I asked a few friends whose opinions matter, privately, what it is that Dick Costolo has done that makes investors want him out. The consensus is this -- he's not a product guy. But that doesn't mean he's not a good CEO. People seem to like working for him. I think with a few changes it can all work just fine. And the fact that Twitter is not run by product can be a plus not a minus.
I've never met Costolo. Why is that? I would travel to SF to meet with him. I am a product guy. A lot of the core ideas in Twitter were developed in the blogosphere, and that's where my influence was maximum. Back when we had an open platform that no one controlled. So the first part of cleaning this stuff up, DC should start meeting with people whose ideas he's been building on. Let's start talking. We may not understand each other at first, so we should meet again until we do.
Second, let's get the developer community going again. It's far from impossible. Twitter has a good API, and the service is a lot more reliable today than it was when it had an excited developer community. I've heard that investors won't back Twitter-based startups. So what. It doesn't take very much money to get something going, esp now that we have services like Heroku and EC2 to build on. I like the idea that I don't have to compete with a bunch of frothy bubble-based startups. And the browser as an app platform has grown enormously. Lots of good new tech to build on if Twitter were more encouraging of developers.
Earlier, I mentioned that it could be an asset for Twitter not to be product-driven. That eliminates basic conflict with developers. A problem every platform has. The more the platform depends on developers, the more concern there is that the employees of the company will interfere. Twitter has, ironically, a great track record there. Unfortunately they nuked the developers. And that's why you see such a dearth of new ideas in the Twitter community.
It would be easy to re-stoke the fires. Why don't we do that in 2015, rather than the alternative, which is almost certainly Twitter being acquired by Microsoft or Yahoo, the equiv of the Knicks in the software world. (Sorry I am a huge NBA fan who lives in NYC.)
We could do it.