Team GeekWire loves nothing more than a good news tip. So, when a reader passed on a hot lead last week that was getting ready to file its IPO papers, we sprung into action.

We called and emailed sources, and utilized back channel efforts to find out what was going on. Unfortunately, we couldn’t nail down the tip. We finally gave up last Friday — a decision driven in part because of Spencer Rascoff’s active Tweet stream.

During the period we were snooping around, the 35-year-old Zillow CEO was actively Tweeting away about things completely unrelated to what was going on behind-the-scenes.

After all, you wouldn’t think that a CEO on the brink of taking the IPO plunge would have time to post things like this: “My 6 yr old would NOT have liked that indian burger. Nor would I.”

Spencer Rascoff

That was our logic at least, and it proved wrong. What we forgot is that Rascoff isn’t like other CEOs. He’s a social media madman, and a multitasking whiz.

The 35-year-old is constantly engaging with customers on Twitter, responding to questions in the Zillow forums and promoting new jobs at the online real estate company. (He even asked GeekWire to correct a minor grammatical error in a recent story).

But will federal regulators (or Zillow’s PR pros) put the muzzle on Rascoff’s public Tweets, no matter how innocuous they seem? There are strict rules about what executives of public companies can and can’t say. Even comments that could be perceived as harmless, may spark speculation.

For example, after Zillow actually filed to raise $51 million through an IPO on Monday, Rascoff Tweeted a few days later about buying a suit through the online men’s clothing retailer Indochino.

Our first reaction? He must be getting ready for the IPO road show.

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  • Spencer Rascoff

    Funny post. Thanks geekwire!

  • Kevin Nakao

    I think this actually provides greater transparency and insights about a company and its key leader. An efficient capital market exists when new and relevant information is incorporated into share prices very quickly. An open real-time communication platform like Twitter can increase the speed/spread of information. A closed network like Facebook could be problematic. Let’s not put the gag on CEO’s and instead get the analysts and fund managers to jump on the Tweet wagon.

  • Kevin Lisota

    I sat behind Spencer at a real estate conference and watched this multi-tasking in person. He was flipping between email, answering customer inquiries on Twitter and the Zillow forums, yet chiming in during the presentation as well. He was then doing tech support for users of their iPhone app.

    Either he is a highly-effective, customer-focused CEO, or maybe just has a short attention span. Perhaps a GeekWire exclusive interview with his wife to get the real dirt?

  • Anonymous

    Wow, OK this makes a lot of sense dude.

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