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Hatching Twitter

2013 . Business & Economics, Industries, Corporate & Business History . Nick Bilton

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3 total

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17K total

About the book

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A New York Times bestseller Ev told Jack he had to “chill out” with the deluge of media he was doing. “It’s bad for the company,” Ev said. “It’s sending the wrong message.” Biz sat between them, watching like a spectator at a tennis match. “But I invented Twitter,” Jack said. “No, you didn’t invent Twitter,” Ev replied. “I didn’t invent Twitter either. Neither did Biz. People don’t invent things on the Internet. They simply expand on an idea that already exists.” In 2005, Odeo was a struggling podcasting start-up founded by free-range hacker Noah Glass and staffed by a motley crew of anarchists. Less than two years later, its days were numbered and half the staff had been let go. But out of Odeo’s ashes, the remaining employees worked on a little side venture . . . that by 2013 had become an $11.5 billion business. That much is widely known. But the full story of Twitter’s hatching has never been told before. It’s a drama of betrayed friendships and high-stakes power struggles, as the founders went from everyday engineers to wealthy celebrities featured on magazine covers, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show, and Time’s list of the world’s most influential people. New York Times columnist and reporter Nick Bilton takes readers behind the scenes as Twitter grew at exponential speeds. He gets inside the heads of the four hackers out of whom the company tumbled: • Evan “Ev” Williams, the ambitious farm boy from Clarks, Nebraska, who had already created Blogger and sold it to Google for millions. Quiet and protective, Ev is a shrewd businessman who made tough choices in the interest of his companies, firing cofounders and employees who were once friends. • Jack Dorsey, the tattooed “nobody” who helped mastermind the original concept of Twitter, became a billionaire tech titan, and convinced the media that he was the next Steve Jobs. • Christopher “Biz” Stone, the joker and diplomat who played nice with everyone. As drama ensued, he was the only founder who remained on good terms with his friends and to this day has no enduring resentments. • Noah Glass, the shy but energetic geek who invested his whole life in Twitter, only to be kicked out and expunged from the company’s official history. As Twitter grew, the four founders fought bitterly for money, influence, publicity, and control over a company that grows larger and more powerful by the day. Ultimately they all lost their grip on it. Today, none of them is the CEO. Dick Costolo, a fifty-year-old former comedian, runs the company. By 2013 Twitter boasted close to 300 million active users around the world. In barely six years, the service has become a tool for fighting political oppression in the Middle East, a marketing musthave for business, and the world’s living room during live TV events. Today, notables such as the pope, Oprah Winfrey, and the president of the United States are regular Twitter users. A seventeen-year-old with a mobile phone can now reach a larger audience than an entire crew at CNN. Bilton’s unprecedented access and exhaustive investigating reporting—drawing on hundreds of sources, documents, and internal e-mails—have enabled him to write an intimate portrait of four friends who accidentally changed the world, and what they all learned along the way.

Year:

2013

Language:

English

Publisher:

Portfolio/Penguin

Pages:

302

ISBN:

1591846013 (ISBN13: 9781591846017)

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Reviews

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Annie Spencer image

6 months ago

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Such a crazy story behind the start of Twitter. Brings to life the roller coaster of initial founders, ousting, insane growth within a really short time frame, and some of the decisions the board had to take as Twitter grew. Only a 9 as I felt it ended quite suddenly! I was left wanting to hear more about how it has got the place it is now.

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Morten Veith Schroeder image

6 months ago

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Found this book on one of the Friendspire lists and I was not disappointed! It's contains a bunch of super cool first-hand encounters of the creation of Twitter from its very infancy as a podcast startup to how we know it today. I always really enjoy reading about startups and seeing how they evolve over time - often into what we know them for today! E.g. Did you know Twitter started as an SMS service where you texted a number and your tweet was then added to your profile on the web? Neither did i! The forming of Twitter is also a crazy story of deceit and a lot of backstabbing. At times it feels like 5 nerds who behave like children, instead of figuring things out like crown ups! it's also a continuation of the theme I've seen in a lot of these startups: VC firms taking over and ousting founders against their will If you like Super Pumped (forming of Uber) or That will Never Work (forming of Netflix) I think you'll enjoy this book too!

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Markus Marañon Straarup image

7 months ago

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I I had no idea story behind Twitter with this was this crazy! With everything that has happened since I almost feel like there could be a second book. Highly recommend for anyone that likes books on startups!!

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Morten Veith Schroeder image

10 months ago

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Food for thought: Twitter came out of a failed podcasting platform as the founders scrambled for what to spend their last money on. It was originally intended as an easy way to post a ‘status’ about parties and festivals and where to go next! As it launched before apps were even a thing it was actually a website hooked up with an SMS service, where you could post a tweet by sending it to a number! In this way it sort of worked like group messaging. Pretty smart thinking actually 👏 This also explains why the length of tweets are limited: An SMS has max 160 characters (later reduced to 140 to fit a name in front of the tweet)

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