Gossip, shmossip

Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

What’s it about?
Hatching Twitter is an oral history of Twitter. It’s more interesting than you might think. I knew it’d grown out of Odeo (an early podcasting company, killed when iTunes launched), but I hadn’t realized that so many of its early employees were, in fact, anarchists. Nor did I know how much of that ethos made it into its corporate culture – the aversion to making money, insisting that twitter is first and foremost about communication, its management’s disorganization, and, of course, why the fail whale was so prominent for awhile. This is the story of how Twitter started and how it’s grown up.

Why should you read it?
Look, most books about specific businesses or business people are gossip. This one’s no different – but it’s really, really GOOD gossip. There really is betrayal and friendship and money, and I’m sure there’d’ve been more sex if there had been more than one female early employee. In some ways, Twitter comes across as close to the platonic ideal of a Silicon Valley start-up: moving fast, trying to change the world, dominated by big egos. (Jack Dorsey does not come off well.) If you want to know how the Silicon Valley tech/internet industry works, it’s not a bad primer.