Anthony Noto's influence is rising inside Twitter.
There isn't much that's super clear at Twitter these days, including its future as a standalone company, but Noto's expanded role and increased importance is hard to overlook.
In fact, Twitter has spent the past six months showing us how valuable Noto is. Here's what we know.
When Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey came back to the company he founded late last year, we wrote that Dorsey would need to be the one to save Twitter from its downward spiral. It's been more than a year, and Dorsey is still just Twitter's part-time CEO — he's simultaneously running payments company Square and has been ever since taking the Twitter job back last fall. He may well be the person needed to save Twitter, but only if you believe Twitter's biggest challenge is a product one. (Many people still do, and Dorsey has a reputation as a product savant.)
But if you share the belief that Twitter's user growth is done for good, and the company will only ever add a few million new users here and few million more there, then Noto's role takes on even more importance.
He's an operator, and those who have worked with him say he's a get-shit-done kind of leader who doesn't drag his feet or waver on decisions. Noto is straight to the point. He tends to plow projects through, a style likely carried over from his days at the U.S. Military Academy, where he also played football.
The downside of this ready-set-go approach, of course, is that you'd better be pushing the right ideas. The livestreaming efforts have garnered attention, but it's hard to imagine these streams will dramatically alter Twitter's user growth. Just 15 percent of people watching the NFL on Twitter are logged out users — which means the majority of the audience already uses the service. Noto's running the most important product push at the company, but is this the right push?
There are other questions for Noto, too, like how effective will he be at running a sales organization? Twitter has a sales VP, Matt Derella, who will handle the day-to-day of the org, but Bain was always hands on with Twitter's ad partners. Will Noto be the same? We don't know.
But we do know that he has his hands all over Twitter's future.
—By KURT WAGNER, Recode.net.
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