A Semi-Apology

I think we are dealing with two different issues here, and I got carried away with just one of them, and didn’t give credit due to the other. First, after reading all of Dan’s write-up on Lawson and the job he’s done at Twilio, it is clear that the guy IS a heck of a good CEO. He has a vision and has built the company up into a real category crusher.

On the other hand, it is clear that he could be untruthful in the way he presented data to analysts and stockholders. He sure did that too. (And it was so glaring that you have to ask yourself how he could have done it? Did he not realize how the CFO was setting up the data, or was Lawson just so excited about the acquisition that he didn’t think about what he was saying?)

There was such an uproar about how he presented that data that both Lawson and the CFO have been absolutely crystal clear in subsequent reports about what Twilio’s “real” growth was and how it differed from “apparent” growth. Lesson learned!

So the issue is that someone can be a great CEO as far as building the company, and not necessarily be always truthful with his more euphoric statements. Building a company and talking about the results are different jobs, and hardly even related as functions. And I should have been more accepting and recognizant of the great job he was doing in building up the company, even if I was appalled by his transient dishonest presentation of the data. That was my bad! I think it came from a feeling of “How can I trust any thing he says after that?” But I don’t have to. I can just follow the actual numbers and admire the job he’s doing unbuilding the company.