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
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?