Twitter founder quits to focus on next big thing

After five years, the entrepreneur is ready to invent the next internet sensation

The co-founder and public face of Twitter, Biz Stone, is to cease his work with the micro-blogging company and team up with his former colleagues in an attempt to invent the next big thing on the internet.

The 37-year-old entrepreneur is restarting the company that spawned Twitter five years ago – a venture called The Obvious Group – to experiment with making "systems that help people work together to improve the world".

Twitter, meanwhile, will have to do without the man who has been its creative director during a period of explosive growth, but before it has worked out how to turn a profit from the business. The company, which has built up more than 200 million users, publishing 2,200 of its 140-character "tweets" every second, will continue to call on Mr Stone as an adviser, it was announced.

Its co-founder's move is only the latest in the management hokey-cokey at Twitter, which has had four chief executives in its short life. Evan Williams, an early backer of Mr Stone's, stepped down from the post last October, saying he would remain involved as an adviser, but he has also now left the company. He will work with Mr Stone on The Obvious Group. Meanwhile, another co-founder and early chief executive, Jack Dorsey, returned to Twitter last year as product chief, although he is also simultaneously running a fast-growing start-up called Square. Twitter's current chief executive, Dick Costolo, is a former product executive at Google.

"My work on Twitter has spanned more than half a decade and I will continue to work with the company for many years to come," Mr Stone announced on his personal blog. "During this time – especially lately – it has come to my attention that the Twitter crew and its leadership team have grown incredibly productive. I've decided that the most effective use of my time is to get out of the way until I'm called upon to be of some specific use."

Mr Stone – who was once named Nerd of the Year by GQ magazine – has become semi-detached from Twitter in recent months. Earlier this year he was hired by The Huffington Post, the news and views website, to develop its "social impact strategy".

Explaining the decision to relaunch The Obvious Group, he said he had never been more excited about the potential of the internet. "The possibility to reach and connect expansive numbers of people fundamentally changes the nature of what's possible when it comes to building businesses on the internet," he said.

There is no shortage of money available from investors who might want to back the company's new projects, particularly given the track records of Mr Stone, Mr Williams and another Twitter co-founder Jason Goldman, who is also joining them.

Investors have bid up the value of Twitter itself to around $8bn (£4.9bn) on private share-trading markets, despite it never having turned a profit. Mr Stone announced the relaunch of The Obvious Group at the Aspen Ideas Conference in the Colorado ski resort this week, but remained tight lipped on what ideas they might have for new businesses.

Meanwhile, Mr Dorsey's second venture, Square, has secured $100m in financing from investors, valuing the company at more than $1bn. Square's plug-in device lets small businessmen and sole traders use their mobile phones to accept credit-card payments from other people. In April, Square said Visa, the credit-card payment firm, had invested an undisclosed sum in the company.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Assistant

£12675 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Assistant is required...

Recruitment Genius: Lead Software Developer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Case Handler / Probate Assistant

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler/Probate ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Telesales Executive - OTE £30,000

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This precious metal refining co...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn