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Let's Be Frank with Tarkoff and Bilton - Recap

Lithium Alumni (Retired)


I think this Let’s Be Frank session with Lithium CEO Rob Tarkoff and reporter Nick Bilton was probably our best yet, insofar as it was the most candid (frank) and interactive. When you have a reporter as the guest, he isn’t going to be content to passively answer questions – he’s got some questions of his own. This particular reporter isn’t content to be just an author and columnist either, he’s also a, surfer, toy designer, hacker and former professor too. Sounds just like me – a total slacker.


Nick’s early interest in robotics and technology has helped to inform his reporting – the desire to explore things, learn more and then explain how those things work. It’s that curiosity that led him to try and understand how a company like Twitter came to be and write the book Hatching Twitter.


What he discovered is that the Twitter we know today exists but for the combination of an incredibly simple concept; fortunate timing and A LOT OF LUCK. Its founding is as much a story of human nature as it is of technology. And, by the way, if you build a company that changes the world, it ends up changing you.


According to Nick, Twitter has helped gaming dynamics further infiltrate technology. The leaderboard of rank and reputation as determined by others has become the true measure of social influence – how many followers, friends and connections do you have? Who’s consuming your content feed, posts and tweets? This quantified popularity ranking is how the Internet works today. Makes me glad for our added Klout.


The question of what Twitter is, never got answered. I think that question is still being answered today. So, I’ll look forward your thoughts on that subject – in 140 character or less.


If you want hear more from the recorded session, you can do that here.


Our next LBF will be in May from LiNC ’14. Hope you can join us.