Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Twitter Brings Back Jack To Fix Product Strategy

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 28, 2011

Twitter's seesaw problems with product development entered a new phase this morning as the company brought back former CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey.

He will take over product development from co-founder Ev Williams, as Executive Chairman, but also run his own startup, Square.

The move makes sense. Ev Williams involvement in Twitter has been questioned by myself and others. He spends little time at the office and his use of Twitter is extremely low, Tweeting just twice a day and sometimes none at all. Co-founder Biz Stone is even less interested in Tweeting.

Take a look at my recent survey of the activity of Twitter co-founders:

- Ev Williams, (@Ev) former CEO, now head of product strategy. Over the past five years he has Tweeted 6024 times. So far in March (up to March 21) he has Tweeted 36 times, that's less than 2 per day.

- Biz Stone, (@Biz) creative director. Over the past five years he has tweeted just 4293 times. So far in March (up to March 21) he Tweeted 16 times, that's less than 1 per day.

- Jack Dorsey, (@Jack) former CEO and originator of the idea for Twitter. He is largely out of the company and currently CEO of Square, but he is chairman of the board at Twitter. Over the past five years he has tweeted 9596 times. So far in March (up to March 21) he has Tweeted 111 times, that's far more than his co-founders at nearly 6 times a day.

What does this say about the future of Twitter?

When I saw Biz Stone speak at Inforum late last year, he said that Odeo, the podcasting venture he co-founded with Ev Williams, failed for a simple reason: the founders were not into podcasting, they didn't listen to podcasts, or record them.

He said that this lack of involvement in the core business of Odeo resulted in the failure of the startup.

So the appointment of Mr Dorsey, the uber-Tweeter among the co-founders should bode well for Twitter's future and help overcome some mistakes in product design and strategy.


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