Mike Isaac

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Twitter Doles Out Stock Grants to Keep Top Talent

TwitterIPOTwitter’s eventual day in the IPO sun is closer than ever. And the company is doing all it can to keep the forecast as pleasant as possible — including keeping its top employees happy.

Twitter has handed out stock grants to a number of key employees over the past two weeks, according to sources familiar with the matter, in an effort to hold on to some of the company’s most valued players long after Twitter’s public market debut.

These grants, according to sources, were given not just to executives, but other important individual contributors (i.e. non-managers) as well.

The philosophy here is simple: Toss some shares  – which will vest over a period of four years — to the highly poachable talent inside the organization, to try to prevent brain-drain. Like, for instance, the small exodus of Facebook executives in the months after the company’s IPO.

It’s worth noting that while Twitter was handing out the grants, the company also just went through a round of its internal feedback process, according to sources. That means that, en masse, employees received peer reviews on their work at the company, and over that process many received bumps in compensation or additional stock as a result.

But, while predetermined rounds of comp hikes are one thing, key employee-retention grants with longer vesting periods are quite another. And make no mistake — the timing of these grants isn’t coincidental.

Not a bad way to keep a few good birds from flying the coop.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.


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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