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. ...
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.”
Despite all the coverage of Twitter’s rise, Nick Bilton of The New York Times is the first journalist to tell the full story—a gripping drama of betrayed friendships and highstakes power struggles. The four founders—Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey, and Noah Glass—made a dizzyingly fast transition from ordinary engineers to wealthy celebrities. They fought each other bitterly for money, influence, publicity, and control as Twitter grew larger and more powerful. Ultimately they all lost their grip on it.
Bilton’s unprecedented access and exhaustive reporting have enabled him to write an intimate portrait of four friends who accidentally changed the world, and what they all learned along the way.
…fast-paced and perceptive…Bilton sketches the founders' backgrounds and personalities in quick, skillful strokes…he contextualizes the founders' disagreements about the fundamental nature of Twitter with a light, easy touch and unpretentious insight.
Novelistic rendition of Twitter's contentious origins in the techie subculture of San Francisco. New York Times Bits Blog columnist Bilton (I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted, 2010) reconstructed this history from interviews and the digital trails (i.e., emails and Twitter timelines) of his four principals: blogger, founder and chief investor Evan "Ev" Williams and his friends and employees Noah Glass, Christopher "Biz" Stone and Jack Dorsey. Each contributed an important share in the invention of the platform that, unbeknown to them at the time, would revolutionize the way the world communicates and interrelates. Williams provided the funds and the space for his colleagues to brainstorm startup and application ideas. Dorsey came up with the idea for a simple "status updater." Glass pulled the company name, which suggests the vibrating sound a phone might make when it receives an update, from the dictionary. Stone pushed for the company's light-touch, user-centric ethical and moral dimensions. Almost immediately, Bilton reports, there was tension among the co-founders. Within months, Glass would be pushed out of the circle, denied any glory or much fortune from the company's future success, and Dorsey, the company's tentative and inexperienced first CEO, was ousted in a coup just as Twitter was becoming a phenomenon following successful exposure at the 2007 South by Southwest festival. Neither man took these turns well, but whereas Glass eventually made peace with his fate, according to Bilton, Dorsey plotted revenge. The narrative sometimes gets so inside the heads of its subjects, it can seem to blur the line between reporting and fiction, but Bilton insists every thought in the book is based on interviews and "not assumed." A captivating study of male camaraderie and competition, more like the story of an indie rock band than one of the world's most ubiquitous corporations.
Nick Bilton is a columnist and reporter for The New York Times, where he explores the disruptive aspects of technology on business, culture and society. His columns span everything from the future of technology and privacy to the impact of social media on the Web. He is a regular guest on national TV and radio and is the author of I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works. He lives in Los Angeles.