Evan Williams Quotes
I knew I was going to be on Oprah in two years.
It was very focused on SMS as well. The whole idea was about SMS, that's why it was 140 characters...The first version had the ugliest logo of all time.
Our problem wasn't that it blew up and was impossible to scale, but there were some bad choices made. One of the biggest lessons time after time was to focus. Do fewer things.
We were doing all kinds of things (Twitter via IM, AIM) when the core thing didn't work. Got to the point where we started pulling stuff in, which is more painful, because there's a segment of users that really likes it.
Lots of smart guys pulling off amazing feats, but they were a small team and making it up as we went.
To deliver tweets that are interesting and relevant to you that you didn't know you wanted to see till you saw them.
It will always be about providing access to a communication network through the lowest common denominator. It's rudimentary communication that creates flocking behavior.
Creativity comes from constraint.
There are different ways to approach startups. One thing I admired about Google is we said, ‘This thing is huge, and we're going to kick ass at it.'...The other approach is ‘This might be a thing if we pull it off.'
I ran into this when we were at Google with Blogger. People asked how big is the market for blogging. I said, ‘I don't know, but if we make it awesome lots of people would do it.' With Twitter there is no market, other than we knew it was cool.
People were asking why are you filling the web with all of this crap? I went for years defending blogging.
Every day, one of us says something like, ‘Oh, I forgot to tell you. The moon called and they want us to own them.'
Our goal is to change the world, and we're going to build the best company we can to realize that goal, reach Twitter's potential. At some point going public may make the most sense. We're nowhere near thinking of that. At one time I might have said ‘that's ridiculous', but I don't say that any more. We can be more creative than IPO or being acquired.
Biz Stone Quotes
We got lucky. It doesn't mean we're geniuses.
I just thought I had to go to college after high school. No one ever told me I didn't have to.
It looked a lot like My Space before MySpace. It was a blogging community and got very popular very fast.
Yeah, we knew Barack Obama was going to use it.
We were working at Odeo, but we weren't as passionate about the podcasting service as we should have been. We weren't using it, and that was a problem. Twitter got started because Ev gave us some freedom to think along different lines.
Build it, try it out over the weekend. If it sticks we may keep working on it. I was ripping out carpeting during a heat wave and then my phone vibrated in my pocket, and it was Ev. And it said he was sipping pinot noir. I realized I was totally engaged in this product. So we decided we should keep working on it.
If anything we sort of thought it was a waste of time. Some of our engineers thought it was a waste of time.
It was a chance for me to get behind the screen again.
It looked a lot like a simple sketch Jack had done. A box for updating, there wasn't even a question at the time.
The first version was kind of janky but cute, but then we got clever. We learned, don't get clever.
Runaway growth forced us to stay simple because we didn't have time to focus on too many other things other than keeping the service running.
Early on someone said ‘Twitter is fun but it isn't useful. Ev said, ‘Neither is ice cream.' So what if it's just fun?
SXSW 2007 was a huge watershed moment for us. For the first time, we saw real potential in the tool. We saw people tweeting about a good session to go to.
I send updates a few times per day, at most. I think when people Twitter 20 or 30 times per day that's too much. They are boxing everyone else out, and people stop following them because they need a break.
It's pretty cool to invent a technology with its own set of descriptive terms.
People ‘twitter' and ‘tweet' and someone came up with the word ‘twoops' to refer to a message you meant to text your friend, but you sent it to Twitter by accident.
There's a lot we can learn from smart people out in the world. One of the things I like so much about President Obama is his global vision that it's not a zero-sum game, where one country is going to win the game of earth. We have to work together.
I love that philosophy, and it fits with Twitter because we work with so many companies. The variety, the openness, and believing very basically that the open exchange of information is something that can impact the world in a positive way - from that belief, so many decisions are made easier.
Previous companies I'd done before I left, I left because I didn't really like where the culture was going and I wanted to leave. I was too young to realize that I could have an impact on changing it; if I didn't like it I could work harder.
I think a lot of folks are just wired that way. It's product A or product B, like those blind taste tests. There is something healthy about friendly competition - it's like a scrimmage or a pick-up game - that's good. But the truth of it is that we're all working together.
Look at all the companies in Silicon Valley. They all have, to varying degrees, open systems that interoperate with one another. People are using these systems for different reasons. There's room for everybody, although I think people are often wired to think that way.
What we have learned from this is that you have to tune your systems to handle this level of assault, this scale of assault. We spent a lot of 2008 catching up with a lot of the popularity of Twitter, the unexpected popularity - getting there technically, so that we were stable. And along comes this massive attack. You know, we learned. We worked behind the scenes with folks from Google and other companies to figure out how to stop the attacks and how to better deal with them in the future.
It's like Coke versus Pepsi. I noticed the other day that they are following each other on Twitter.
Watching Ev really sink his teeth into the role of CEO, take it very seriously. He very genuinely wants to innovate - not just from a product or technology standpoint, but from a company standpoint. For me, I've learned about what it means to focus on a culture, to build social responsibility and the idea of a company as a super-organism.
We focus a lot on culture specifically...we don't want to end up like the child actor who found success early and grew up all weird and freaky. We want to remain ok; just because we found success early and in many ways got lucky doesn't mean we're all a bunch of geniuses. It means what it means.
There's a very healthy acknowledgement that we have to stay focused on what we're working on and not to get too caught up in the spotlight. There's a knowledge that these things go up and they come down again. No matter what, we'll just keep working on trying to make Twitter better. Some of the cultural things we've got here that we're fortunate to have are just a general level-headed, unassuming, humble, humorous, funny atmosphere. We like to have fun and stay humble.
It's something we kind of stole from Google. They have something called TGIF - that's when the co-founders and the CEO stand up on stage, greet new hires, talk about what happened that week and take Q&A.
We took that and flipped it around, so that anyone in the company can talk about what they did that week. It takes about an hour and half to go through it all, but it's a very good culture-building exercise because everyone gets to learn what everyone else is doing - and we make fun of each other.
I remember Ev going home one weekend and coming back with this genius plan for Odeo, and he asked me to read it. It was this whole plan for how we could make it a successful business. I thought wow this is genius, but then again so is podcasting. Then slept on it. Do we want to be kings of podcasting? We were constantly gut checking.
Fun, trivial, someone called it the ‘Seinfeld' of the Internet.
That's like people saying, ‘Why would I ever carry a phone around when I have one in my kitchen?'
Sometimes we think this is an elaborate edition of Punked, where someone is going to pop out of the closet and say, ‘Ha ha, we nailed you guys.' It's like we're on a rocket ship that we were just painting and suddenly it took off and we're holding onto the ship with our fingernails.
We admire and respect Facebook. We're big fans, actually. They approached us, and we took it seriously. But we feel like we want to continue this path we're on - sustaining this innovation - and the time is not right.
I guess we have a lot of things we think we can prove. We're thinking really hard about sustainability and revenue and about developing the technology and seeing it take off.
One of our users is a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt. He had time to grab his phone and text just one word - ‘arrested' - on Twitter, and the 100 people in the States following his feed knew he was in trouble, got to his embassy, and had him out in a matter of hours.
I've heard a few anecdotes about folks who previously scoffed at Twitter turning hungrily toward our special election coverage. It's the pulse of what people are thinking about.
Design is a career where you learn creative decision making. It's a renewable resource. You never run out of it. It's never like, ‘That's it, there is no more.'
Jack Dorsey Quotes
The working name was just ‘Status' for awhile. It actually didn't have a name. We were trying to name it, and mobile was a big aspect of the product early on...We liked the SMS aspect, and how you could update from anywhere and receive from anywhere.
We wanted to capture that feeling: the physical sensation that you're buzzing your friend's pocket. It's like buzzing all over the world...We came across the word ‘Twitter' and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,' and ‘chirps from birds.' And that's exactly what the product was.
Jack Dosey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams' Quotes
Evan Williams Quotes
I knew I was going to be on Oprah in two years.