Earlier this week, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, presented at the New Context Conference in San Francisco and highlighted the fumbles from his start-up career–a nice lead up to today’s much-anticipated Twitter IPO.
“The first, second and third company I went to work for, somehow I screwed them up. Doing start-ups is all about making mistakes,” said Stone.
Stone, also known for his work with Xanga and Odeo, said company culture and investing in a company’s mission are crucial lessons he learned from these mistakes, reported Tech Crunch. (The full recap is worth a read.)
Culture is key. Stone reflected on his time at Xanga, and said that not focusing on building a strong company culture was his greatest mistake with the start-up. Unhappy with the company’s shift away from innovation and the culture that had developed, Stone quit Xanga.
“What I should have done was work really hard to make a change in the company culture,” said Stone. “The lesson I learned was that company culture at the beginning is incredibly important. You have to tend to it…almost as much as you tend to your product.”
You need to be passionate. After spending some time working at Google, Stone went on to found podcasting company Odeo with Evan Williams. Odeo grew and found a niche in the podcasting world, but after some time Stone and Williams realized that they were not passionate about what they were doing so they started Obvious Corp and bought Odeo so they could move on to bigger and better things, well–Twitter.
“If I had one piece of advice to tell an entrepreneur, I always say, you have to have emotional investment in what you are working on,” said Stone. “You can’t just be working on something because you think other people will like it. That’s a huge mistake. The big thing I learned at Odeo was you have to be emotionally invested in your work or failure is guaranteed.” -Abigail Tracy