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May 23, 2017

Fifteen questions with Twitter

Krista Bessinger is senior director of investor relations at the social media company

1. How long have you been in IR?
I started in IR almost 15 years ago.

2. What did you do before IR?
I worked as a sell-side research analyst, covering the internet and software sectors, and as a buy-side research analyst at a crossover fund where I covered software and sponsored late-stage private equity investments in tech.

3. What are your qualifications?
I have a BA from Smith College where I majored in cultural anthropology but I gained most of what I know about IR by learning the ropes as an analyst.

4. How is your team set up?
The two directors are more outward-facing, meeting with investors/analysts and taking the lead on strategic projects like partnering with our legal team on governance initiatives. The team manager is more focused on financial/competitive analysis, our website and our social media presence.

5. How many roadshows and investor conferences do you take part in each year?
We try to do four major conferences a year with two or more non-deal roadshows and countless bus tours.

6. Do you hold investor days?
We do, but we tend to reserve them for big events, like a major new strategic direction or other important topics that require more communication than we can typically fit into an earnings call.

7. Does Twitter use social media as part of its IR program?
We absolutely do! We’ve tried to establish innovative disclosure as a core strength of our IR program. For example, we live-tweet our earnings results with commentary from management, stream our earnings webcast over Twitter and take questions during our earnings call from Twitter in addition to questions from conference call participants.

One of the directors on my team, Cherryl Valenzuela, has taken the lead on developing new approaches for us and, as a result, has been invited by NIRI on several occasions to present best practices for the use of Twitter and other digital media as a means of public disclosure.

8. Do you receive support from any external IR firms?
We use Ipreo for customer relationship management, Nasdaq for website hosting, the NYSE for stock listing and Virtua maintains our consensus model.

9. What is the most popular question from analysts and investors right now?
First, people want to understand what’s driving the accelerating growth we’ve seen across both audience and engagement for three consecutive quarters and how long that growth will continue. Second, they are interested in revenue growth and how soon the increases in audience and engagement will translate into revenue growth. Third, they’re interested in the progress we’re making toward Gaap profitability.

10. What skills are required to succeed in IR at a tech company?
Relentless prioritization, remaining calm under pressure, and being flexible are key.

11. What’s been the biggest challenge of your IR career?
Oracle’s hostile acquisition of PeopleSoft and the recession of 2008 are a couple of the more memorable ones.

12. What’s your favorite part of IR?
I love building things from the ground up and helping people understand our story.

13. And your least favorite?
Administrative red tape and bureaucratic processes are not my favorite, but they do come with the territory.

14. What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I try to get outside as much as is humanly possible: hiking, rowing, camping or just playing outside with my seven-year-old son.

15. If you could pass on one IR lesson, what would it be?
Embrace opportunities that take you outside the typical bounds of IR. The more you understand about your business, the more valuable you will be as an IRO.

This article appeared in the summer 2017 issue of IR Magazine

Candice de Monts-Petit

Candice de Monts-Petit

Candice de Monts-Petit joined IR Magazine as a senior editor in 2012. Prior to this, she worked in investor relations, first as an IRO for oil and gas firms in Paris and Moscow and subsequently as an IR consultant in London. She graduated in business...