Meeting Biz Stone at the Aloha Summit

I had the great pleasure to meet Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter at the Aloha Summit in Boulder earlier this week.

He spoke a bit about the reasons for Twitter:
In 2006 phone companies would allow SMS to go from one network to another. That’s when the idea of Twitter become something worth pursuing for him.

He spoke about the success of the huge success of the Election 08 page.
A team formerly at Google analytics built the election 2008 page at Twitter: election.twitter.com

Biz talked about the fact that there could be many more pages like this in future. Possibly local network pages that serve like a news ticker or pages covering many other events.

He revealed some interesting numbers:
90% of all users do not protect their updates.
50% of all Twitter users are light or casual users: They follow less than 10 people and are followed by less than 10.

Why are Twitter messages limited to exactly 140 characters?
This is derived from text messages being limited to 160 characters. The message included the username as well (up to 15 characters long). Instead of making the length of the message dynamic Twitter decided to keep things simple.

Biz admitted that the people search feature in Twitter is not good and needs to be improved.

How does Twitter monetize?
I asked Biz about his plans for future revenue models for Twitter. He stated that there is a revenue stream via SMS that they will increase with additional use of Twitter. It doesn’t sound like Twitter currently has a premium user model in mind and Biz is certainly smart enough to not plaster Twitter with advertising. But he mentioned that some companies are getting a significant benefit out of Twitter and that they might try to monetize that in the future.

Interested to learn more about Biz Stone?
Biz uses tumbler as a central destination for all his online ramblings: biz.tumblr.com.

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