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Make sure that everybody understands what you understand. ~Twitter’s Dick Costolo on what it takes to be a good CEO


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Backstage at the show, TechCrunch co-editor Matthew Panzarino pulled Costolo aside for a quick interview to talk about Twitter’s success over the past year and what it means to be a good CEO. When Panzarino asked Costolo to share his “playbook” for leading Twitter, he had a really thoughtful response. He said:

“I’ll say two things. We had the good fortune to have Adam Silver, the new commissioner of the NBA, in the office the other day, and someone asked him about the culture of the NBA. Adam said, ‘One of the great players in the NBA told me that championships aren’t won on the court, they’re won on the bus.’ And what he was referring to is that sense of team building, and making sure that it feels like a team, and that you’re all pulling for each other and working together. That is what makes something work. And I think that’s something I just really pay very careful attention to.

Someone asked me once in an interview, ‘If you had to describe yourself as a CEO how would you describe yourself?’ And I thought about it for a second, and I said, ‘Well, I think I’m present.’

I try to be really present and there for the team, and to understand what everybody else understands. Because when you have that understanding of what everybody else understands, you can provide the proper context for the decisions that are being made, and help communicate those decisions. And then, it’s easier for everybody else in the company to feel like they have a sense of why decisions are being made…

…If I could sum up my advice in one sentence, it would be to make sure that everybody understands what you understand.”

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