Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Investor: Business Plan Coming…By 2011

060409atdsabetGive the Twitter guys credit for honesty: Asked to explain how their big-hype, zero-revenue company will make money, as we did at last week’s All Things Digital conference, and they’ll cheerfully admit that they’re not sure.

If you’re a perspective buyer, whether that’s Microsoft (MSFT) or Google (GOOG), that has to be unsettling.Then again, the Twitter guys insist they’re not selling the company in the next five years. And their investors, who have plowed more than $50 million into the company, seem to be equally sanguine.

Or at least one is. Spark Capital’s Bijan Sabet says the company isn’t in a rush to start generating money — in large part because it’s raised so much money.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview I conducted with Sabet Wednesday night, at a party his Boston-based company threw in conjunction with Internet Week in New York (note to Spark partner/cruise director Mo Koyfman: More women, please):

Originally we were thinking that in the first half of 2009 we were going to start testing things out… and so… we decided not to do that that soon, because we raised a lot of money just a few months ago. And they still had a lot of money that Fred [Wilson, principal at twitter investor Union Square Ventures] and I put in from the last round. So we’re just now, instead of rushing and trying to launch new monetization products and get it out the door, we have a little time to do it right and to think it through and refine it, and hopefully do a good job.”

When I asked Sabet when that might be, he demurred, but my dogged interrogation eventually got him to cough up a very broad timeline. Twitter should be generating revenue, or at least understanding how that will happen, by 2011, he said.

There’s (a little) more there, in this brief Q&A.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik