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Today we are presenting a Brutal Story about how Twitter Started! The True Twitter Story. Was it a complete Scandal or a Betrayal?
Well, that question is open to you, so here we are revealing some of the harsh truths about TWITTER.
Do you know The True Twitter Story?
Eighty-three per cent of world leaders are on Twitter. In a way, it is actually the most instant communication network on the planet. It’s augmented the internet and how information is disseminated, but the Twitter Story of how Twitter started is one filled with betrayal and controversy. Here’s a Twitter account owned by a man named NOAH GLASS where his bio reads “I started this”.
If I was to tell you that NOAH GLASS, the owner of this Twitter account with only 38 thousand followers helped start Twitter but was kicked out of the company?
Before it even got off the ground, you may not believe me! but that is true. So, why doesn’t anyone know about NOAH GLASS and why was he kicked out? well, it’s partly because of this man called Evan Williams. But also because of Jack Dorsey. It was a coup within the company to rid NOAH GLASS. Not only this but the co-founder of Twitter Evan Williams may have cheated investors of hundreds of millions by bluffing.
So let’s dive in to know how one of the most recognizable social media companies has such a controversial beginning. Most people think that the story of Twitter starts with Jack Dorsey or Evan Williams, but it actually begins with NOAH GLASS and that’s where we’ll start.
The Twitter Story starts in San Francisco. In the early 2000s, NOAH GLASS had created a product where a user would dial a number and the service would transform your voice message into an mp3 message which would be held on the web. Remember these are the early days of the web where everything was relatively new and people were throwing around crazy business ideas.
NOAH GLASS would turn this online voice mail idea into a company called ODEO. One of the early investors in ODEO was a former Google employee, a friend and also a neighbour of NOAH GLASS and Evan Williams. Evan Williams had recently sold his company called blogger to Google and he had a ton of cash.
The idea turned from hosting voice messages as mp3s to a podcasting platform the company moved into an office and started hiring more employees. Someone from these employees was a quiet on-again-off-again web designer and university dropout by the name of Jack Dorsey.
The 29-year-old was shy; he battled out a speech impediment as a child. Jack Dorsey was living in San Francisco out of a tiny apartment and had recently been turned down for a job at a shoe store.
Around this time smartphones & iPods were the hottest things and everyone had one. In 2005 Apple announced that iTunes would include a podcasting platform built into every one of those millions of iPods in people’s pockets. The employees of ODEO began to realize that Apple had just crushed them without warning. In addition to this, they just didn’t listen to podcasts as much as they thought they would. Evan Williams who by now was the ODEO CEO knew that ODEO as a podcasting platform was doomed.
He contemplated shutting down the company but NOAH GLASS thought that it was best to see what the employees could come up with. Evan Williams agreed and in a last-ditch effort, he told the company’s employees to start coming up with ideas for a new direction for ODEO.
Employees would break into groups and spend the whole day working on different projects. After a hard day’s work, the office crew would often see live music shows and drink late into the night. Usually talking about technology. During this time Jack Dorsey and NOAH GLASS really hit it off and soon they were inseparable. Back at work when looking at what the staff was working on to save ODEO.
NOAH GLASS gravitated towards Jack Dorsey. He thought of him as one of the best stars in the company. Jack Dorsey had an idea for a completely different product that revolved around Status, a popular idea in the 2000s. Facebook featured them heavily and Foursquare was based totally around that, not to mention even the Bourbon app which would later become Instagram.
NOAH was quoted saying “I got the impression Jack Dorsey was unhappy with what he was working on. A lot of clean up work on ODEO. He started talking to me about this idea of status and how he was really interested in statuses. I was trying to figure out what he found so compelling about it”
NOAH GLASS Goes on to describe “It was about 2:00 a.m. and raining outside, Jack Dorsey said that he wanted to quit the tech world altogether and become a fashion designer. NOAH GLASS was taken aback and he pushed Jack Dorsey to explain his status idea further.”
“There was a moment when I was sitting with Jack Dorsey and I said, oh I do see how this could really come together to make something really compelling it all fit together for me”
One day in February of 2006, NOAH GLASS and Jack Dorsey presented the idea to the rest of the company. It was a system where you could send a text to the number 4040 and the text message would be broadcasted to all your friends they would receive an SMS of what you wrote and you could add more friends via text message. So what would they call this thing after missing the word twitch for a name? They would call it Twitter.
NOAH GLASS took charge of the Twitter project after they presented the idea while JACK DORSEY did the coding. The original Twitter was a social network anchored around text messaging it sounds weird today, but back then the technology that was widely adopted wasn’t capable enough to have instant social media with you. This kind of service was the closest thing.
Interestingly they weren’t the only ones, A service called Dodgeball was another SMS social media network in the same domain as Twitter. Though instead of just text messages users could post Envy messages via the Twitter website. NOAH GLASS was passionate about Jack’s idea and understood it by March of 2006 ODEO had a working twitter prototype.
In July, Tech Crunch covered Twitter for the first time. Their conclusion was quoted as follows,
“The fact that this comes from ODEO makes me wonder what is this company doing to make its core offerings compelling? How do their shareholders feel about side projects like Twitter?. When their primary product line is beside the excellent design of a total snoozer the tech community couldn’t see why a podcasting platform would dabble in something so weird regardless of”
Later that year, employees became so obsessed with Twitter that they racked up monthly SMS bills totalling hundreds of dollars. It seemed like Twitter was an interesting and fun toy for the employees but nothing more.
It would take an earthquake to change all of that, oh yes I am not kidding!
In August, a small earthquake shook San Francisco and word quickly spread through Twitter. Suddenly the whole company realized what the usefulness of the platform was. News, Twitter was a fresh form of instant messaging both on a macro and personal level. It was an information network, not a social network.
It was an instant success, Twitter had arrived. By the fall of that year to have thousands of users was a benchmark to achieve. Back at ODEO, the company was splitting into two, those who worked on Twitter and those who worked on the legacy audio stuff.
Evan Williams, the early investor in Noah’s idea and now CEO of ODEO was an interesting character, he stated that “All successful business people make enemies along the way” according to Business Insider former ODEO investors and employees use the word calculative to describe him. There are allegations that Evan Williams failed to properly compensate bloggers, employees when he sold the company to Google in 2003. His blogger co-founder, Meg hariom said “I don’t think he took care of the people who got him to where he was”
Later in 2006 at a board meeting for ODEO, NOAH GLASS presented Twitter to the ODEO directors. They were careless and didn’t even see the Big picture. Then one day in September 2006 Evan Williams wrote a letter to ODEO’s investors. In it, he told them that the company was going nowhere and he felt bad about it.
Evan Williams convinced the investors that they should cut their losses and sell all their stock back to him. They agreed and he bought back ODEO but this included Twitter. Five years later, the assets of the company that the original ODEO investors sold for approximately five million were now worth at least 1,000 times more, Five billion dollars.
The question is, did Evan Williams ever know that Twitter was going to be a hit?
His email hints at this! In the letter to ODEO Investors, Williams wrote about Twitter. How he was not sure about the entire plan.
On one hand, he may have just thought that Twitter was a waste of time and he felt bad about that. But on the other hand, did Evan Williams Con the Investors?
Surely! when the ODEO employees racked up hundreds of dollars in SMS bills. He must have seen the potential.
Business Insider spoke to a few of these investors, some were okay with it, some were jaded, others thought that they were conned. Had Evan Williams tricked them into thinking Twitter wasn’t worth much?
When he knew that he was sitting on a goldmine, it was impossible to know what he was thinking. But one former employee who wished to remain anonymous said that “Williams decided there was something interesting enough in Twitter that he wanted to buy all the assets and buy everyone out”
The two personalities, NOAH GLASS and Evan Williams started to clash. NOAH GLASS, he had now designed some of the core features of Twitter, wanted to stay at the helm. Very early on NOAH GLASS wanted to split Twitter off into a separate company from ODEO and become the CEO. In fact, he had already done the paperwork.
If Evan Williams wanted to take control of Twitter he could have done so at any time. NOAH GLASS was nervous about talking about it to Evan Williams and confessed his fears to Jack. Jack Dorsey sympathized and said that things would be okay.
One day Evan Williams asked NOAH GLASS to go with him for a walk and was here that Noah’s worst fears were realized. Evan Williams told NOAH GLASS that He was FIRED. Woah! all was not as it seemed. Jack Dorsey who was no abundant with and thought of him as a friend was actually the person who wanted NOAH GLASS out.
Jack Dorsey had recently met Evan Williams and threatened to quit if NOAH GLASS wasn’t asked to leave. The reasons for why exactly this happened has never been revealed. Unaware of what Jack Dorsey had done behind his back. NOAH GLASS and Jack Dorsey met at a bar later that night, a defeated NOAH GLASS would drink late into the night.
At one point NOAH GLASS told Jack Dorsey that he’d been fired. Jack Dorsey acted dumbfound and blamed Evan Williams as the night came to a close. NOAH GLASS hugged his friend and walked home. Jack Dorsey soon became CEO of Twitter and Evan Williams went to the chairman position.
According to many employee and investor accounts, Twitter would not have been created without NOAH GLASS. Everyone was shocked at the decision, NOAH GLASS expressed how he felt “I felt betrayed by my friends, by my company, by these people around me I trusted and that I had worked hard to create something with. I was a little shell-shocked. I was like, ‘Wait…what’s the value in building these relationships if this is the result?’ So I spent a lot of time by myself. And working on things alone.”
In any case, Evan Williams remained at the helm of one of the premier online companies and NOAH GLASS’s name was largely erased from the history books. It still wasn’t obvious to everyone that Twitter would be a huge hit until the next year.
In 2007 Twitter completely dominated the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas. Twitter employees strategically placed 60-inch Plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages. Attendees used Twitter to find out what was happening at the conference. Panellists and Speakers would often mention the service which put it into the public eye. During the event, Twitter usage boosted from 20k tweets per day to 60k. Twitter staff received the festival’s Web Award.
All this while NOAH GLASS sat in the audience filming. He was never mentioned on stage. From here Twitter began to pick up steam and became the platform to instantly know what it is now.
On the 15th of January 2009, a US Airways flight crashed in New York City’s Hudson River. A photo posted on Twitter broke the news before the traditional media, Highlighting Twitter’s role in breaking news. In November of 2013, Twitter went public with shares being valued at $26 as the market opened and $44 when it closed.
Twitter currently has three thousand nine hundred employees and has made 3.4 billion dollars in revenue.
In 2019 a total of 1.3 billion accounts have been created, with 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily users. 22% of Americans are on Twitter and of those 10% of users write 80% of the tweets. Interestingly almost nobody uses Twitter in Australia. 83% of the world’s leaders are on Twitter and journalists make up 24.6% of verified accounts. Barack Obama has the most followers with over 111 million, followed by Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. There are around 6,000 tweets every second.
Twitter is becoming very useful for brands. The last two years have seen a 250 per cent increase in consumer service conversations on Twitter. On the 7th of April 2020, Jack Dorsey donated 1 billion dollars to fund to fight with Corona Virus. That’s 28 per cent of his net worth. It was a very noble move and it does show that Jack Dorsey has some good character.
But somehow I just can’t help but wonder what Jack Dorsey thinks of Noah’s position today?
When asked Jack Dorsey what is his version of the Twitter Story?
He simply said, “it was always we…But the past is past! And we Move forward”
Stories will be written, the situation with NOAH GLASS is undoubtedly sad. He got kicked out of the company that he helped build and betrayed by someone who he thought was his friend. NOAH GLASS has slipped into obscurity and is almost nowhere to be found on the internet these days.
Usually, there’s a lesson to be learnt with such examples. Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams teaming up against him, there was almost nothing that NOAH GLASS could do. Though I hope that this Article does bring some recognition for his role in the foundation of Twitter. who invented Twitter. Well, it certainly wasn’t just Jack Dorsey alone!!!