I recently read Hatching Twitter. It was like an episode of Game of Thrones with each lord of Twitter pushing for their time on the throne. Twitter it must be said did not set out to create Twitter. The idea of Twitter came, depending on who you talk to, from Odeo and possibly a drunken night. Ev, Twitter’s first CEO, was the creator of Blogger. He’d gone from a three figure bank account to being a multimillionaire. That is where Twitter Started. Long before it was an idea there was the creation of its founders.
Noah was a friend that started working on Odeo. Odeo was a company working on the creation of podcasting software. Jack Dorsey and Noah were drinking and hanging out in a parking lot. Funny enough Jack had wanted to work in fashion and make jeans. It was Jack who had the idea for a status. That was Twitter. A status update. A site where people shared their current status.
Twitter was to be the antidote for being lonely.
Odeo was failing. It was the death of Odeo that created the seeds of transformation. Ev needed a way to save his failing company and ensure that he was not seen as a one hit wonder because of his success with Blogger. This created a strong group working on the initial concept of twitter.
After the launch of Twitter management quickly turned into a battlefield vying for control. Jack had been put in charge of Twitter. Ev and investors later sought to push him out of leadership because he was inexperienced and making poor decisions. Jack had lacked a basic understanding of accounting.
At one point Jack even asks Ev if he wants to be the CEO of Twitter. As a short result Ev does eventually appear to push Jack out of the company. This is where the Game Begins. Bev, a Twitter Co-Founder took a stand that he would also leave if Jack had been forced out. Thus an ultimatum was reached where Jack would have 3 months to fix Twitter. To stop the blackouts and turn the company towards a profitable future. Something a person with Jack’s skill set would not be able to do within 3 years. In what you’d expect to find in a sitcom an investor replied to a group email that they were going to push Jack into a position in a passive chairman role. This aided in keeping Jack from being removed from Twitter. Later it would be the fact that there was no back up to Twitter that sent glaring eyes targeted at Jack. This lead to a breakfast that sealed Jack’s fate.
Ev took over as the CEO of Twitter.
Jack was placed into a chairman role on the board. Only in title. He was a mascot. In a stunning move, one of Jack’s first calls after leaving Twitter was to call Mark Zuckerberg at FaceBook, the enemy. This was of course because FaceBook had been trying to buy Twitter. Mark had done well warming up to Jack to course the purchase.
Ev was looked at as the hero figure coming to the throne to save Twitter where as Jack had been seen as a CowBoy.
Jack then began to work on his own company, Square. You may have heard of it. It’s a very popular payment processor/pos. Enter Peter Fenton. Becoming an investor in Twitter found that Jack was a founder and creator of the idea of Twitter. He vowed to see Jack back in the seat of power. It was said that Fenton said that he felt like he went into a room with blood on the walls.
Noah, who had once been a part of the Twitter story seemed erased as Ev went on Oprah for Oprah’s first tweet. There was a brewing coalition against the actions of Twitter and how it’s founders had been treated. Two men battling for the thrown. Noah, once seen as the moral aspect of Twitter and it’s face to the media now forgotten.
I am not going to ruin the rest of the book for you. But I will say that there is more over throwing. More back stabbing. There’s even a part involving Jack entering a war zone with bullets coming through the plane he’s on as it spirals down towards a runway. A Twitter Revolution in Iran hinging on Twitter’s presence. Partially leading to a media war over who was the creator of Twitter.
It’s not often that you hear about a CEO being forced out and then being brought back years later. Especially after he’s seen as being massively under qualified.
In the end Ev, Bev, and Jack were 3 creators looking for their place in the world and destroying their friendship and nearly their company to get there. The great war of “what are you doing” vs “what is going on around you”. The “this is about me” vs “this is what I am seeing”. See the evolution of a real-life doppelganger.
Get the full story and see who rules the Twitter throne with Hatching Twitter. You’ll also get to learn about why we use @ and # symbols in social media. It started with Twitter.