Seaholm Grad and Twitter CEO Talks to the Highlander

According to an article on the Michigan Daily website, Twitter CEO and Seaholm Class of 1981 student Dick Costolo was recently announced as the 2013 commencements speaker for the University of Michigan.

After graduating from Seaholm Costolo went on to the University of Michigan where he graduated from in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

This will be the second time this year that Costolo has spoken at U of M.

He spoke back in November 2012 to a group of about 1000 students at an event sponsored by the School of Information and the Ford School of Public Policy.

According to former classmate of Costolo, Dawna Phillips Kuhne the 1981 class was not liked by administrators.

“We were the Class of ’81- the senior class that lost field day,” Kuhne said. “The administrators hated the class of ’81 because there were so many “instigators” smart boys who were always causing ruckus.”

The Highlander had the opportunity to go one on one with Costolo.

 The Highlander- What are your best Seaholm memories?

Costolo– I can divide my best Seaholm memories into academic and non-academic. My favorite academic memory is of Art Delvaro’s Modern European History class. I consider that class the single best educational experience I had in any formal or informal setting. I think many people who went through that class would tell you the same thing. My non-academic memories are of Field Day and all the work and preparation that went into Field Day each year, and then of course of Friday night football games in the fall.

The Highlander- With yesterday (March 20) being the 7th birthday of Twitter, how much has changed since Twitter first launched?

 Costolo- Everything and nothing! It’s still 140 characters and always will be. It’s the simplicity of very brief public and real-time messaging that has changed the world in profound ways. And yet, if you look at the Tweets from 2006 and the tweets from today, the way people use the platform has evolved and changed completely. Keep in mind that our users invented the @ reply and the # hashtag to signify a meme or event long after the service was already launched and in fairly wide use. When people who’ve been on the service since 2006 and 2007 go back and look at their tweets from those early days, they’re often surprised at how their own use of the service has evolved.

The Highlander- Where do you see social networking going in the next few years?

 Costolo- I certainly see people beginning to personally use more and more different services instead of doing everything in one app. Whether it’s snapchat or Vine or Whatsapp or MessageMe, all sorts of very specific services are emerging, and I think you’ll see people start to use multiple services for their different specific purposes. It will no longer be simply a Facebook or twitter world, people will happily bounce between many different services. There’s always concern from people in the industry that the space will get too noisy, and yet time and again, we see people have the ability to float between these different services with ease.

The Highlander- What advice would you have for students today who want to go into the business world?

 Costolo- Persistence is everything. Whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to start a company and investors are telling you that your idea won’t work, or you’re a sales person trying to close a deal, half of success in business is just continuing to grind and work hard when a potential customer or investor or partner says no. I can’t tell you how many highly successful tech companies in silicon valley have founders that were told “this will never work” by the first 5 or 10 investors to whom they pitched their idea.

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