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Do less: Dick Costolo’s $10 billion Zen garden

Stashed in: Product Inspiration, Twitter!, Facebook!, Zuck!, Zen, Privacy does not exist., Awesome, @sherylsandberg, internet, @dickc

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So perhaps Costolo betrayed his secret today at D when he repeatedly answered questions about how Twitter would innovate and expand and develop its product by saying, frankly, it wouldn’t. “We look at what can we remove,” he said, adding later. “We’re not trying to add new things into Twitter. My challenge is how do you pull things out of it?”


Compare the strategy to Facebook’s. There is seemingly a different feature or a tweaked layout or navigation every time I go to the page. Facebook’s strategy seems to be keeping users from getting too comfortable, so that they can keep innovating without a backlash over anything new. Twitter, on the other hand, is fine with users feeling complacent — so complacent that they actually create shortcuts like @s and #s to navigate the constraints. Earlier at D11, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg said CEO Mark Zuckerberg is happiest in a conference room with developers evolving the product. Costolo is happy to maintain a spartan canvas for users (and increasingly advertisers) to create things on top of.

Listening to Sandberg and then Costolo speak today, another distinction between the two companies jumped out at me. The issue of trust came up as a huge Achilles Heel for both companies, but in very different ways. For Facebook it’s the uneasy trust with what we share about ourselves. What are they doing with it, and are they protecting it enough? With Twitter, it’s about our increasing reliance on the service to give us news and information, and whether we can trust those who are using Twitter — not Twitter itself.

Then get rid of direct messaging. I'd rather have no DMs than buggy DMs. 


Also interesting: Sandberg and Costolo were both Google executives several years ago.

That perspective likely colors their thoughts on private user information.

I sort of like DMs. With Twitter, I've made so many valuable connections in my field, and the best relationships have to go offline sometime or transitionally develop beyond 140 characters.  

Then make DMs a first class citizen. Make them work well instead of the crippleware they presently are.

Make them easy to find, easy to respond to, easy to click through to a profile, easy to search, and SAVED.

Did you know Twitter deletes old DMs?

I did not. I'll have to screen shot all the blackmail ones:)  You're right. I hadn't thought about it. 

You can set up Twitter so you get emailed a copy of every DM.

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