Twitter finally adds a woman to its board of directors

Steven Loeb · December 5, 2013 · Short URL:

Company hopes that the appointment of ex-Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino will shed its boys club image

There has been a long running controversy over the perception, and probable reality, of institutionalized sexism at Twitter, due to a lack of women in high ranking positions. And now the company has finally, FINALLY, decided to actually do something about it.

In an effort to shed the image that it is running a boys club, Twitter has appointed former Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino to its board of directors, it was revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Scardino will be on the board effective immediately, and will serve until at least until the company holds its annual meeting of stockholders in late 2014. In addition to joining the board, Scardino was also appointed as a member of the audit committee of the Board, replacing David Rosenblatt.

As a board member, Scardino was granted a restricted stock unit award of 4,018 shares, which will vest quarterly over the course of a year. 

Scardino served as CEO of Pearson from 1997 to 2012. Prior to that she spent 12 years at The Economist Group, serving as Chief Executive Officer. Scardino also served on the board of directors of Nokia Corporation from 2001 to April 2013.

The news was also revealed in a tweet on Thursday, to which Scardino expressed her excitement at the opportunity.


The issue of the lack of women on the board of directors at many of Silicon Valley's top companies, including Twitter, has been talked about for years now, but the issue reared its ugly head earlier this year after a snarky tweet from Dick Costolo, which seemed to try to downplay the issue of the lack of female representation.

It started when technology entrepreneur and academic Vivek Wadhwa called out Twitter and other Silicon Valley companies for their exclusion of women:

“This is the elite arrogance of the Silicon Valley mafia, the Twitter mafia. It’s the same male chauvinistic thinking. The fact that they went to the I.P.O. without a single woman on the board, how dare they?" he wrote.

Dick Costolo replied to Wadhwa's comments with this: “Vivek Wadhwa is the Carrot Top of academic sources.”

The fact that Costolo seemed to be brushing off what was, no doubt, a valid criticism caused an uproar, combined with a flyer that was found soon after in the women's bathroom showing a busty St. Pauli Girl cartoon, caused a major uproar.

The company was being accused of running what amounted to a boys club, and it was making it hard to see it any other way.

Perhaps sensing that this was a battle that it simply could not win by digging in its heels, the company promised to add a woman to its board of directors after it went public. And that is exactly what it has done.

Now, will this end the problem of sexism and the lack of women in high-ranking positions in Silicon Valley? Obviously it will not. It probably won't even end the culture at Twitter that would allow the putting up of such a flyer to seem like a good idea.

But it is a step in the right direction, and will hopefully lead to even more women being appointed in the coming years.

Some of the biggest companies in the Valley, including Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, Zynga, LinkedIn and eBay have all added female board members in recent years.

So, welcome to the club, Twitter. I guess late is better than never. 

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.



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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit

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