The co-founder of Twitter shares wisdom on the business of success.
Tech pioneer Stone (Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs, 2004, etc.) has the best intentions when he counsels readers to develop and challenge the ideas we prize most. By “merging your abilities with your ambitions,” he writes, the keys to becoming successful entrepreneurs are within reach. His book, an effective hybrid of memoir and motivational guidebook, charts Stone’s own triumph from humble beginnings spent tirelessly cultivating Xanga, his first startup web company, which struggled but never did anything but plunge him and his girlfriend deep into debt. It did, however, familiarize him with fellow tech wunderkind Evan Williams. That association would place him on Google’s doorstep in 2003, vying for a position developing Williams’ program Blogger. Dipping into podcasting and a few smaller startup ideas kept Stone focused once he’d separated from Google, but the brainstorming (what he dubs “the two-week hackathon”), which became the impetus for Twitter, is both exciting, ingenious and exciting to read about. Specifics on this Silicon Valley success story were soon drafted, such as the 140-character limit (“constraint inspires creativity”), how to troubleshoot its numerous platform failures, and how to further Twitter’s public appeal and functionality (“the mechanics of flocking”). Twitter’s explosion onto the tech map would bring about a proposal from Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg, described in deliciously vicarious detail by Stone, who’s obviously not a fan. More personal insights on his veganism and altruism follows, all written with a chatty, amiable sensibility that makes Stone emerge as one of the more benign web-app execs to burst from the California tech gold mine.
Perceptive, motivational advice for geeks and nongeeks alike, all interwoven with the true story of how Twitter found its flock.