Twitter’s Exiting CEO Dick Costolo Warns Successor: Don’t Forget to Woo Wall Street

“When you go public you’re on a 90-day cadence, and there’s a very public voting machine of the stock price that accelerates that short-term thinking,” Twitter chief says

Departing Twitter CEO Dick Costolo reflected on factors he underestimated as the social giant’s chief, advising his eventual successor to prioritize balancing global business with wooing Wall Street.

“When we took the company public, I had an expectation that the market would evaluate us based on our financial metrics first and foremost,” he told The Guardian. “I probably would frame the way we were thinking about the future of the company differently, understanding how we were in retrospect evaluated.”

Costolo acknowledged the pressures of catering to Wall Street expectations sparked pressures for short-term thinking.

“You always want to keep focused on the long-term vision, yet when you go public you’re on a 90-day cadence and there’s a very public voting machine of the stock price that accelerates that short-term thinking.”

Did that machine finally come too forceful, causing him to step down?

“It is the right time,” he said. “Great leaders and great CEOs are both resilient and self-aware,” pouring cold water on naysayers who suggested he set unrealistic, sky-high user number expectations.

“I have never paid attention to people externally who are saying I should do this or that,” Costolo concluded.

For now, co-founder Jack Dorsey will serve as interim CEO until a permanent leader is named.

“When I took on the role of CEO I thought of myself as a technologist, but I’ve had to become more and more concerned with the geopolitical landscape, as have all my counterparts in tech,” he said. “Dealing with that landscape will be the big challenge , the different ways in which countries think about the value of open exchanges of information. I have only seen that get more complex.”