Updated: An interesting thing happened on Wednesday, after All Things Digital reported Twitter had closed a giant round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, which values the micro-blogging network at close to $4 billion. The story contained the full text of a blog post from Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo — but the version All Things Digital originally posted is significantly different from the one that is currently on the Twitter blog. The first version contained a number of witticisms from Costolo, including the title “Stocking Stuffer,” but the new version is carefully scrubbed of anything even approaching humor, and is entitled “Meaningful Growth.” (Update: the All Things Digital post has since been changed as well, with the updated version of Costolo’s post embedded instead of the original).
The original version started with the phrase “growth is fun,” but that has been removed completely from the version published on the Twitter blog (which still has the phrase “stocking stuffer” in the URL). The work histories of the company’s two new board of director appointments — Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard, used to be at TellMe Networks and before that was at Netscape and Microsoft, while Doug Rosenblatt worked at Google and DoubleClick — were also removed. So was a bit in which Costolo said KPCB “brings to Twitter a track record of helping build great companies, ranging from Amazon to Zynga (get it? A to Z? See how we did that?)”
Why the edits? Maybe someone at Twitter felt a blog post about getting $200 million in funding at a $3.7-billion valuation (although those numbers are still only a rumor) from a venerable Silicon Valley name like Kleiner Perkins wasn’t the place for witticisms. The final version is definitely sincere, but pretty boring. One of the nice things about Twitter is that its senior executives seem like a fairly fun group, especially Costolo, a former stand-up comedian (Costolo later joked, ”We are using the new self-editing [G]oogle docs [and] the algorithm decided it had a better draft”).
Maybe being valued at almost $4 billion means you can’t have fun at the same time, although apparently no one has told Groupon founder and CEO Andrew Mason. His company is reportedly valued at $6 billion — if Google’s much-rumored acquisition offer is to be believed — and his love of smart remarks is legendary. At one point, when the New York Times asked him for a comment, he said he would talk “only if you want to talk about my other passion, building miniature dollhouses.” And Groupon’s office contains a special room that looks like a university student’s dorm room (complete with cigarette burns on the bedspread) which supposedly belongs to a former tenant named “Michael.”
See, Twitter? You can still have some fun even if your company is worth billions of dollars now. Don’t go getting all serious on us!
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