Here's why Twitter's CEO doesn't see the company as "the anti-Facebook"

By Erin Griffith , written on December 5, 2013

From The News Desk

Twitter's IPO was in many ways defined by what Facebook's IPO was not. The company's pre-IPO acquisition was a nuts-and-bolts adtech company like Mopub, not a shocking $1 billion play for a hot zero revenue app like Instagram. The company's CEO was an experienced operations guy in his 40's, not a young, hoodie-wearing visionary. Where Facebook's S-1 featured a manifesto about "The Hacker Way" that Mark Zuckerberg wrote on this phone, Twitter's S-1 featured a simple, straightforward "thank you" to its users that made Facebook's antics look downright childish.

The anti-Facebook stance went down to the exchange Twitter chose: Twitter trades on NYSE (or, as we wrote, the NYFSE), and not Nasdaq, whose "egregious fuck-up" on Facebook's IPO day contributed to its rough start to life as a public company.

So the comparisons were impossible to avoid. I wrote that Twitter was selling itself to Wall Street as the anti-IPO, as did many others.

But Dick Costolo, Twitter's CEO, doesn't see his company as the anti-Facebook. In a PandoMonthly interview this evening, he said Twitter, like Facebook, has the goal of getting every single person in the world using the service.

So the question is, is Twitter, which has 230 million active users, okay with that figure? Will it aim for getting deeper monetization of its dedicated user base, similar to LinkedIn, versus having more than a billion users like Facebook? The answer is "no." Twitter wants a billion users like Facebook.

"(At Twitter) we all have this visceral notion about why this would be valuable to everyone in the world," Costolo said. "All of us believe we have to go achieve that. We have to go make this useful and intuitive and obvious to everybody in the world.

"No one in the company thinks, 'We've got everyone we need. We'll just do fun stuff with this.' It's absolutely 100 percent 'We have to reach everyone on the planet,'" he said.

Regarding the IPO, he said he spent time with executives from LinkedIn, Workday, and yes, even Facebook, to get advice on how to have the smoothest possible IPO. It worked: Twitter shares debuted at almost twice their pre-opening price and have traded steadily in range of it since.

[Photo by Yelena Sophia for Pandodaily]