Oct 28, 2014 · 2 minutes

Yesterday, Twitter posted its third quarter earnings report, and the results, despite meeting or exceeding analyst expectations on all counts, still led to a ten percent stock dip for the social network.

So what does CEO Dick Costolo know that Wall Street doesn't?

Quarter in and quarter out, the prime driver of Wall Street's agony or ecstasy toward Twitter has been user growth. When user growth is good, Wall Street rejoices. When it's not, or when it's merely so-so like it was last quarter when Twitter only picked up 13 million new users, the stock is likely to dip.

With this as the backdrop, Costolo came on Bloomberg TV today to talk to Emily Chang about why he's confident that the future of Twitter will be bright, regardless of what Wall Street thinks.

"When we think about our aspirational goal to build the largest daily audience in the world," Costolo says, "it’s all about certainly at its core that audience is composed of our monthly active users that – that we reported last night. But beyond that, there’s also the hundreds of millions of people who come to Twitter and don’t log in. And beyond that, there’s the world of a syndicated audience. That audience we reach across the entirety of the web."

Costolo is quick to emphasize that growing its monthly active user base -- the people creating all those tweets -- is the company's number one priority. As for these "none-logged-in" users, they're nice to have but how does Twitter measure them? And then how does Twitter monetize them?

Costolo is pretty vague about the number of "non-logged-in" users Twitter sees, saying they make up "1 to 2x the size" of its monthly active users. Of course that's a potential swing of almost 300 million users, so it doesn't tell us much. As far as monetizing these users, Costolo says that, like any user, they come to Twitter with a "very specific interest and intent we believe we can monetize." Again, vague, but Costolo, a former improv comedian, picks his words carefully.

As for monetization, Chang is quick to point out that Twitter's revenue per user is only half of Facebook's.

"Why not show more ads sooner?" she asks.

To that, Costolo has a response that should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the company closely:

"We’ve always been methodical and careful about the way we’ve grown the business."

Slow and steady wins the race, in Costolo's mind. And while Twitter is still much smaller than Facebook, it's not as if following Facebook's lead by chasing after every new trend, whether it's anonymity or ephemeral messaging, would have done it much good (Does anybody even remember Facebook's Slingshot?) Finally, the very un-Silicon Valley strategy of "moving-slow-and-keeping-things-intact" is, if nothing else, a great way to not upset power users, and Twitter has continually been sensitive to the needs of these earliest adopters. As long as Twitter keeps growing, even at a slow pace, Costolo believes it will eventually please Wall Street as much as it pleases users. Only if that growth stalls will Twitter's tortoise lose the race -- and unfortunately, life doesn't always work out like it does in the fables.

Watch the full video below:


[illustration by Brad Jonas]