Friday 13 December 2019

'Timing is everything,' Twitter founder tells summit

Peter Flanagan

DESPITE changes in the business world, timing remains the key to creating a successful business, according to the founder of Twitter.

Jack Dorsey said last night that some of the best business ideas have failed because they came along at the wrong time.

"I wouldn't say that we were lucky per se in terms of our business, but rather the key to our success was recognising a fortunate situation. I tried an idea similar to Twitter back in 2000 but back then not everyone had smartphones, so there just wasn't a gap in the market for it and I ended up putting it in a drawer for a few years," he said.

Mr Dorsey was speaking at the conclusion of the Dublin Web Summit last night.

This year's summit has run alongside a larger event called the Founders, which has seen some of the biggest names in cyber space descend on the capital. "It wasn't until 2006, when the text messaging system in the US was sufficient, that Twitter became viable," he added.

Like many businessmen in the technology space, Mr Dorsey made his mark initially as a hacker before eventually coming up with Twitter as a way to connect with his friends in San Francisco. Now there are about 165 million people with Twitter accounts worldwide and Mr Dorsey believes there is room for many more.

"We're working to be able to sustain 1 billion users. Twitter has grown in a way that sometimes [seemed out of control]. Especially in the early days, the site crashed quite often because we just didn't have the capacity.

"However, we made the decision to tell our users that 'this was the situation and we're trying to fix it', and that really was a turning point for us along with the 2008 presidential election, which allowed us to really take off."

As well as the election, 2008 saw the near collapse of Wall Street and staff clear-outs at a number of investment banks. Mr Dorsey believes that that reduction in staff has helped internet start-ups to get funding that they might not have received before.

"Many bankers who would have been quite sceptical of the tech world can no longer prevent start-ups from getting funding. Recessions are great times for innovation and it seems banks are more willing than ever to invest."

Irish Independent

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