In Twitter's early days in 2007, the social-media site was criticized as not ultimately being useful, Stone said. His co-founder, Evan Williams, would reply, “Neither is ice cream,” he said.
In the five years since Twitter was born, the site has proved itself to be an instant mass-communication tool that can spark near-instant action, be it flocking to a particular business or gathering for a social protest. “I think it really is getting to the point where the more connected we are, the smaller the world becomes,” he said. And while adding that “more information is not necessarily more knowledge—you need to have understanding in there,” Stone noted that the volumes of data being churned out about individuals' actions and behaviors can promote community awareness, not just individual awareness.
Stone stayed away from offering specific predictions for how Twitter and social media could transform healthcare and instead urged his audience to step back, consider the ultimate goals for their endeavors and be willing to take a chance and start over if a current approach isn't working.
“Creativity is a renewable resource,” Stone said. “You can always take a new approach to anything.” Furthermore, finding much-needed new perspective can be as simple as heading to a bookstore to ‘look at some cool stuff” or talking to people outside the industry.
“There are more smart people outside your company than in it,” Stone said, in listing a series of “useful assumptions” for businesses. Among the others: “We will win if we always do the right thing for our users,” and “We can change the world, build a business and have fun.” The last one is paramount, Stone said. “We say you have to have all three,” he said.