Dick Costolo
Dick Costolo
Founder and CEO, FeedBurner
CEO, Twitter, Inc.

Dick Costolo is the CEO of Twitter, Inc.  He was previously the founder and CEO of FeedBurner, which was sold to Google in May, 2007. Following the sale of FeedBurner, Dick worked as Group Product Manager in the Ads group at Google until July 2009.  Prior to FeedBurner, Dick was a member of the founding team at several other Chicago area startups, including Spyonit, sold to 724 Solutions (Nasdaq:SVNX) in September 2000, DKA, and Burning Door Networked Media.

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QCongratulations, Dick, you are the only comedian to make the list of champion tech company founders in the book. Seriously.

A My degree's in computer science, but I didn't take any of my job offers. I came to Chicago and went over to The Second City. I took improv classes and performed with Steve Carrell and others.

QThat sounds like fun, but that's not the career track that led to Google.

ASecond City has one main stage and four touring companies. I ended up passing on auditions. I couldn't survive on a $120 stipend or whatever they paid touring around during the week so I took a job at Accenture while still performing at the Annoyance Theatre and in some other one-man shows I wrote.

QBut you had some epiphany around technology or owning your own company?

A We started using the Web in 1993 to build a training program for an application at Andersen. Andersen was a big Lotus Notes shop; Lotus Notes was the accepted future for networks there. When we showed them this application training we had developed for the Web, there was a general reaction of: "You guys are idiots; Notes is a solid infrastructure. You can't build anything on this; it's not a platform."

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