The fights and power struggles behind the birth of Twitter

Right in the center of SouthPark, a large grassy oval near the financial district of San Francisco, there is a play area with slides, ladders and fireman’s poles, all marked and worn, dirty brown pillars connected. For many in Silicon Valley, these games are holy ground. It was here, a windy day in 2006, according to legend, Jack Dorsey bought burritos with two coworkers, climbed onto a slide and, with his black sweater and green beret, as an obsessed Moses on Mount Sinai, presented his idea for an Internet service that would allow users to update their status and comment on what they were doing. “Those games, there is where I first mentioned the idea”, he told CNBC this year Dorsey, whose current uniform is a white Dior shirt and dark blazer as.

“The idea of Twitter?”, asked the interviewer.

“Yes”, said Dorsey.

What they lack in Silicon Valley are not ideas. In each coffee, beer and technology conference there are legions of founders of new companies, as writers clutching their scripts, desperate to show an application or a site that they believe will be the next big thing. But about 75 percent of the new business bankrupt. Usually it is not simply because the ideas are bad (though some certainly are) but by a host of other problems. Anticipate your time or arrive too late. Some have too much money and collapse under their own weight; others have trouble getting the capital they need to survive. And other implode for mismanagement and fights among the founders who have no experience in leading companies.

For those who have made ​​it the success it is often a result of having been lucky. The YouTube was one of a dozen video sharing sites when the company was purchased by 1.7 billion dollars for Google. Instagram was not the first application in iTunes to share photos, but Facebook anyway paid one billion dollars for it. Twitter was not the first site to share the state of online users, it certainly was the luckiest. Celebrities started to use the service, then used a queen, presidents used it, news organizations and of course, Justin Bieber.

Seven years after its foundation, the catchy name company had over 2,000 employees, more than 200 million active users and a market value estimated at 16,000 million. When you make your initial stock release, many of the co-founders of Twitter, employees and investors are going to become very, very rich. Evan Williams is expected, a co-founder who founded the company of his pocket during his first year, will earn more than one billion dollars. Dorsey, executive chairman of the company and its putative ideologue, earn hundreds of millions.

But in Silicon Valley, luck may be a euphemism for something more sinister. Twitter was not designed precisely the playing field of SouthPark and was definitely not only Dorsey idea. In fact, Dorsey forced to leave the man who can say that was the most influential founder of Twitter before he took off the site and he saw the company quietly expelled.

The stories of Genesis tend to have disproportionate importance in Silicon Valley. Steve Jobs left his studies at ReedCollege, traveled the world, came out with Joan Baez and helped create a revolutionary computer company. Mark Zuckerberg wrote the original code for Facebook while doing the ranking of attractive girls in his Harvard dorm room.

In these tales the valley known as the “Creation Myth” because, although based on a true story, excludes the occasional shocks and backstabbing that occurs in the foundation of a technology company. And though all the origin stories contain some exaggerations, the tweet is based on unusual amounts of such exaggerations.

In 2005 Jack Dorsey was a boy of 29 who had left school at New YorkUniversity and sometimes wore a shirt with your phone number on the chest and a nose ring. After a three month job writing software for a company organizing tours by boat to Alcatraz, he was living in a tiny apartment in San Francisco.

He changed his luck one morning when he was sitting at Caffe Centro against SouthPark. When Dorsey looked up from his laptop, with punk rock blaring in his headphones, he became aware of a man roughly the same age. Evan Williams, then 33, was a minor celebrity in the San Francisco tech scene. A few years ago Google had sold several million dollars online diary service he co-founded, Blogger, word had popularized. Now Williams was using some of the money from Blogger to finance a new company, Odeo, which made ​​podcasts (unit transmissions of audio or video material online, n. than t.). Odeo was co-founded by his neighbor and friend, Noah Glass.

Dorsey, who was shy because he had to struggle with a speech impediment as a child, was reluctant to enter personally. Instead he opened his CV on your computer, obliterated all signs of his desire to work in the Camper shoe, found the email address of Williams and sent him a message to see if Odeo was hired. Williams, whose investment in Odeo had become the CEO of the company, soon called him for an interview. Along with Glass, though the two had also renounced the college, loafers preferred the graduates of Stanford and Dorsey, his nose ring and her tangled hair, seemed to fit perfectly. He was hired immediately as freelance systems engineer and joined smoothly, often earning weekly prize “get it done the [expletive] things” and staying after hours with his new colleagues, including Glass. After work went for a bike ride around town or live music shows and stayed up late drinking, usually talking about technology. Glass Dorsey and soon became inseparable.

Like many entrepreneurs in the Valley, Glass did not make a clear distinction between their work and personal lives. Social gatherings and work were indistinguishable, with the wives and husbands who did not work in the technology required to hear about MySQL databases. This lack of boundaries while Odeo prospered worked well but became more complicated when Apple announced it would add podcasts to iTunes, which essentially made Odeo would become redundant in an afternoon.

By the end of 2005, Williams and Glass began to have disagreements about the future of the company. Williams, who was known for being slow to make decisions, was weighing whether to close Odeo. Glass, however, trying to get ideas for Odeo employees, looking for a way to transition the company to something new. Your stress seemed exacerbated by the fact that their marriage was also in crisis.


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