Twitter still doesn't have a head of sales

But, in a speech at the Brainstorm: Tech conference, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone insists that the company knows what it is doing.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read

Twitter's Biz Stone (right) speaks with Fortune's Adam Lashinsky at Brainstorm: Tech on Thursday. Ina Fried/CNET

PASADENA, Calif.--Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that, for all its success, the company is still 1 percent of where it wants to be. Oh, yeah and it still doesn't have a head of sales.

"We have a lot of growing still to do," Stone said Thursday at the Brainstorm: Tech conference here. The company has managed to grow its staff to 55 workers. (That's up from 43 in May.) Stone said the company is trying to keep focused on the longer term.

"We don't want to be that child actor...that grew up all freaky," he said. "We want to be like (child actor-turned-director) Ron Howard."

Stone said he understands the widespread concern that the company doesn't generate any significant revenue. He said the anger comes from the fact that people passionately want the company to succeed.

"It's like a nice loving mom that wants to make sure you are eating," he said.

Stone made his now-familiar argument that the company still needs to put its energy building the service.

"The level of awareness is still way bigger than the level of engagement," Stone said.

One thing the company is doing is launching a "Twitter 101" to explain to businesses how they might use the service. That should be up Thursday or Friday, Stone said.

Other new features are coming soon, Stone said.

Predictably, talk shifted to a widely publicized hack that led to loads of confidential documents being published on several Web sites, including TechCrunch.

Stone cautioned not to take leaked financial documents too seriously. The documents were more of a "thought exercise."

"If there's any takeaway from that it's that we are thinking big," Stone said. Stone said that he has spent time contacting the company's current and future partners to put the documents in context. "These were unpublished notes not meant for public consumption."

He declined to talk about whether Twitter might sue the hacker who got the documents, or TechCrunch, which published them.

"I don't know," he said. "I don't want to comment too much on any ongoing investigation type stuff."

One of the interesting comments came from Wal-Mart communications VP Mona Williams, who told Stone her company really needed better tools to filter all of the comments that come in mentioning Wal-Mart.

"That's something I think we'd be willing to pay for," she said.

For more on Twitter, check out this video interview I did with Stone and CEO Evan Williams at the D: All Things Digital conference in May.