Biz Stone, co-founder of micro-blogging tool Twitter, created quite a stir at Oxford Said's annual entrepreneurship event.
The 35-year-old (he looks younger) offered a gathering of would-be entrepreneurs the benefit of his experiences as an early blog-site entrepreneur, former Google employee and founder of Twitter.
- Be on the lookout for happy mistakes. When Stone and co-founder Evan Williams (right in the pic) began working together, it wasn't on Twitter, but a completely different product. Twitter was a "little thing", a sideline that became the big idea.
- Opportunities can be manipulated. Don't wait for them to be handed to you -- create your own. When Stone was at school, he wanted to get into sports, but he'd not been on teams growing up and felt a little daunted about joining a sport where everyone else knew the rules. So he found a 'gap' to fill, a sport not offered at the school, founding a lacrosse team and going on to become its captain.
- Creativity is a renewable resource. In an early design job, Stone learned that there's not one solution, but an almost endless supply of different options to be created. He encourages entrepreneurs to re-frame problems as different puzzles to solve, different options.
- Entrepreneurship means becoming mortal. That means being willing to fail or sacrifice one thing for another, he said, with a nice link to Wim Wenders' film, Wings of Desire.
- Humour and playfulness are essential. Humour's a "delivery mechanism for truth" and something Twitter's founders actively look for when hiring.
- You have a responsibility when you're starting a company. Consider what it means to be a global citizen and your role in the world. Twitter is described by its co-founder as an "open exchange of information that has a positive global impact"
- If your heart's not in it, you won't get very far. Stone and Williams's original business was Odio, which focused on podcasts. But "we weren't interested in podcasts -- we weren't emotionally attached to the project", so they asked their small team to 'go create' , and two weeks later, they had a Twitter prototype.