, it’s clear that this CEO sees more to this business than the ultimate destiny of quarterly earnings reports, executive bonuses, and shareholder dividends. In a world where such success would not be satisfactory for most CEOs, this executive decided that doing “phenomenally well” is more than enough for now.

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