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Flock of Birds on Vacation

April 9th, 2014 by

things a little bird told meI’m currently on vacation at my wife’s Gold Club Trip in Cabo, Mexico, so less blog posts this week and more time absorbing the world.  Per usual, I set the goal to read at least one book, and the pick was Things a little Bird told Me: Confessions of a Creative Mind, by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.

Here’s a quick recap that hopefully inspires you to buy the book, which I highly recommend.

Star Trek. You can’t officially beam me up as a big fan of Star Trek, but Biz ties in a few parallels that offered inspiration to him, giving us hope that the mindless things we do in life like watching TV might later connect dots of opportunity some time in the future. The Perfect Wife?  Anyone, Bueller?

Trade Shows. For those of us that have lugged trade show booths and launched businesses to the trade show world, you’ll love the story for how Biz and Twitter debuted at the SXSW show.

Idealist Role. “Every company needs an idealist” notes Biz in the book. And that was his role at Twitter, as the creative director and spirit of the company, managing communication. As they say, someone’s got to do it—become the positive voice that finds light in darkness. But that’s really just scratching the surface of Biz’s role. Biz became the voice of reason, the pulse of philosophy, the definition of culture and pipeline to political neutral for Twitter. A bit of “ready, fire, aim” but the aim was always pointed in the right direction from the start.

Money Isn’t Everything. A half a billion here. A half a billion there. When it’s going well, it just doesn’t matter. Apparently. To turn down a $500,000,000 offer for an acquisition of Twitter by Facebook is just remarkable.  And the story is well told. Few, if any, could be that aggressive, confident or insane to turn down that kind of money.  I’m not even sure what word to use with that last sentence. What is troubling me however is after that offer, they raise funding on a $250,000,000 valuation. That seems low to me. What up?

Selling Your Business. Biz declares that there are three reasons that business owners sell their business: one, you’re about to be crushed by the competition or sued into oblivion. Two, you’re tired or done and just want the money already. Three, your company’s potential, when paired with another company, is exponentially bigger than you can possibly imagine or attain on your own. Sound thinking and solid advice. Keep going until one of those surfaces to the top.

Favorite Story in the Book. Twitter won the innovation award at SXSW soon after the company launched. Biz explains that it did not occur to the team that they could actually win until minutes before the show.  He scrambled and wrote the following speech, which was once again, pure brilliance: “We’d like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did.”

The sun is setting now in a spectacular way, and we’re headed out to a special last night dining experience, the Mexican way.  Cheers!



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