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Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal Hardcover – November 5, 2013
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2013: Spoiler alert: The subtitle sorta says it all. That is, Nick Bilton's Hatching Twitter delivers "A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal," though not necessarily in that order. The book's four central players--Ev, Jack, Biz, and Noah--conceived of Twitter while working on Odeo, an ultimately doomed attempt to revolutionize podcasting. As their little chick grew, the four men's personal and ideological differences led to a power struggle that eventually left them all on the sidelines as a former stand-up comedian took Twitter into the uncertain future. Writing with the pacing and veracity of detail of a true-crime book, Bilton makes use of a trove of source material--from internal Twitter e-mails to extensive interviews with and early tweets by the founders themselves--and the result is as exciting and fast-paced as it is topically relevant. If you're looking for a thoughtful rumination about Twitter as a revolutionary global communications platform, keep looking. If you're looking for a quick, well-written, thoroughly researched human drama, the story of an utterly dysfunctional foursome and the accelerated unraveling of their once brilliant partnership, this is your book. #HighlyRecommended. --Jason Kirk (@brasswax)
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The story is very well told. It's a captivating read. It's very surreal to read about your friends and former co-workers in a book like this. Most of us live our lives only ourselves. Having this book is kind of like having a well researched MTV Rock Documentary about our work, friendships, and time in our lives. I think if you interview enough people, look at what happened in any situation, it's easy to put a spin and story on things. None of us know the details of everybody else's life.
I wish there'd been more discussion about the technical and models we pulled from to build twitter. Where the ideas came from and how they were put together. It's very weird to see how much focus there is on people's drinking, clothing, hygiene, and being broke. That we were pulling from txtmob, the unix finger command, carlton university's status update system, bike messenger dispatch, blogger, etc... that's not as sexy a story. That we considered how to look at transitions of mediums from desktop to web, from web to mobile, as a place to create new systems for communications in old ways, isn't as cool as intrigue amongst friends who ended up creating twitter. There's a lot of the people and not as much understanding twitter and it's context.
The order of things as they happened and as they are told in the book isn't the same. This is ok, i think, mostly because the book is about telling the story of twitter's creation. It's no a strict chronology. Reordering things makes for a better story arc. There were a number of people not interviewed and i think their story was diminished. Some of us were talked about more because they fit a better story arc.
One last thing, i'd say that Twitter's management problems were due to lack of ability to come together and make a decision, and not the anarchists refusing to follow rules and allow order.
It is so interesting to find out what was really going on as Twitter was being built. The dynamic between the co-founders was fascinating. It really speaks to where power of positive press can get you and illustrates to me to never really believe what I read in the media. @jack's relationship with the media reminded me a little of the whole Man T'ai Teo thing where the media just took something at face value and really didn't know the truth. It worked out better for Jack than Man T'ai.
I loved this book and immediately after it was over Googled exaggerated of the founders to find out where they are now - and I followed them on Twitter of course.
....“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.”
Twitter changed how we communicate and has given everyone a microphone to make yourself a rock star or dressmaker, or anything in between. FIVE Big Stars