I refereed a discussion this morning at the 140 Characters Conference in the Back Bay, featuring two local investors: Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital and John Landry of Lead Dog Ventures. Our focus was on the opportunities and dangers of building and funding companies that operate in the Twitter ecosystem.
We talked about how Sabet came to invest in Twitter; the seven acquisitions Twitter has done (mainly for Twitter stock); Landry's concern that Twitter may duplicate many of the most successful Twitter-related apps and services itself; Landry's investment in Oneforty, a directory/marketplace of Twitter apps headquartered in Cambridge; Twitter's revenue model; and Twitter's future.
"We've had multiple opportunities to sell Twitter, and nobody is interested in doing that," Sabet said.
Landry offered this advice for entrepreneurs: "The first thing I'd recommend for entrepreneurs is, think much more broadly about the real-time Web than just doing a Twitter app. [It] costs more money... and it's not something you're going to hack in your garage overnight."
"Locking yourself down to Twitter is not going to be a big company," Landry said, talking specifically about Oneforty.
Here's the audio (the session was about twenty minutes long):
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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More from Scott
December 9: Web Innovators Group
Demos of new mobile apps and web ventures at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Free admission; cash bar.
December 10: Fintech Demo Day
Short demos from startups in the financial technology realm.
December 11: Unpitch
Entrepreneurs and investors sit down for lunch, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs must apply to participate.