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How Twitter was created, the true story


How Twitter Was Founded

A few things that surprised me:

  • The relatively large and established setting it was created in (the company and staff of Odeo). Previous re-tellings have indicated that Twitter was started up by just one or two people that developed the service on their spare time, based on a napkin design, and outside of a company. That’s clearly not the case.
  • It mentions so far unknown people that contributed to the Twitter name etc. Is that relevant? I coined the name of Axis Communications and developed most of the technology in the initial products based on my own designs . Does that give me right to take credit, considering I was paid to work on this, that also those working on Twitter were? In U.S. start-up culture it seems so. What we did at Axis then (25 years ago) was more advanced on all levels than Twitter, with less staff.
  • How the early investors and some of the early contributors were kicked out / bought out by Evan Williams. A clear sign that money is power in a start-up setting (and pretty much anywhere else too, of course).
  • This is interesting because it’s considered given: “It takes money to put up the infrastructure. That’s the thing. And with these companies it’s difficult, because you gotta offer it free first. Like Facebook and all that. You gotta offer it free so that people start using it.”

After 5 years Twitter is conceptually still a very basic service, maybe by design. Even so, its popularity can’t be disputed, as it’s become Web infrastructure.