The guessing game is on regarding why Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is leaving the company to work on another start-up called The Obvious Corporation, from which the popular microblogging service was born.
Stone posted on his blog Tuesday that he is rededicating himself to Obvious, which he launched with Jason Goldman and fellow Twitter co-founder Evan Williams.
(Also see: Is Twitter really worth more than $4 billion?)
Now, Obvious has a less-than-obvious goal, if you ask me. Here's how Stone describes it:
Our plan is to develop new projects and work on solving big problems aligned along a simple mission statement: The Obvious Corporation develops systems that help people work together to improve the world.
So let's call that what it is: They have no specific ideas or products for Obvious, just a mission statement. Nothing wrong with that, especially if you can get funding.
But taking at face value Stone's explanation deprives us of the fun of speculating, and I'm not having it. So let's run down some possible real reasons Stone left:
1. He no longer had a real role at Twitter.
Stone hints at that himself, writing, "[L]ately, 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."
2. He's an entrepreneur (in the good way).
True entrepreneurs are visionaries and creators. They thrive best in an unstructured, uncertain environment. Twitter is a growing company, which means it's adopted an infrastructure, corporate policies, etc. When that sort of thing begins to happen, entrepreneurs take it as a cue to move on.
3. He's an entrepreneur (in the bad way).
Stone likes the conceptual aspects of turning an idea into a business, but is impatient with the hard job of growing a company, leaving the dirty work to his creative lessers, who have to wake up every day trying to figure out how to generate more revenue and make the company profitable.
4. He sees trouble ahead.
This is somewhat related to No. 3. Francine Hardaway at Fast Company does a good job exploring this theory here:
With its growth plateauing (190 million last year v. 175 million this year) and its engagement declining, Twitter has yet to find a business model.
5. He got forced out.
Stone writes: "Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has been very supportive in thinking this through with me so I can focus on new endeavors while remaining a strategic asset to Twitter."
Maybe Costolo was helping Stone "think through" the fact that Costolo wanted him out of there. Like Hardaway, I too have no inside information. But power plays happen every day in the corporate world, usually followed by watered-down or misleading explanations about "exploring other opportunities" or a "realignment of human assets."
6. Can no longer hide contempt for the word "tweet."
7. Tired of Costolo -- of all people! -- making fun of his hair.
Feel free to leave your speculation in the comments section below.