By Daryl Jones
“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born - that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
We’ve started our work for our October 31st IPO Blackbook on Twitter and digging into a company that was founded in 2006 and already has 215 million monthly users. Talking about going viral in a hurry!
Similar to Facebook, Twitter has that little problem of how to make money. That attribute aside, the companies are very different, even if much of the conventional media puts them in the same category. Facebook is a true social network and, as such, is largely closed and limited in terms of how large a network it can become. On the other hand, Twitter is open, transparent, real-time and has scale.
Twitter is actually a true network in that it creates the network effect. As an example, when President Obama announce his victory in the 2012 election on Twitter, that Tweet was re-tweeted more than 25 million times. The most I’ve ever had a tweet re-tweeted was a couple of hundred times, but even there you get the point. Twitter amplifies your communication.
Analyzing Twitter has also made me consider the importance of leadership in corporate America. This weekend The New York Times Magazine had an article written by Nick Bilton that was titled, “All Is Fair in Love and Twitter.” It is one version of the power and leadership struggles that have occurred within Twitter.
Twitter is also a little bit about the American dream. Take this excerpt from the article for example:
“In 2005, Jack Dorsey was a 29-year-old New York University dropout who sometimes wore a T-shirt with his phone number on the front and a nose ring. After a three-month stint writing code for an Alcatraz boat-tour outfit, he was living in a tiny San Francisco apartment. He had recently been turned down for a job at Camper, the shoe store.”
Dorsey and his co-founders have been largely pushed out of Twitter, though many of them will obviously profit handsomely on the IPO. Time will tell whether current CEO Dick Costolo is the right man to monetize the Twitter network, but his experience at Andersen Consulting, founding and running Feed Burner (among other start-ups), and working at Google have allowed him to acquire learned leadership assets, to Bennis’ point, that will be critical for Twitter’s future.
Daryl Jones is Global Macro Head at Hedgeye Risk Management.