12 Burning Questions for Twitter Co-Founders

Stone: Well, there's been a big shift, I would say over the last few months. A lot of it's driven by search, and we bought a company that provides the Twitter search now. We're building it more into the product. It's really about a bunch of people collecting information about something even if they don't know each other, and this wasn't in the original idea. The original idea was more about, 'I want to stay in touch with this person I know.' And now, whether it's an event or a concert, or where gas is during a shortage in Atlanta, people are finding ways to organize using Twitter and using the search function.

Donvan: Are you surprised by the recent acceleration? How overwhelmed are you by how fast this is moving?

Stone: Every day is sort of like a new record, and the funny thing about it is that, working at Twitter, I worked with Ev [Evan Williams] together on Blogger, which is a really fast-growing, really popular tool ... Everything we've done at Twitter, not just growth but sort of everything else, has been faster. It's always faster. We're always making decisions that we thought we were going to make a year from now and we're making them now. So I think we're beginning to expect now, the unexpected speed, and that's funny because it goes really well with the product which is this real-time, right now what's going on and what's happening right now, and that's the pace that we're operating at, and now we have this tool that allows us to keep operating at that pace. It's been amazing from that standpoint.

Donvan: Mumbai was very big in the history of Twitter, Mumbai will always be a very big moment. What happened from your point of view?

Stone: From my point of view I think I was actually looking at the trends that we calculate on the search page for Twitter. Every minute or so we update the popular key words that are rushing through the system, and on that day it was at the end of November so it was a lot of Thanksgiving, turkey, that kind of stuff. And then I saw Mumbai, and I was like what significance does Mumbai have to Thanksgiving? So I clicked the link and I just saw all this craziness. I am on the page for 15 seconds and it says 200 new updates since you've been looking at this page.

Donvan: Is there anything that you don't want Twitter to become?

Stone: I mean there's product directions that we are not, or at least I personally am not that enthusiastic about going into. I like that it's a simple tool that doesn't require a lot of upfront thought to use and send a message instantly. So I don't want to go too far down the path of social networky-type-stuff, that's from a product perspective.

Williams: I'd say we don't want to pursue growth for the sake of growth

Donvan: It's kind of happening to you anyway...

Williams: The growth is definitely happening, but there's a path that you get on where you need to support certain corporate goals and you always need to grow, so you look at the areas about what's going to provide growth... So part of Twitter's beauty is that it can be used for so many things and we sort of have this idealistic view that more good things than bad will come of it.

Donvan: The product is not about causes, its about giving people the tools to communicate with themselves. Is that accurate?

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