Mike Isaac

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At Twitter HQ on IPO Day, Business Almost as Usual


Eli Langer/CNBC

Twitter’s biggest public day yet has come. But you wouldn’t know it by the looks of things at and around Twitter HQ.

The company, which was started almost on accident by a group of four friends and a band of ragtag hackers, will begin trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Unlike Facebook’s buzzy coming out, however, Twitter won’t be ringing the bell from a company-wide shindig at its San Francisco base. Or, like Facebook’s cute little hacker elves, posting a custom status update to the CEO’s profile page.

Instead, the company is aiming for a relatively low-key morning, a theme which has served to downplay at least some of the hype surrounding the microblogging service’s big day. The running narrative to the day has been “less Facebook, more LinkedIn.”

As I understand it, they won’t be throwing a massive rager at HQ. It’s Thursday, the day Twitter usually schedules “Tea Time,” the company all-hands event where employees congregate to talk Twitter turkey.

Employees have described two types of Tea Times to me: There’s the “Business version,” usually led by a number of Twitter executives who field questions from employees across the entire company. (Many of those execs are in Manhattan right now, preparing to hit the NYSE floor.) And then there’s the social Tea Time, basically a laid-back check-in with tweeps over beers. Thursday will bring the latter, more social version.

To be sure, folks have their fair share of extracurricular parties planned. Quite a few ex-Twitter employees have planned boozy get-togethers for Thursday afternoon and evening — a token way of celebrating the next phase of the popular company (and, of course, the next phase of their employee stock options).


Photo: @Twitter

But for many former and current Twitter employees, the feeling is that they “don’t want to come off lame or douchey,” as a few people have put it to me. To look like another example of Silicon Valley opulence cashing out and blowing their newfound spoils obnoxiously, and in a very public way.

I imagine we’ll see at least a few little flourishes from the company on Thursday. Though hopefully for Twitter, nothing like the glitches that plagued Facebook’s first 30 minutes of being public.

Other than that, I’d expect very little more from proper Twitter folk. Little, that is, save for #gettingbacktowork.

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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