Former Stand-Up Comedian Takes His Company Public

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has applied for an initial public offering. The process will be interesting to watch because Dick Costolo is interesting to watch. And, of course, we're all hoping Twitter avoids Facebook's IPO disaster.

Twitter IPO

As a former stand-up comedian, Costolo is known for his sense of humor. At a commencement speech at the University of Michigan, Costolo spoke of his failed attempts to appear on Second City TV and Saturday Night Live. According to The New York Times, at the 2012 opening of the Cannes Film Festival, Costolo started the keynote speech as follows:

"Since I've got 45 minutes, if we can just start with some quick introductions," he says, gesturing to the front row. "Start over here. Stand up, say what company you're from and what animal you could be if you could be any animal."

The Times article also quotes Costolo as saying, "People have Plato's form in their mind of what a leader is, or what a C.E.O. is, and it is a bunch of elements that I really don't conform to at all. I've given this a lot of thought, and I came to the conclusion that I don't care."

I remember writing about Facebook's IPO Roadshow video, full of emotional appeal, yet light on financials. It will be interesting to see how another non-traditional company-with a non-traditional CEO-handles the communications.

Discussion Starters:

  • How can Costolo use humor to his advantage during the IPO process?
  • What potential pitfalls does he need to avoid?
  • How can Twitter differentiate itself from Facebook's experience?