Behind a Twitter IPO and amid early curiosity about social search company Jelly, Biz Stone, a cofounder of both, has caught the attention of a wider world hungry for thoughts on new approaches to old ideas.
How do you first address a problem you want to solve, how to establish a platform, how to build a team and how to stay focused on a goal? Stone — more marketing and design than technologist and finance — has had the true Silicon Valley pathway, a long-road of creative thinking and a startup failure on the way to wider success.
Tomorrow morning, Stone will be at the Free Library of Philadelphia for a discussion set up by the release of his new book ‘Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind,” in which, full disclosure, this reporter will interview him on stage about the social web, entrepreneurship and how creative communities are changing. Register for the $40 event here.
(This morning, we’ll be raffling off two tickets to the event on our Twitter account this morning. Watch for that.)
Here are three lessons from the book any entrepreneur could learn:
- Great companies learn from and adapt with their users: Famously, the retweet, the hashtag and the @ reply on Twitter were conceived of by users of the service, not Twitter employees, Stone said. “Success…came from how people used the tools they were given,” he said, so companies must develop a feedback loop and act on it. (p. 68)
- There are only three smart reasons to sell a company, Stone said: (a) you admit defeat to a competitor, (b) you’re tired of the project or (c) an acquiring company would exponentially increase your impact or goals. (p. 132)
- In product development, don’t hide behind options: “more than 99 percent of people just leave the settings on default,” he writes, so compromising on a product by offering two solutions is “wishy-washy.” (p. 163)