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Hatching Twitter

A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

By Nick Bilton
21-minute read
Audio available
Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton

Hatching Twitter tells the story of the four men responsible for Twitter as we know it. It’s a tale of backstabbing, superstar glory and billions of dollars that chronicles the drama and defining decisions that made Twitter what it is today.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“Who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy?! I love how these blinks tell the story of Twitter in a way that now I really feel like I understand the stories of Ev and Jack.”

– Ben S, Audio Lead at Blinkist

  • Anyone who uses Twitter
  • Anyone who is interested in Twitter’s impact and origins
  • Anyone who works in a start-up
  • Anyone interested in the dangers of mixing business and friendship

Nick Bilton writes the Bits Blog for the New York Times. He’s an expert on technology, culture, business and the way the internet affects our lives. He is also the author of I Live in the Future and Here's How It Works.

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Hatching Twitter

A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

By Nick Bilton
  • Read in 21 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 13 key ideas
Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
Synopsis

Hatching Twitter tells the story of the four men responsible for Twitter as we know it. It’s a tale of backstabbing, superstar glory and billions of dollars that chronicles the drama and defining decisions that made Twitter what it is today.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“Who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy?! I love how these blinks tell the story of Twitter in a way that now I really feel like I understand the stories of Ev and Jack.”

– Ben S, Audio Lead at Blinkist

Key idea 1 of 13

Before founding Twitter, Evan Williams helped start the blogging craze with the site Blogger.

So many of us use Twitter to share our lives, thoughts and opinions – but have you ever asked yourself how it all started? It might shock you, but the birth of Twitter began with a college dropout from Nebraska named Evan Williams

Ev, as Williams was known, showed a strong entrepreneurial instinct from a very young age.

He was already trying out business ideas in his teens, and during high school he went door to door selling a VHS tape that explained what the internet was. 

He later brought this entrepreneurial spirit to California and the flourishing start-up scene of the Bay Area. It was there, after learning how to code, that he and a few friends started a business called Pyra. As a side project, Ev built a journal-like website to help Pyra employees track their workflows. The employees used it so much that in 1999 he launched it as a public service called Blogger. The idea behind Blogger was to allow ordinary people who lacked computer programming knowledge to easily create their own internet journal or diary. By releasing Blogger to the public, Ev helped invent the idea of a blog

But although Blogger quickly became popular among internet users, Ev’s struggles to keep up with the business’ bills and paperwork led the other Pyra employees to quit in frustration. He was left all alone to run the business, which he ran out of his own living room.

But Blogger continued to explode in popularity because people loved the opportunity to express their own perspectives, opinions and experiences. By 2002, Blogger’s continual growth had allowed Ev to hire a few programmers and improve his office space. And the site continued to grow, until in 2003 Google bought Blogger (and Pyra) for millions of dollars.

This money would later be crucial for Twitter’s genesis.

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