Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

The NYT’s Nick Bilton Talks About His Book on IPO-Ready Twitter (Video)

November 3, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

I always like to indulge in a little log-rolling in your time, but this video interview I did with New York Times columnist Nick Bilton about this new book is pretty fun. “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” comes officially comes out on Tuesday. But it is already being reviewed and munched over by many for its many controversial stories about the founding of San Francisco-based social microblogging phenom. Including: Former CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey fired! Former CEO and co-founder Evan Williams hired! Dorsey returns! Williams fired! Current CEO Dick Costolo hired! Costolo almost fired! Essentially, it is like a Spanish telenovela over there at Twitter, except it’s all dudes falling in and out of bromances. Bilton noted to me that it reads like a mystery novel, akin to the game Clue. As in: Board member and VC Peter Fenton in the server room with a virtual hammer! Since Twitter is going public this week — ya might have heard — Bilton’s timing could not be better. Here’s my interview with Bilton, who showed up at my house in the Castro on Halloween night. (It is an annual costume apocalypse in my neighborhood, so this guy really wants to sell that book!) Here’s the interview: [ See post to watch video ]

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Twitter Faces $124 Million Lawsuit Over Private Share Sale

October 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Two financial firms filed a $124 million lawsuit against Twitter on Wednesday, just days before the microblogging company is set to debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The firms, Precedo Capital Group and Continental Advisors, alleged that Twitter intentionally orchestrated a failed private sale of its shares in an attempt to increase investor interest before the company’s initial public offering. According to the suit, “Twitter’s intention was to induce Precedo Capital and Continental Advisors to create an artificial private market wherein Twitter could maintain that a private market existed at or about $19 per share for the Twitter stock,” the document states. That, in turn, would allow Twitter to set an artificial price floor for its IPO near the top of the $17-$20 price range it had set, giving the company a $10.9 billion valuation at most. “We’ve never had a relationship with these plaintiffs,” Jim Prosser, a Twitter spokesman, told AllThingsD . “Their claim is completely without merit.” The firms allege that Twitter was motivated by the problems around secondary market share sales that would eventually plague Facebook’s IPO, and sought to avoid an excess of shares hitting the market. To do this, the firms said, Twitter terminated an agreement it had with GSV Asset Management — an approved Twitter stock buyer — in which GSV was allowed to sell nearly $280 million in Twitter shares on the secondary market. Precedo Capital and Continental Advisors intended to purchase shares from GSV through that since terminated agreement, but now allege that Twitter never intended to allow the stock sales to occur. Read the lawsuit in its entirety below. View this document on Scribd

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Samsung to Developers: Come Play for the Biggest Team (And the One With TVs)

October 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Given how big of a deal Samsung phones, tablets and TVs are, it’s strange that the company’s first developer conference was held only today. Tardy though it may be on the developer-wooing front, Samsung claims it has an edge on its rivals and their more mature platform efforts. “We have tremendous potential for upside, because we’re just getting started on this,” said Gregory Lee, the president of Samsung Telecommunications America. “It’s not like we’ve been doing it for a long time.” Plus, there’s a secret weapon. Samsung would like its leadership in smart TVs to help pull along its mobile platform — which is already massive among users, but not yet developers. Samsung developer head Curtis Sasaki, as seen from the SDC stage , as part of a demo of Twitter for Android supporting Samsung pens to draw on top of tweeted photos. Lee said Samsung was hosting an unexpectedly large audience of 1,300 at the first-ever Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, as the company introduced five new and improved software development kits for its various devices.

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Twitter to Wait Until After IPO to Name Woman — Likely With International Cred — to Board

October 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

According to sources close to the situation, Twitter is planning on waiting to name its first woman to its board until after its IPO, which is set to take place next week. The move makes some level of sense, mostly because it would be difficult to have any new board member join the San Francisco-based microblogging company now, given that person would have to sign off on the public offering with little knowledge of its details. Sources also added that while many are expecting Twitter to seek out a female director with media or tech experience — and there are many laudable candidates in both those areas — the company’s execs, especially CEO Dick Costolo, believe one with international expertise is more important. The reason is clear — Twitter is a global player and runs into thorny issues all over the world around the proliferation of its open service. You might imagine in the future, as it grows, that the company will face even more international conundrums that it will need a lot of mental heavy-lifting to work out. While the board had put former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the top of its overall list, she has not been contacted about joining as a director. She’s also likely to be not available either, especially given she is expected to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election. ( Sorry, but she’s busy, boys! While Twitter chairman and co-founder Jack Dorsey will be bummed, most there actually considered her a very long shot.) The number of women with international experience is also long. But if I were to bet whom Twitter is considering for its top picks, I would name only two: Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright. Albright, among her many diplomatic roles, was the first woman to become the Secretary of State, named in the Clinton administration. She is now an international relations professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service (disclosure: I went there) and also is chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm

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Social Sharing App Buffer Hacked, Temporarily Halts Service

October 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Buffer, an app that automatically schedules sharing from a company’s social media accounts, was hacked on Saturday morning, according to the company. The attack was first noticed when an undetermined number of users began posting spammy weight-loss links to their Facebook and Twitter pages. That included highly visible members of the tech community like investor Fred Wilson , as well as brands Startup Genome, Turnstone and Brussels Airlines. “We greatly apologize for this big mess we’ve created. Buffer has been hacked,” co-founder Leo Widrich said in a Facebook post on Saturday morning . Widrich told Buffer customers that, in order to avoid automatically posting content from their accounts, users should either change their Facebook passwords or revoke Buffer’s social sharing permissions, and then delete the spam posts from their Facebook timelines. Buffer is hardly the only app which has had spam-related problems as of late. Just recently, Instagram saw a viral wave of weight-loss-related spam spread quickly across its service, though it was not the result of a hack. Buffer has not provided details on the extent of the hack, but has temporarily disabled its app’s Facebook functionality . Update 2:14 PT: Widrich and his staff sent out emails to users on Saturday afternoon, and also posted a few more details to the company blog . Among the additional information, Widrich said that no user passwords have been affected, nor has any “billing or payment information been affected or exposed.” “I am incredibly sorry this has happened and affected you and your company. We’re working around the clock right now to get this resolved and we’ll continue to post updates on Facebook and Twitter,” Widrich wrote.

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Twitter’s Roadshow Video: No Frills, by Design

October 25, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Twitter’s IPO roadshow presentation was posted to the Web on Friday morning, as the company kicks off its tour to pitch to investment firms around the country. The most remarkable point: It’s completely unremarkable , a stark contrast to an obvious comparison — the highly produced Facebook roadshow video we saw last year. Twitter’s video consists basically of CEO Dick Costolo laying out exactly what makes Twitter tick, and walking investors through the company’s ad products and user statistics. CFO Mike Gupta makes an appearance later on, explaining monetization and the company’s rapid revenue growth. But, unlike Facebook’s production, Costolo and Gupta appear against a plain, static backdrop, and run through a series of slides to lay out Twitter — basically the template for any other soon-to-be-public company creating a roadshow video. Compare that to the sweeping camera angles, animated graphics and airy soundtrack seen in Facebook’s pitch. Twitter’s S-1, too, was plain and understated. It lacked the founder’s letter that Facebook’s Zuckerberg penned, instead putting much of the focus again on exactly how Twitter works. Make no mistake: Twitter’s “no frills” approach is entirely by design

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Twitter Prices Its IPO at a Conservative $11 Billion

October 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Twitter said it is looking to sell its shares for $17 to $20 each in its upcoming public offering. If the company sells at the top end of its range, it would raise $1.6 billion in its IPO, and value the company at around $11 billion. That $20 figure is significant because it’s less than the $20.62 value Twitter assigned to its shares on August 5, the last time the company went through a valuation before letting the public take a look at its financials. For comparison’s sake: At the end of January 2012, Facebook valued its shares at $30.73 ; in May of that year, the company went public at $38 a share. A reasonable conclusion to draw from this is that Twitter is trying to be extra conservative in its runup to the IPO. Twitter is about to start a formal “road show” with institutional investors, and it may well end up bumping up that price based on the signals it gets during that process. On the other hand, it will work very hard to avoid lowering that proposed price before the IPO, given the bad mojo that would signal; the worst-case scenario would be a repeat of last year’s Facebook IPO, where shares ended up trading below the initial price shortly after their debut

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Twitter Likely to Kill Its Music App

October 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Just six months after launching it, Twitter is strongly considering killing off its Twitter #Music mobile application, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. It is unclear what Twitter’s time frame is for ultimately ending support for Twitter #Music, as the company is currently in the midst of revamping its music department. But sources tell AllThingsD that the app’s fate is nearly sealed. Upon its April debut, Twitter #Music spiked in the App Store rankings , reaching the number six slot in overall free app downloads. But in the months that followed it slipped quickly. Sources say that since that initial surge the app has seen “abysmal” numbers both in iTunes App Store downloads and engagement. As of the end of August, app analytics company Onavo places Twitter #Music at 1672th place in its own rankings. AppAnnie, another analytics service, ranks Twitter #Music at 264 in the iTunes Music app vertical as of October 19. The scrapping of Twitter #Music, when it occurs, marks a clear misstep in the company’s online music strategy, which has lacked direction over the past year. The app was atypically developed in isolation inside the company. It was a sort of skunkworks project led by former Twitter business development leader Kevin Thau, and built by the team behind “We Are Hunted”, a company Twitter acquired to work on music products. Twitter #Music, according to people familiar with its development, was never fully integrated with the overall product team as it was being built. Shortly after Twitter #Music was launched, Thau left the company to become chief operating officer of Jelly , the stealth startup founded by Twitter forefather Biz Stone

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Meet Blogger Mobile: Biz Stone’s Idea for Twitter Before It Was Twitter

October 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Even with the best of ideas, timing is still everything. And sometimes you arrive years too early to something big. Just ask Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter, who in the early 2000s made multiple attempts to build a simple, lightweight publishing service — all years before Twitter was ever on the radar. In a series of old blog posts, aptly enough, Stone documented much of his thought process of what a Twitter-like product could be, and made several early versions of a short-form blogging service. The first attempt came in 2003 with Sideblogger, a small project Stone worked on with programmer Chris MacDonald , tailored for entries that were “ too short for your main blog ,” as Stone once put it. Read this line from his early thoughts on the product: “My last post was 377 characters. My RSS reader is set to 255 characters. Maybe 255 is a new blog standard? The point at which post becomes essay?” Not quite 140 characters yet, but prescient enough. Sideblogger didn’t work out — Google ended up freaking Stone out by asking him to take “Blogger” out of the title , as the company owned the eponymous service. Later on, after Stone ended up joining Google and Blogger, came the Blogger Mobile project you see in the photo above. Stone, early Twitter product leader Jason Goldman , and Jason Shellen , another Blogger veteran, all collaborated on the project. This is quintessential Twitter before actually becoming Twitter

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Twitter’s Q3: Flat Revenue Growth, Decelerating User Growth

October 16, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Sometimes growing up — and out — is hard to do. Just ask Twitter, which filed its updated IPO documentation with the SEC on Tuesday afternoon. Twitter would like to tell investors that the service’s user base is booming. But it can’t, because Twitter’s user-growth rate has slowed down. In the third quarter of this year, Twitter’s active user base grew by 39 percent over Q3 2012. In Q2, Twitter’s year-over-year growth rate had been 44 percent. That’s a problem for a service that started out the year hoping to double it user base to 400 million but has already had to scale down those ambitions . Meanwhile, Twitter’s revenue growth rate has stayed flat between Q2 and Q3, at 105 percent

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