6 Business Insights from Twitter’s Biz Stone

By | March 14, 2012
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Biz StoneAt SXSW on Monday, I had the opportunity to hear Biz Stone (@biz), co-founder of Twitter speak on finding success and evoking change. Below are some of the lessons he shared from his experiences that transcend all industries. They are good reminders for all agency leaders.

1) People make change; technology just helps.

Leaders and entrepreneurs need to remember that people come first; they are going to be the ones that bring change to the world, or your business. Technology only exists to help people “do what they do best.”

2) Opportunities can be manufactured.

Upon entering high school, Biz wanted to join a sports team as a way to get involved and meet people. However, he quickly learned that he wasn’t cut out for the existing clubs—football, basketball and baseball. Instead of accepting defeat and inactivity, he started a lacrosse team at his school, thus manufacturing his own opportunity.

This same idea can be applied to business; you don’t have to sit around and wait for the right circumstances to emerge. Successful people look for ways to create their own opportunities and chances for advancement.

3) Creativity is a renewable resource; you can't run out. 

As an artist going into college, Biz learned that an individual cannot run out of creativity. There will always be new ideas and inspiration to draw from, if you open your mind up to them.

4) To succeed spectacularly, you need to be willing to fail. 

When pitching Twitter, almost everyone that Biz and his co-founder Evan Williams (@ev) talked with thought that it was a dumb idea. One of the harshest criticisms they received was “Twitter is not useful.” Their response: “Neither is ice cream. Does that mean we should ban ice cream and all joy?”

Both founders saw the power behind their idea; they knew that it could help people see what was going on around them and connect with others, incite action and ultimately bring joy. They were willing to take a risk in something they believed in, and as a result, succeeded spectacularly. Calculated risks are what can set an organization apart.

5) There is compound interest with altruism.

The earlier you and your employees get involved in altruism, the more value you’ll provide over time. Startups have the unique opportunity that they can weave causes into their culture from the start. In addition to contributing to a larger good, this helps attract high quality talent. People want to participate in meaningful work; your culture should support this.

6) Ask lots of questions.

Reach out to people who have been in similar circumstances, and ask them lots of questions. There’s knowledge out there to capture, if you seek it out.  

What lessons have you learned?

As an agency leader, what lessons have you learned on your path to success? What life experiences affected your outlook on business? Share your thoughts below.

Image Source: Joi

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