Monday, November 23, 2009


A bit of a rant, but here goes:

My job is to make Twitter a better place to work; it's a fabulous place. Some people don't see the connection between my work at Twitter and my non-profit, but I'm essentially trying to do the same thing in both positions: build trust.

What I've learned so far is that things go wrong when we give up faith in human reason. Why are we so ready to abandon trust in each other as a requirement in our daily interactions? The hardest thing I deal with when I go to India is the resistance towards non-profits. People I work with in the mining sector don't seem to believe that I am trying to improve the world without getting paid for it. India's economy is fiercely competitive. The idea that you shouldn't get the most out of every situation is unfamiliar to many people I meet. People I have encountered in public health have a hard time trusting anyone. This makes working together for the common good difficult and frustrating.

Very rarely, I see the same thing happen at Twitter. Things go really well until we stop trusting each other. Once you lose trust, it becomes almost impossible to get back. Competition can be good, but when it hinders teamwork, it can be the end of an organization. Working together requires dedication to mutual respect. Fortunately, we still have that, and with some luck and hard work, we can keep it.

Some companies focus on bringing an organization together by rallying against their competitors. This might bring people together as a team, but it is based on a ethos we are trying to distance ourselves from. At Twitter, we often get excited about coming together to make something amazing. I believe that's what we are doing now and hope that, as we get larger, it will continue to be the focus. Culturally, this is our most valuable asset.

This December, I hope OK International, Work-to-Live, Doctors, The Public Health Foundation in India, and several others can sit down and work towards the common good. I don't want to talk about compensation for victims or politics. I want to address the small changes that can be made in working environments to mitigate disease. I want the construction companies who are in attendance to trust that we want what's best for everyone involved. Sometimes, human nature surprises me and motivation goes beyond selfishness. I sincerely hope this will be one of those times.