In this book, the New York Times technology journalist Nick Bilton tells a fascinating story of creativity, controversy, intrigue, managerial mistakes, and power struggles by the four founders of Twitter – Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass.
Describing how Twitter “hatched”, Bilton focuses on personalities and conflicts, rather than technical details, which may disappoint computer geeks, but will no doubt be of interest to most readers.
The book debunks all the media greatness hype around Jack. Nick Bilton argues that Dorsey’s role in the foundation and growth of the company is – to put it mildly – overrated.
This exciting startup biography is recommended to entrepreneurs, investors, Twitter fans, and anyone with a passion for corporate warfare.
Twitter Friendship History
The author attempts to reveal the nearly seven-year-old history of Twitter on 300 pages. In the introduction, Bilton describes each of the four co-founders of the company – Noah Glass, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey – talented and smart entrepreneurs looking for connections between people and trying to strengthen them through the Internet.
The peculiarity of Bilton’s style is its unemotionality, while in the preface, the author himself specifies that the moments when he adds expressive states or thoughts of the subjects of the narrative are based on the words of these subjects directly spoken to the author.
At the same time, Bilton dwells on the little things: the clothing brands, the design of the offices of the Twitter employees make a complete picture of the company.
One of the most interesting things about the book is that the author uses social media to show everything that happens in the lives of the founders and other employees of Twitter.
“I found it interesting to put together interviews, tweet dates, blog posts, and then photos from Flickr and Facebook, and in some cases, videos from YouTube. It’s as if the characters in the book helped me write it too,” the author says.
The book was written on the basis of thousands of documents and hundreds of hours of interviews with the creators of Twitter, their friends and acquaintances, current and former employees of the company.
In short, history had the next stages:
- Evan Williams founded Blogger, a personal diary service, and sold it to Google in 2003. This was the first of Williams’ ideas, the overall goal of which was to give the “little man” a voice.
- Williams funded Odeo, a startup founded by Noah Glass, who later became its CEO.
- The distressed Odeo was joined by Biz Stone and programmer Jack Dorsey.
- Dorsey proposed creating a personal status update service, and Glass coined the name Twitter for it.
- On March 21, 2006, Dorsey posted the first tweet.
- Williams bought Odeo from investors and became the sole owner of Twitter.
- Twitter grew rapidly, but it didn’t have a business model, and the company didn’t make anything. Dorsey was an inexperienced CEO and could not solve pressing problems.
- Williams and the board of directors decided to get rid of Dorsey. After that, Williams became the CEO of the company.
- Dorsey decided he would return to the company he helped to create. He attracted investors to his side and made a revolution.
- Williams resigned in 2010. Dick Costolo became the new CEO, and Dorsey returned to the company in March 2011. Twitter’s rapid growth continued.
The Tale of the Hatching
The number of users grew, and investors such as Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures were interested in the company. In July 2007, Union Square Ventures raised $ 5 million on Twitter and became an investment partner. Twitter was named “Best Startup in the Blogging Category.”
But there was still no business model; the company did not earn a cent. An overloaded site often crashed.
Williams, who owned 70% of the company’s revenue, refused to become its CEO and decided to focus on the Obvious Corporation. Williams, Dorsey, and Stone were officially considered the founders of the service.
Goldman was named vice president of the product. Dorsey got a 20% stake in the company, Stone and Goldman each got 3%.
By June 2007, Twitter had more than 250,000 users, including the largest news sources and many celebrities. Investors and potential buyers began to line up.
By 2012, the company’s capitalization reached $10 billion.