CNBC TRANSCRIPT: TWITTER CEO DICK COSTOLO SITS DOWN ONE-ON-ONE WITH JULIA BOORSTIN TODAY ON CNBC
When: Today, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012
Where: CNBC’s Business Day Programming
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo today, Wednesday, Sept. 26 on CNBC’s Business Day programming. Here is a link to Julia’s accompanying story on CNBC.com: http://www.cnbc.com/id/49170343.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
Following are links to the videos of the interview on CNBC.com:
CNBC's Julia Boorstin talks to Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo about Twitter's ads, the user experience, and whether or not he wants to take the company public.
CNBC's Julia Boorstin talks with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo about the "beauty" of their mobile apps.
In this CNBC.com-only video clip, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo answers some of the questions submitted to CNBC by Tweeters and asked by Julia Boorstin.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Dick, thanks so much for talking to us. This is certainly a very exciting time for Twitter. We know that 140 million people use Twitter, 340 million tweets a day. But how do you turn all those people and all that activity into profits?
DICK COSTOLO: Well, primarily right now we're focused on user growth and user engagement. We're growing our user base rapidly, and then additionally we focus on making sure we're doing things in the product so that those users who are coming into the platform are using it more and more every day. When you do those things, the revenue kinda takes care of itself ultimately. And the business is working great right now. Our ad platform is wildly successful.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Now is the ad platform as it stands a sustainable model? Do you have enough tweets-- enough promoted tweets mixed in there with all the regular tweets?
DICK COSTOLO: Yeah. The short answer is yes. We think that the ad platform, as it is today, with some-- capabilities that will allow self-serve advertisers to use the platform more easily-- is the scalable model that will do everything we need to do for the business.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Now, Twitter users have gotten used to an experience with very few ads. Especially on mobile, you only introduced ads recently. Is there an inherent conflict between serving your users and serving your advertising partners?
DICK COSTOLO: No. And the reason for that is, we don't charge advertisers for displaying ads. The advertiser only gets charged if the user interacts with the ad. They click on the link in the ad, they retweet the tweet, they reply to it, they favorited it. So our business is only going to work if we're putting content in front of our users that they want to see and that they engage with. And that's the simple equation. If we do that, the users will be happy, our business will work, and our advertisers win.
JULIA BOORSTIN: But just in terms of a user experiencing Twitter with promoted tweets in there, you know, it seems like they'd rather have an experience with no ads. So how would you reconcile those two different demands?
DICK COSTOLO: Well, I'd rather have a house that I didn't have to pay for. But, you know, we-- we're-- we're-- we're trying to do is fund the growth of the business. We have an A.P.I. that serves billions of requests a day-- to a whole ecosystem of companies that support-- users and organizations and nonprofits and businesses that use Twitter every day around the world. And the advertising engine, we think, is the best way to fun the growth of the business and create a healthy business that will allow us to keep doing all this other stuff for free.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Now, you only introduced mobile ads this spring. How are they doing?
DICK COSTOLO: Our mobile ads are doing quite well. As you mentioned, we just introduced them this spring. I have said previously, and-- and will repeat here, we've already had days, even after only introducing them a few months ago, where mobile revenue has-- exceeded nonmobile revenue. We're very excited about the future of our mobile ad platform.
I think the beauty of our ad platform is this: it was designed to go everywhere the tweets go. And the tweets are in mobile from day one. So we live in a world where we've designed this platform to work for mobile from day one as opposed to having to port an eg-- an existing model that was designed for something else to mobile.
JULIA BOORSTIN: So that raises comparisons to Facebook. Are you saying that being native mobile makes your-- mobile ads better than Facebook's?
DICK COSTOLO: No, I'm-- I'm comparing the Twitter ad platform to any other kind of digital ad platform. I think that we're the first-- really the first ad platform that was designed from the ground up to work everywhere. Web, mobile, tablet, et cetera. Because the tweets went everywhere from day one.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Advertisers always want metrics. Do you have data on how effective your mobile ads are?
DICK COSTOLO: Of course. And we provide advertiser with s-- advertisers with a significant dashboard-- that tells them all sorts of information about the efficacy of their ads. I think what they would tell you across the board is that our mobile ads work quite well. In many cases, they work even better than the non-mobile ads. And they're ha-- and the engagement rates on those back that up.
JULIA BOORSTIN: What can you tell us about how effective your mobile ads are?
DICK COSTOLO: I would tell you the same thing I-- that our-- that our dashboards say to our advertisers, which is that the engagement rates on them are quite high. And again, by engagement rate, I mean users clicking on or applying or retweeting or favoriting a tweet higher than we'd modeled originally when we set out to-- do what we're doing now. And we're extremely happy with them.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Can you give us any comparisons to industry averages for, say, display ads or--
DICK COSTOLO: Sure. Display ads in the industry have a click-through rate of something, like, you know, .05% or-- or-- or a little mit-- maybe a little bit more than that. The engagement rates on our mobile ads are in many cases-- an order-- orders of magnitude bigger than that. They're in the-- between, like, 1% and 3% engagement rates on our-- on our mobile-promoted tweets.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And how does that compare with your desktop product?
DICK COSTOLO: A little bit-- a little bit higher than our desktop product almost across the board.
JULIA BOORSTIN: How fast is Twitter revenue growing?
DICK COSTOLO: Our revenue is scaling the way we want to scale it. I've been very clear, I think, in the past about-- being-- practical but cautious about the way we role out our ad platform. And I did that because we wanted to make sure we were rolling on our platform in a way that preserved-- the user experience and made sure we weren't-- doing things that our users rejected or didn't like.
And we used data to decide that, right? Are users who are seeing ads, engaging more or less than users who don't see ads? Things like that. So we took our time and rolled out the platform in a way that allowed us to make sure we were preserving, if not enhancing the user experience with our platform. And I think we've done a great job of balancing that and growing the revenue base at the same time. And we're growing the revenue base-- as quickly as we'd like to.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And what is the big risk that you're monitoring here? You talked about sort of trying to make sure you balance these two things. W-- what are you trying to prevent?
DICK COSTOLO: I think that the simplest way to say it is it's not that I'm trying to-- there's nothing we're trying to prevent. What we're trying to do is ensure that we can scale this advertising business while preserving the integrity of the user experience.
In other words, making sure that users who are seeing ads are using Twitter just as much or more than they were before they were seeing ads. That kind of data will tell us whether the ad platform works and whether it's preserving the user experience.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Can you continue to accelerate growth while preserving that user experience?
DICK COSTOLO: Yes.
JULIA BOORSTIN: So how-- how much more will you be able to grow your ad revenue based on that? You know--
DICK COSTOLO: Significantly.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Okay. You've invested a lot in growth. Infrastructure, employees, what are your growth plans for both this year and next in terms of those factors?
DICK COSTOLO: We'll continue to hire aggressively. It's actually a very exciting time right now, especially in this-- in-- in-- in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, as there's an extraordinary competition for talent. I mean that across the board. Engineering talent, sales talent-- product management, et cetera.
And-- as we continue to hire aggressively, it's one of the things I probably spend-- most of my time on is making sure we're raising the bar, always hiring the best people we could possibly hire, and-- and competing for that talent aggressively. That's probably, as I think about the growth of the business, the most important aspect of growth for us inside the company over the course of the next year is-- is making sure we're recruiting the very best.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And how much do you need to do in terms of growing infrastructure to maintain growing employees, to maintain your revenue growth?
DICK COSTOLO: Our infrastructure growth is-- a fun computer science challenge, right? We have hundreds of millions of tweets coming in every day that have to be fanned out, we call it, to user timelines-- when we've got some users who have tens of millions of followers--and we need to fan out that tweet that just came in to-- form-- from a Lady Gaga, right, to tens of millions of followers right now, along with every other tweet that's pouring into the platform. So the infrastructure work is significant and challenging but I think we have the right people here to do it.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Is it a constant battle to prevent another "Fail Whale"?
DICK COSTOLO: I think we're out ahead of that work now. We think about our infrastructure work in several phases and I think the next phase of it is how can we do what we're doing more efficiently and with faster response times.
JULIA BOORSTIN: When are you going to start turning a profit? Obviously you're investing in growth. But when are you going to start turning a profit?
DICK COSTOLO: We don't talk about the profitability of the company. One of the benefits, as I've said before, of being a private company, is we don't have to discuss that.
JULIA BOORSTIN: So you're competing with Facebook for ad dollars. Why should an advertiser come to Twitter if Facebook has so much more scale?
DICK COSTOLO: I think that there are few things we really love that we think are unique about our advertising platform. One, on Twitter, the ad is content. The ad comes from a Twitter account, from the marketer, or company's Twitter account. And it goes into the user's timeline with all the other tweets.
It's not in a different part of the page where here's the content and over there in a different part of the page are the ads on Twitter. The ad is content. It's a tweet that can be retweeted, favorited, replied to, et cetera. That's point one. Point two, since the ads go everywhere the tweets go, marketers are essentially-- already invested in whatever growth we see and the world sees toward mobile, toward tablets, et cetera, without having to rethink their strategy-- strategy at all.
As pretty migrate to-- the next-- Android device, the next-- iOS device, the next tablet, if you're advertising with Twitter, when those users go there, your promoted tweets will appear in front of them. So-- those-- all those things and more are reasons why we think advertisers will benefit from working with us.
JULIA BOORSTIN: But do you find it tough to compete with Twitter? I'm sorry, with-- do you find it tough for Twitter to compete with Facebook for those ad dollars?
DICK COSTOLO: When I s-- when I talk about the fact that we compete with Facebook for advertisers, they're not the only company we compete with for advertisers. We compete with a number of companies-- for advertisers. We are having absolutely no problem right now working with advertisers on our ad platform because the efficacy of the ads sells itself.
JULIA BOORSTIN: You recently revamped your profile pages to make them much more personalized. Many people say they look a lot more like Facebook's. Are you trying to become more like Facebook?
DICK COSTOLO: No. I think of these two companies as two very different companies. And that's not why we made that change. The reason we made that change is we saw in data that when people would access somebody's Twitter profile page, they were engaging with the photos and the right-hand rail of those pages very frequently.
In fact, far more frequently than you would think based on the location of the photos in that page. So that led us to conclude that data and user requests for more personalization, more personality on the profile pages to add those kinds of photo capabilities.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Twitter and Facebook send a lot of users to each other. Do you think of Facebook as a frenemy?
DICK COSTOLO: I think that one of the great things about Silicon Valley is that irrespective of how closely you're partnering with or how deeply you're competing with another company out here, we have great relationships with all these companies. We talk to the folks at Facebook regularly.
You know, I-- all the-- most of the executives here know all the executives over there. I sh-- I saw Sheryl's husband last night-- we were at a dinner together and-- and talked about business. So I think that's one of the compelling things about doing business in this part of the world.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Well, here's a question I have to ask. How has Facebook's I.P.O. debacle changed your perspective on going public?
DICK COSTOLO: We don't think about-- and I know I've-- I know I've had this conversation with you before, that the-- the Twitter I.P.O. question. It's not something we're focused on right now. I think about I.P.O.'s as a mechanism for financing the growth of the company.
And when I think about the growth of the company right now, I'm focused specifically on user growth-- user engagement, and growing the team and recruiting the best team internally. There will come a time when it's-- we need to start talking about what's the best way to finance the future growth of the company, and then we'll have that conversation.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Will that time come in 2013?
DICK COSTOLO: I'm not focused on when the-- when the-- what the-- what the date for any of that financing is right now.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Are bankers putting pressure on you to go public? Are you getting phone calls from the bankers here in Silicon Valley?
DICK COSTOLO: Well, unless it's that person that calls me at 2:00 A.M. that I don't answer who weeps into the phone-- no. I've-- we're not getting any pressure from bankers.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Are you under pressure based on the number of shareholders or any of these other-- re-- regulatory factors to go public at some point?
DICK COSTOLO: No-- the-- interesting thing about the regulatory change and the number of shareholders is I think it provides private companies with a lot more flexibility and I think that's all fantastic. That doesn't have any bearing on the decision we would or wouldn't make to-- as to when to be a public company. It will be based on a decision we make about when we think the timing is right for us, not any sort of regulatory issue or market timing issue.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Has the fact that I.P.O.'s-- the-- that Facebook's I.P.O. was such a debacle changed your perspective at all on-- on when the right time is for Twitter to go public?
DICK COSTOLO: Nothing external to the company has had any bearing on how I think about when to take Twitter-- public or not to.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Okay. If going public in the near future isn't happening, is Twitter a takeover target?
DICK COSTOLO: We have every belief in the world and when I say "We," I mean all of us here inside the company. In fact, not just the employees of the company, the board of directors. We have every belief that we are building one of the lasting, digital, technology companies in the world and that we will be a permanent-- member of the digital constellation.
JULIA BOORSTIN: But does that mean you're going to be an independent of the digital constellation--
DICK COSTOLO: We have every belief that we are going to be an independent company-- and that we've got the-- the engine that we need to be a successful, independent company.
JULIA BOORSTIN: There's been some speculation that Twitter would be a good acquisition target for Apple. What do you think of that rumor?
DICK COSTOLO: I think it's very-- complimentary, you know? I mean, Apple is one of the world's great companies. Apple is a partner of ours. We think of them as having proven time and time again that you can balance courage and focus and do audacious things and do just a few of them and be extraordinarily successful. So I take that as a compliment.
JULIA BOORSTIN: For the right price, would you sell to an Apple or a Google?
DICK COSTOLO: We have every hope and belief that we will be a successful independent-- company.
JULIA BOORSTIN: So moving on to questions about your revenue outside of advertising, you sell your data stream to search engines like Bing, though not Google. What's the future of that business model for Twitter?
DICK COSTOLO: I think that there will continue to be a data services-- a data licensing-- business for some time. We don't think about it as the centerpiece of any of our revenue strategy. It's interesting, there are hundreds of companies actually that-- that license our data through resellers like-- Gnip and DataSift and we'll continue to-- we'll continue to keep that business going. I don't think of it as-- as a cornerstone to any future-- growth of the-- of the business.
JULIA BOORSTIN: So many brands use your platform to commun-- communicate with their customers for free. Why not charge them?
DICK COSTOLO: Because, I mean, this gets right back to my point earlier. I think that the ad platform provides us with the ability to do all these other things for free. And the beauty of allowing companies to come in and leverage Twitter as a customer relationship management platform for free is because what we see time and time again is that you don't have to tweet to love Twitter.
So a great way for businesses to onboard into the platform is to come into Twitter and just start listening, hearing what people are saying about their brand. From there, they can start replying to people. And we have a number of companies in the ecosystem that help companies reply, right? You see companies like Virgin America and Nike respond instantly to customer requests.
Those are through partnerships with companies like Sprinkler and others that-- that help them do that. Once they start doing that and replying to-- to customers, then they can start proactively reaching out and tweeting to customers. So we think about it as a great onboarding mechanism, listening to people first, and we want them to be able to do that for free.
JULIA BOORSTIN: So you're giving it away for free first. Now, you mentioned all these independ-- independent developers who sell services for customer service, for data analytics. Aren't you leaving money on the table by not selling those services yourself?
DICK COSTOLO: It doesn't bother me if we are or if we aren't. And I'll tell you why. Like, we have-- very few things we want to focus on and be the absolute best at. And primarily, that's in service to our vision, to bring people closer. Twitter brings you closer. So we want to do all the things we can to bring people closer together, closer to their interests, closer to their heroes, closer to the companies they work with. And anything that's outside of that, we're happy to let other people do and profit from.
JULIA BOORSTIN: But why not be part of the process? If it's-- I mean, for instance customer service, that brings people closer. Why not just, you know, deliver those tools yourself? I mean, there are plenty of companies charging quite a bit of money for-- for that.
DICK COSTOLO: Because you have to focus. When you focus and do just a few things extremely well and you're the best at those in the world, you can build a fantastic enterprise. When you think to yourself, "If I let someone else do this, I might leave 50¢ on the table," then you don't has-- have as compelling a platform or as compelling an ecosystem. And companies like Virgin America and Nike and the hundreds of thousands and millions of other small businesses who use Twitter can't use it effectively-- as effectively.
JULIA BOORSTIN: We've started to see small businesses using Twitter for everything from taking restaurant reservations--
DICK COSTOLO: Yes.
JULIA BOORSTIN: --to food orders. I mean, it's-- it's pretty amazing. Will we see some sort of ecommerce capability on Twitter that Twitter would be a part of?
DICK COSTOLO: I think that we do see lots of commerce take place every day on Twitter. It's particularly interesting in areas where you've got things like perishable inventory like tickets, right? Like "The game or the show starts in X hours and if we don't sell these tickets, they-- there's nothing we can do with them.
So-- we observe that and are paying attention to that and are thinking about the kinds of ways we could participate in that value exchange. And-- as we continue to think about that, we'll see what happens. So I'm not-- I'm not saying we are or we aren't, but we are absolutely looking at that.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Could that be a new revenue stream for Twitter down the line--
DICK COSTOLO: Of course.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Interesting. Some of your developers have been complaining about Twitter limiting access. They've been up in arms. Shouldn't Twitter be embracing all of its developers?
DICK COSTOLO: Well, as I said, we have, you know, billions of A.P.I. requests a day that we service and-- and hand out to the ecosystem across th-- thousands if not tens of thousands of companies. What we've said is, "We want to have a Twitter-owned-and-operated client experience on all the major platforms so that when a user migrates from using Twitter on the web to Twitter on iPhone to Twitter on Android, it looks and feels the same. That's the area in which we've laid down some specific ground rules about what people can and can't do. And I think that is in service to making sure that we can build the best business we can build.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And how do you respond to all this developer outrage and frustration?
DICK COSTOLO: Well, it's happening because we're trying to migrate from having an A.P.I. and just an A.P.I. to a world where we have a real platform. And-- by real platform, I mean a world in which third parties can build into Twitter such that users get the benefit of the platform plus the benefit of what the third party did, not just the benefit of Twitter or some alternate experience.
And there are all sorts of companies that are starting to build into the platform. Etsy is building into the platform and providing details about commerce, you can-- you can exchange in on et-- Etsy, National Geographic is building into the platform.
David Stern, the Commissioner of the NBA-- announced at a conference-- earlier this summer, that he would like to have-- next year's NBA M.V.P. voting just be a tweet with a poll in it. And then once you voted in the poll, the tweet would show you the real-time results of that poll. That's all building into Twitter, and that's the platform we want to create.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Before we talk some more about sports, I have to ask you about this law suit. Twitter is in the middle of a law suit because you don't want to hand over tweets to the government. Why don't you want to hand over tweets to the government?
DICK COSTOLO: I'm guessing you're talking about the Harris case in New York. And that's a case where what's actually been requested is some private-- user information that the user signed up with. It's our belief that our users should have the right to protest the forced production of their private information. That's what this case is about.
So we have-- based on-- based on the most recent-- our most recent request being turned down, we have provided that information under seal pending our appeal. All we're asking is that our users should have the right to protest the forced production of their private information.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Why is it such an important case for Twitter and for the rest of the social media landscape?
DICK COSTOLO: I'll tell you-- I'll tell you why I think it's important. We have a core value here at Twitter that says we want to defend and respect the user's voice. And that's important to us on a global basis. It's one of the reasons we have pseudonyms in Twitter, so that people are free to speak-- politically in countries where political speech is oppressed.
And-- and here, where-- someone who doesn't sign up for a service, expecting that their signup information is going to be handed over without them being asked for it to a third party-- that-- those kinds of-- those kinds of-- rights to that data we think are important. And we're going to defend our users, our-- those-- those rights.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And-- you-- you-- you mentioned recently that you're going to be allowing people to download their tweets. It seems to be part of this-- sort of point that people have ownership over their information. Is there a way for Twitter to make money on this in-- in a different fashion down the line?
DICK COSTOLO: I don't worry about that. I don't think we'll have to worry about that. We want to provide users with the ability to download the history of all their tweets and-- and do whatever they want with them. I think that when you serve your user-- when you serve your users' interests, that's a tongue twister-- good things happen to you. Your users are more engaged, they stick with you, and that'll help us grow the business.
JULIA BOORSTIN: S-- to ask you a couple of sports question here, how is Twitter changing the way people watch sports?
DICK COSTOLO: Oh my gosh, I mean, you know, for anyone who paid attention to last night's Monday Night Football game, or the Monday Night Football game here-- there were a million tweets about the Packers/Seahawks ending within a few minutes of the game. The-- after the game, the Packers offensive linemen were tweeting about the calls.
And I'm sure they're going to hear from the league about that. But one of the Packers' lineman was retweeted 150,000 times. So the way Twitter is changing sports is simple. Instead of the old way of watching sports where you had a single, filtered view of the action from whichever broadcaster was showing the game, you now have an inside-out view of the action from the p-- including the participants in many cases like last's night game, in which the shared experience of the game is you and everybody else who's watching the game around the world and talking about it on Twitter. It's completely transformed the way I know almost all the people in this office and all the sports fans I know watch sports.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And what about the way that pro athletes are using it, sometimes to the-- to the frustration of their-- of their teams?
DICK COSTOLO: You know, the beauty of the way pro athletes and C.E.O.'s and politicians and actors and actresses and musicians and on and on and on are using Twitter is you finally get this 360° view of the real person, not just this filtered, you know, perspective from some pre-game interview where the guy only has 14 seconds to say, "I'm gonna throw the ball, hit the ball, and do what the coach tells me to do." But you get the full, you know, spectrum of the person's personality, and I think that's helpful.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Looking at overall Twitter traffic, what's driving conversation? How much of it is sports versus celebrity versus politics?
DICK COSTOLO: It's fascinatingly different-- all over the world. And some-- for some people it's-- it's cooking, right? I mean, many of the great chefs in this country-- I d-- would leave a bunch out, but I'll start naming some of them, Grant Achatz and Mario Batali and Tyler Florence and on and on and Michael Mina.
They're all on Twitter talking about cooking and talking about recipes and even answering people's questions about "How do I prepare this kind of meal." Any kind of focused topic you think about, from cooking, to finance, to sports, to music, et cetera, all the people you care about, all the authorities of that topic are on Twitter talking about it with the rest of the world.
JULIA BOORSTIN: We have to-- quickly get to some Twitter questions, 'cause I know we're running out of time. We asked our viewers to-- what they wanted to ask Twitter. Hashtage asked Twitter--
DICK COSTOLO: It's the lightning round.
JULIA BOORSTIN: This is the lightning round. So we polled people--
DICK COSTOLO: Can I pass on any? Can I just say pass?
JULIA BOORSTIN: There-- I-- I think you'll be able to answer all of these. But we thought it was important to engage using--
DICK COSTOLO: All right.
JULIA BOORSTIN: --the platform itself. So Lunatical, I think that's how you pronounce that. @Lunatical said, "What is done with data collected on Twitter?"
DICK COSTOLO: We use data in a lot of different ways to understand-- for example, to debug problems. When you've got that many hundreds of millions of tweets coming in per day, sometimes we get a very specific kind of detailed bug and you'll have to dig back through the data you've collected over the past couple months to try to debug it.
JULIA BOORSTIN: I think the implication was, are you selling that data?
DICK COSTOLO: No, we're not.
JULIA BOORSTIN: @BigBlueTide asks, "What are you doing to combat the insane amount of spam?"
DICK COSTOLO: Spam is an arms race. It always is between the technologies trying to prevent it and the spammers trying to work their way around it. Spammers work where they think there are hundreds of millions people paying attention because that's where they know that they can try to have their message seen. We have an incredible technology team working to eradicate it from the platform. And the data actually show that they're doing a fantastic job.
JULIA BOORSTIN: @Shannon_PG asks, "Any plans to be pro-- beef up Twitter's analytics engine in the near future? If so, what features will it include?
DICK COSTOLO: I think that what we'll do in the very near future is work to try to help-- people understand what kind of interests their followers have so we can paint a picture for users of, "Here's the general kind of interests of your followers and you can better understand then what kinds of things they're interested in hearing from you."
JULIA BOORSTIN: @CJWV_Fanesson asks, "Where do you see Twitter in five years?"
DICK COSTOLO: You're-- as you're s-- asking questions faster, I'm noticing I'm answering them faster. But-- it'll get to the point where I can't breathe.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Yeah.
DICK COSTOLO: All right, where do I see Twitter in five years? I see Twitter as-- a bright-- independent-- successful company that's hopefully continuing to change the world in fascinating ways.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And is Twitter more of a service for people to access news or more of a news platform? I mean, do you see more people using Twitter to read the news or to read--
DICK COSTOLO: Forty percent of our users now don't actively Tweet. They log in and just consume information. I think that number will continue to grow as we become evermore mainstream.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Interesting. At JP_obienugh asks, "Should we look forward to a status feature indicating when a subscriber is online, available, busy, et cetera?"
DICK COSTOLO: I don't think we'll do that any time soon.
JULIA BOORSTIN: I have to ask you a quick-- and I know we're running out of time here, but a quick-- sort of big picture question is, your perspective as a C.E.O. on the economy and-- and the political climate. Are you watching the presidential campaign with an eye to the impact-- I mean, do you think the-- the outcome of the presidential campaign will impact Twitter as a company and businesses in general?
DICK COSTOLO: We don't think the outcome of the political clam-- political campaign will impact Twitter as a company. I don't have any particularly interesting thoughts on-- on-- on other companies or the economy in general. But when I look at the future of Twitter and the things we need to be do-- to do to be successful, they're all within our own control.
JULIA BOORSTIN: And-- what's your sense of the economy right now? Do you have a sense of the health of the American economy?
DICK COSTOLO: I'll tell you-- I'll tell you how I think about that. I think about that, I'm so focused on managing the company here, that I think about it-- I have a very sort of parochial view of it-- which is solely based on where I spend my-- where I spend my time.
And the health of the technology community in the Bay Area is fantastic. And as I said earlier-- the competition for talent has never been better. I realize that's not even remotely related to the health of the overall economy, but that's what I'm focused on right now.
JULIA BOORSTIN: I have to ask you one final question just about-- international advertising. 'Cause I remember the last time we spoke, you said one of your biggest challenges was to grow the amount of non U.S. ads, 'cause you-- you had much-- more developed ad relationships here in the U.S. Is that still the case? What is your biggest challenge from a revenue perspective?
DICK COSTOLO: It is absolutely still the case that we're looking to grow our international-- advertising base. And it's-- that's going quite well. We've got offices in London and Tokyo and we're ramping those up now. And then an answer to your last question, that I would say is our biggest advertising challenge, is making sure that our revenue reflects the percentage of users that exist in, you know, that use Twitter in these various countries. We've got users all over the world. The user base is growing globally quite fast and we do it-- we need to expand our advertising platform globally beyond just the couple countries we're in now.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Great, thanks.
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