This past Wednesday TechCrunch received a zip archive of over 300 of Twitter’s internal strategy documents. TechCrunch founder, Michael Arrington, pondered what to do about this ‘dillemma’.
Prominent Mac blogger, John Gruber reacted to this on his site, Daring Fireball, “What you may ask, is the dilemma, since it is clear that any decent human being would simply refuse to have anything to do with something so lurid?”
Then on Thursday, TechCrunch went ahead and published some details from the documents. They didn’t include what were supposedly embarrassing details about Twitter employees. Some would consider this approach the least sleezy way to handle the private documents and others would say it’s just journalism.
But that’s not what I want to focus on in this post. The information is now public and I’m not going to act like it doesn’t exist.
I’m interested in vision and it’s clear that Biz Stone has it. This is from a strategy meeting on February 25, 2009:
If we had a billion users, that will be the pulse of the planet.
and from a March 13, 2009 management meeting:
Can we do to google what google has done to others?
When I see statements like that, it reaffirms my believe that many, many people are underestimating what Twitter is, and what Twitter could become.
It’s easy to dismiss Twitter as a platform for narcissists, Millennials, and creepy stalkers. To do so is to miss the point. It’s about communication. That’s really it. Simple communication. And in a world where we’re being increasingly inundated with technology and mobile devices, platforms like Twitter are starting to look more and more appealing as a means to communicate.
I recently deactivated my Facebook account and in hindsight, I realized that Twitter was Facebook without the extra baggage (I tweeted that moment of realization).
When you combine a service as easy to use and far-reaching as Twitter with visionary leadership, big things happen (good and bad). Goals of wanting to become the ‘pulse of the planet’ give me chills and bring to mind co-founder of Google, Larry Page’s goals at Stanford when he told his professor (I’m paraphrasing) he wanted to download the entire Internet to his laptop. His professor thought he was nuts and that the goal was impossible.
I’m sure people are saying the same thing about Twitter.