As CEO and co-founder of one of the world’s biggest social networks, Jack Dorsey is facing down a tidal wave of expectations. With the company recently celebrating its 10th birthday, the question on everyone’s lips is “what does the future hold for Twitter?”
Fortunately, Dorsey sat down for an extensive chat with Bloomberg to discuss just that. The topics on the agenda included growth, recruiting new talent, the impetus of real-time events for the platform and its live video app Periscope, and how Twitter aims to go beyond live to “predict the future.”
Asked how he thinks the company should grow, Dorsey spoke of the need to help connect users with people they will be interested in following, and helping them to share content. “We are a conversational medium around these live events. That’s the easiest way to get in,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, in light of its rivals’ push into live video, the importance of live media came up repeatedly, with Dorsey insisting that despite the growth of live streaming there will always be a place for the “written word.”
Nonetheless, he insisted that the visual coverage of real-time events, via Periscope, was integral to the company’s future. To illuminate the impact of Periscope, Dorsey referenced a viral live video made using the app. “I don’t know if you saw the puddle live on Periscope. Did you see it? We had this guy who pointed his camera outside his window in England. It was a puddle.” He then spoke of how that otherwise mundane clip, was transformed into a live event that connected 650,000 viewers.
“I think our No. 1 value that we bring to any live event is speed and the quickness of our delivery of information and insight and entertainment. We can even get predictive about what’s going to happen,” claimed Dorsey. “Twitter can be distilled down to that simplicity of, “Here’s what’s going to happen in the world. Here’s what’s happening right now.”
The conversation then moved on to Moments, Twitter’s last big feature, aimed at curating its content for new users, which received a mixed reception. Dorsey conceded that there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the Moments experience. “We think we can do better … with the guide itself and that tab with the lightning bolt … We can certainly do a better job there.”
He elaborated upon Twitter’s plans for Moments, again insisting that live events were the way forward. “When Moments really sings, it’s when there’s a live moment … you follow it, and it actually pushes it into your timeline. And that’s been fantastic. So we’re definitely investing a whole lot more into that,” Dorsey said.
Arguably the most worrying issue for Twitter of late has been its executive exodus, which has seen several high-profile employees abandon the company this year. It seems, in order to make up for that hemorrhaging of talent, Twitter is about to go on a hiring spree.
“We’re going to make a lot of additions of people who add perspective and add strength,” said Dorsey, “and I think the board is certainly an area, that leadership is certainly an area … We have no short supply of people wanting to come and work here and help us.”
Naturally, a lot is at stake for a company whose entire modus operandi is currently being debated by investors and analysts alike. At the heart of that discussion, lies Dorsey, the prodigal son with an evident belief in the nature of his platform. Ten years down the line, the birthday celebrations will likely be cut short as Twitter, in Dorsey’s words, continues “building, building, building.”