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COO Rwoghani out at Twitter, but that’s just a symptom of greater ills

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo apparently decided that the tug-of-war that had been apparently going on between him and COO Ali Rwoghani was a waste of energy. Rowghani is out, and Jay Yarow has the deets:

Jay Yarow, Why Twitter’s COO Is Out - Business Insider

According to a person familiar with the situation, Rowghani leaving the company is “really about product, and the speed of the product.”

All product decisions had been flowing into Rowghani. CEO Dick Costolo wanted those decisions to come to him directly. Cutting a management layer between the product leader and the CEO will help Twitter make faster, more efficient changes to its products.

This description — if accurate — reflects a serious cultural problem at Twitter. Should the CEO — or the COO — be making product decisions? Yes, Costolo recently hired Daniel Graf from Google — only the most recent product guy to be tapped to goose the sluggish development culture there — but the legacy of past product regimes led by Ev Williams, Jack Dorsey, and Mike Sippey seem to hang around, and no one person may be able to fix that.

In a healthy company of Twitter’s size, people much closer to the platform are experimenting with product features and capabilities. 

For example, shouldn’t some product manager — someone working with a small team of developers — build a version of the curated topics that Tumblr has? Why would that have to be decided by a C-level executive? Do the experiment, look at the results — what works or doesn’t — rinse and repeat, right?

Twitter feels like a company that has become lumbering, slow, and timid, where bias toward action has been suffocated, innovation prohibited, and the product is the sad result of design-by-committee.

They have been fumbling the future, and if it keeps on, it might be Costolo that will be leaving next.

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