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Twitter’s principles of doing business

April 2, 2014

I really believe in the importance of having a principles approach to business. When I became a partner, I wrote my principles down, and they have largely remained unchanged for two decades: and I aim to live by them. I published them on my blog last year.

I saw a review in the FT this week of a book Things a Little Bird Told me, by Biz Stone, one of the founders of Twitter. (With a name like Biz Stone, he had to be either a snow-boarder or founder, and definitely not an accountant: your name defines your career). The book is not out in the UK yet (i.e. not on Amazon, including not on the kindle store) but the review makes it appeal to me.

I like the six principles which he came up with for Twitter:


1 We don't always know what is going to happen.

2 There are more smart people out there than in here.

3 We will win if we do the right thing for our users.

4 The only deal worth doing is a win-win deal.

5 Our co-workers are smart and they have good intentions,

6 We can build a business, change the world, and have fun.


I don't think a UK tax advisor can change the world, but he can play a useful part in it, and help others; the rest of the principles I think are applicable to most businesses, including my own.

I particularly like number two, which I think is something we forget at our peril.



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