Twitter founders say they're in it for the long haul
Twitter founder Evan Williams said he will still be running Twitter in five years when asked by Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg. Williams and co-founder Biz Stone were interviewed by Mossberg and the Journal's Kara Swisher at this year's "D: All Things Digital" technology and media conference in Carlsbad, California.
Here are five more things, discussed at the conference, you may not know about Twitter:
1. Fifty-one percent of Twitter's users are on its website just once a month. "We have a lot of work to do," Williams said. "Twitter's still in its infancy. It often takes a long time for someone to go from 'What is this Twitter thing,' or try it out, to 'I'm addicted and use it everyday,' and that can be a long cycle."
2. Twitter started as a side business. Originally, Williams started a podcasting company called Odeo, which got "crushed by Apple," Mossberg said. At Odeo, Williams and Stone started working with Jack Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter. Dorsey had the idea to create short status updates, Stone liked it and Williams unwound Odeo to focus on Twitter. Before Odeo, Williams sold Blogger to Google (GOOG).
3. Most people don't send Tweets from Twitter.com. Mossberg made this point and Stone underlined it by saying twice as many people use outside sources to send Twitter updates instead of Twitter's home page.
4. Search will be Twitter's next big project. "Turns out there's a huge opportunity with search, and we hadn't foreseen that," Williams told Mossberg. Twitter bought search engine Summize last July for and plans to build the search part of its business.
5. Revenue ideas are becoming more visible. Businesses may be willing to pay for power accounts or pay to be promoted to new users when they sign up for Twitter, Williams said. Banner ads and ads directed at users who elect to receive them are other possibilities that could help generate revenue. A free-to-users Twitter software app store may also be considered. (See yesterday's DailyFinance story on how Twitter may generate cash for more details.)
Swisher asked Williams if he could turn down a "one-billion (dollar) offer from the likes of Microsoft?"
"Yes," he said. "And the board feels the same way."
Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.