AIB Featured Business Leader Dick Costolo

AIB Featured Business Leader  Dick Costolo


As the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and former Chief Operations Officer (COO) of social media giant Twitter, it’s hard not to admire the career of Dick Costolo. Born in 1963 in Michigan, USA, Costolo went on to graduate with a Bachelor in Computer and Communication Sciences from the University of Michigan. Funnily enough, business was not always his passion; he pursued theatre during his degree, and went on to reject job offers in the tech world shortly after graduating from university. After some years of working in theatre, Costolo decided it was time to move on to utilise his degree in an every day role. He began working at Andersen Consulting as a senior manager in product and technology groups, and stayed in this role for eight years.

After his time at Andersen, he had his first taste of entrepreneurship when co-founding Burning Door Networked Media – a web design and development consulting company. This went on to be acquired by Digital Knowledge Assets in October 1996, however it only gave Costolo more of a passion to pursue being an entrepreneur. From there, he co-founded SpyOnlt, a web page monitoring service, which also went on to sell at a later date in the year 2000 to 724 Solutions. After now experiencing two successful entrepreneurship ventures, Costolo collaborated with three other like-minded entrepreneurs in 2004 to found web feed management provider FeedBurner. After three very successful years – FeedBurner was purchased by Google in 2007, and Costolo got his big break into high profile tech organisations by becoming an employee of the search giant.

After several years at Google working on a range of projects, he left in 2009, and it was announced that he was joining Twitter as COO. The biggest step in his career yet, it only took Costolo one year to be promoted to acting-CEO whilst the then-CEO was on paternity leave. Whilst his role as CEO was only meant to be temporary, Costolo’s exceptional performance resulted in the position becoming permanent. This just goes to show the importance of always performing at your best; even though Costolo had a temporary contract as CEO, he treated it seriously and reaped the results.

To this day, Dick Costolo remains to be the CEO of Twitter. Since his appointment however, he has been appointed to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee by President Obama. He has also been referred to as ‘one of Silicon Valley’s most impressive CEO’s’ by Business Insider, and one of the 10 Most Influential U.S. Tech CEOs by TIME Magazine. After researching Costolo’s leadership style extensively, one quote that stood out was “As a leader, you need to care deeply, deeply about your people while not worrying or really even caring about what they think about you. Managing by trying to be liked is the path to ruin”. 

It is clear that Dick Costolo has used both his passion for technology and his compassion towards people to get to the top in his career. I am wondering though, what do you think about the steps he has taken to achieve his current status? Do you think its possible to pursue your passions and get to the top, or do you think luck is a factor? Share your views below.

This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to complete this article: Wikipedia and Brainy Quote 

Image credit: Fast Company 

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