tv The Communicators CSPAN January 25, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
>> hatching twitter: a true story of money, power, friendship, and betrayal," is the name of the book. the author nick bilton joins us from san francisco. >> the billion dollar question. the $25 billion question if you look at twitter bot ipo. it is something that is different for everyone. it was started by four people and they were collectively trying to build something that would communicate with each other, would connect them to their friends. they all had different ideas of what it was. the genesis of it, the moment that it started, was to gentlemen. jack dorsey and noah glass. thatwork for a company produced podcast in early 2005.
it was in san francisco. the company was failing. noah and jack had been out drinking. jack had this idea that you could build something that would what you to tell people you were doing in real time. , his cofounder's company, he had the idea that they would be able to share with their friends. you could connect with your friends. he was going through a difficult private time. they thought that twitter would make you feel less alone. that was the genesis of the idea. everyone had a different concept of what it was. >> how did the name twitter come about? >> a lot of people probably do not know the counter who was pushed out early on. he was one of the most influential people.
they came up with this idea, and they had a lot of other people's ideas from the podcast company. they were essentially building what would become twitter. there were different iterations of it. they could not come up with a name. there were several names thrown around. "friends "status" and stalker" and one that was based on sms messaging. kramer sort of character. he is effervescent and we, but he is an artist. he went home one afternoon after work and he was sitting in his kitchen and he went through the dictionary. he was getting text messages from people and he turned it to vibrate.
he thought, what about the word vibrate? that led him to the word "twitch" which then led into the ord "twitter." >> what is noah doing today? >> not much. he was pushed out of the company by his friends. there is a story about twitter's genesis. in the valley, we call these creation that. the creation myth of twitter is that jack dorsey found that allowed. .ack -- alone jack had a lot of influence, but it was almost a dozen people that had influence and what it became. noah was one of the biggest driving forces in the early days. what happens was it quickly became a power struggle over who got to run this thing and feed it and decide what it will like. like.t it would look
there is a moment in the book were jack goes to employees -- iams, and jack was an important programmer at the time. >> wears jack dorsey today? than $1is worth more billion. he runs a company called where. --is still involved -- where square. he is still involved in twitter. he is a celebrity. he has been featured on the covers of magazines. he tell this story that excludes no class from the founding of twitter. no i ended up with almost nothing. >> he did not benefit financially? >> i do not want to give away too much of the book, the drama side of it, but there is a story williams gives no us
some of his stock because he feels bad about what happened. it is a pittance of what jack and ev and those guys ended up with. >> what is the year was founded? >> it was founded in 2006. there were ideas and discussions that led up to it that were actually from 2005. february, of it was march, 2000 and. -- 2006. this podcasting company -- there were a couple of guys who work there and they were anarchists. they actually led protests against the president and other governments. they were involved in protests against the world.
they were using a tool that was a precursor to twitter. it is very similar to what twitter will become. it was a tool that allowed people who were protesting to say that the police were coming down six rate, everyone go to 37 rate. everyone would get a text message alert. , you mentioned evan williams. who is he? five he moved from a small farm town in nebraska. he always had an affinity with computers. wasecided one day that he going to move to separate cisco and try to build some software or technologies or get involved. allnded up in the back of -- sebastopol. then he ended up in san francisco.
under that company, there was a fight project -- side project he developed called blogger. it was one of the first blogging site. he ended up selling into google and received $20 million for the company. he use that money to help finance the podcast company and then twitter. >> one other in the original work set of care or's -- quartet of characters. christopher stone. >> everyone calls him biz. he grew up in boston with welfare. he came from a dysfunctional home. he is a very sweet guy. he is a joker. always cracking jokes and making people feel better. he came out to silicon valley to work with evan williams on blogger. blogging.ig fan of
one of the things that happens is the had a title of cofounder. he did not have a specific role. he became the moral center of the company. this is one of the reasons that i was drawn to writing this book about letter. twitter is a different company in many respects. i write stories for the new york times about facebook, google, whatever. things that have happened. i have never had to write those stories about twitter. part of the reason about that is rulepeople had set up a that twitter should always be impartial. it should not be seen as having a viewpoint in the way it is used. when twitter was being used in the iranian revolution or the
,ccupy wall street protests stone was one of the people who said that they would not comment to the media. >> what is the relationship between those four cofounders today? >> noah glass, after he was pushed out of the company, by his closest friends, he fell into a depression and has taken a long time to recover from it. these were literally his best friends. he and jack dorsey spent every waking hour together. then he was pushed out of the company. evan williams two. -- evan williams too. they were very close and had a contentious situation. williams was the one who fired him. he struggled a lot to deal with that. none of these guys really talk
anymore. they are jack and ev, both on the board of twitter, but their relationship is strained. the reason for that is that they both pushed each other out of the company. has always been a nice guy, but he does not talk you know it either. >> three out of four got wealthy? >> yes. giant steps between the wealth. ofwilliams made a couple billion dollars. jack dorsey made a billion dollars. stone made tens of millions. as far as noah, the exact figure is unknown. it is a very low single-digit amount. >> where to twitter get the money to begin? >> the money in the beginning came from evan williams.
he financed twitter out of his own pocket. he used the money he made from blogger. bywas originally financed venture capitalist. they purchased back the stock and the venture money from these venture capitalists in the valley. he put up his own cash to finance twitter. in 2007, after the sxsw festival, they actually started bringing venture capital and back in. people ended up financing because that company in the later years. >> we should introduce another person actively twitter and that is dicik costelo. >> he is now the chief financial officer and he essentially run the company. he did not start out that way.
after noah was pushed out of the company, jack dorsey took over as the eeo. he was not a very seasoned ceo. he had never been trained to run a company. he was put in charge of this company that was growing rapidly. he could not do it. after the site going down continuously, and they had these text messaging notes for people who are using twitter over text messaging, and the bills for hundreds of dollars a month, eventually after a series board andvents, the fire.illiams and had to -- fire jack. evan has the habit of hiring his friends. that happens a lot in the valley. he hired one of his close
to becomeick costelo, the chief operating officer. jack had been putting together a coup to have evan williams fired from the company. one of the people he brought into this accidentally was dick costello. he knew that his friend evan was going to be fired, but the board asked him to run the company. out, itan was pushed became the ceo. k became the ceo. but how long did you spend following around these characters? spent hundreds of hours tracking down people who knew them. i would to look for the cleaning lady for a while. i spent considerable amount of time with all of the founders.
up 65 hours just with the founders and board members alone. to thousandscess .f documents and e-mails that helped of the reporting. the thing that was fascinating for me as a reporter with the fact that the tweets that these people had found, all these founders, became one of the most important tools for my room orting. , jack, time with ev noah, but their memories have changed over time. thingsre instances where were drastically different. things that do not even make sense. biz believe that a discussion they had had had taken place at a whole foods. jack believed it had taken place
at a park. there were dozens of those moments. i was able to go through their tweets and their facebook updates and their instagram photos and pinpoint exactly where they were and what they were doing. what they were wearing and where they were at exact moment in time. it was unbelievably accurate. >> what is your plan for this book? >> i was looking for twitter -- i was looking at twitter and i realized it was a company that changed everything. facebook has not changed the way that we perform business, do media, share stories. twitter has changed all of those things. when i look at this story from a thought it was a company that would continue to do that. what i found in my reporting, my theory going into this was that this was created by one guy and
it was a company that had very little turmoil. but i found the story of these four guys who were incredibly close friends and who put together a company accidentally that was intended to connect friends and bring people together, but in the process, it tore their friendship apart. as you said earlier that this is not an uncommon story? >> it is not an uncommon story in the valley. founders are often pushed out over time. you have this story in the valley, every company has one of these tales. esau facebook. snap chat. it is the lease and -- latest darling messaging service. one of the founders sued the
cofounder because he said he was thrown aside and not given credit for his creation. you saw it with twitter. what happens a lot of the time is you have a group of friends who knew each other in a dorm room or meet each other for a beer after work. they would become very close friends. they had the same interest in tech knowledge ease, computers, things like that. they have connections that they would not find anywhere else. build something together. what happens in these instances is that he started of fails and it is a great story. successful, you get these people who are literally just voraciously wanting to take credit and be seen as the next steve jobs were the sole creator of a product. we see this time and time again.
>> you say in many respects it was the jobs that created jack dorsey. -- steve jobs that created jack dorsey. >> people in the media say that jack dorsey is the next the jobs. that's steve jobs. -- jack dorsey is the next steve jobs. he believed that he should not have been pushed out of twitter. he did dozens of interviews with cbs, magazines, vanity fair. he said that he was the sole creator of twitter and he completely dated everyone else from the creation of this story -- excluded everyone else from the creation of this story. he believed that he had been wrongly pushed out of the company. the -- wello call steve jobs -- quote steve jobs.
but he did not cite steve jobs. in the vanity fair interview, he said that when he was higher, it was like he had been punched in the tonic. -- stomach. he would talk about things using the exact same language that the jobswould use -- steve would use. people would say, is this the next steve jobs? i do not think it was right to do this, but in many respects, jobs who created this version of jack dorsey. they want to be seen as the next innovator. there is nothing wrong with wanting to do that. but they should want to do that in a way that is them being the
innovator, not being someone else. , of the new york times, no story would be complete without a chapter on mark zuckerberg. what role does he play? >> mark zuckerberg tried to buy the company twice. he was trying to buy the week that jack dorsey was fired. idea,as not against the he was somewhat for it. it would have made him some money. was against it because he had just taken over. they spoke out against that. mark tried to buy it again and there's this great scene at his house in palo alto. and jason goldman -- theyitter lawyer
went down to a hotel and there was a secret meeting. they had a discussion about mark zuckerberg eying the company, but they opted out. company,ed to buy the and he thought is a threat to facebook, and rightly so. with anlooked at it idea of perplexed chaos. he knew what was going on internally. he knew that fights for going down. he knew there was chaos. in one instance, at a private dinner party, mark said it was as if they drove a clown car into a goldmine. >> who else has tried to buy twitter? >> who has tried not to buy twitter is a better question? iddy, the- p. do
rapper, made a heartfelt hitch. he said he wanted to use the service. and he wanted some kind of conflict that compensation. the founders said no. instance involves ashton kutcher in la. they sat by the pool with demi moore in a bikini and a pitch them to sell a part of the company. my favorite story is al gore. he had done a little experiment with twitter during the 2000 election -- 2008 election. and biz toevan his place and san francisco. he whines and dine them and try to confine -- tried to convince
them to sell twitter. he wanted to merge twitter and current and create twitter tv. he got very drunk and there's one moment where al gore goes to the kitchen and comes out with a bottle of petrone. -- patron. biz politely decline. there are dozens of stories like this. >> where does twitter get its revenue? >> twitter makes money from advertising. they do sponsored advertising and sponsored twitter accounts. if i wanted to get more followers, i could pay to have my account highlighted two people. i could see if i could get more followers. i could target people that live in san francisco. i could tell that based on their tweets, or what it says in there profile.
another way to do it is to promote tweets. one of the things i have done, i wrote a tweet about my book. and then i putnk a photo of the book cover. i tweeted that. i can go in and take that tweet and promote it. i can say, people who search on twitter will see this tweet. twitter orwork on facebook will see this tweet. people will click on the link. >> will kind of revenues do they have? how many employees? >> they have just over 2000 employees. the revenue is around $640 million. next year is expected to go around $1 billion. they are not profitable yet. they had a moment last year were they skirted profitability. but then they decided to purchase a company. they could be profitable today if they wanted to leave.
they are getting money from the ipo. they are reinvesting it in the company to hire more employees. >> what is your personal opinion about the ipo? in the fact smart that they undervalued the company. facebook, everyone said it was worth 50 million -- $50 billion. as they decided to go out $100 billion. it will forever be known as one of the biggest ipos in the valley. twitter did the opposite. they went out at a much lower valuation. they were probably worth about 18-$20 billion. they went out at a $13 billion valuation. because they value themselves too low, the stock spiked in the beginning. 80% over the asking price on the first day. now it has been falling slightly sent.
-- since. it will find it sweet spot. , when willton twitter shared be available to the general public? >> there is a way to purchase them now. they have a lock up right now. you have employees that cannot sell their stock. they cannot sell it for a certain amount of time. ways to belenty more able to do it in the beginning of next year. effect bell the ipos on the management of twitter? >> as a user of twitter, i am concerned that the thing i do love about these are about it that it cares about the people who use it. this is a company that is trying to stand up to the government. they have tried not to have people shut down just because
others did not like what they were saying. you thought you back some of its users, to court. bat for somee to of its users, to court. it has protected people. when it becomes a public company, as it has, the interests are no longer just aligned with the users. they are aligned with the shareholders. i worry that they will make decisions that affect the product. they will probably do things that will not be in the best interests of the people who use the service. i hope they find that balance. >> finally, where is no class today? glass today?s noah if he is in san francisco. he left the city for a while i
moved to venice beach in los angeles. he tried to find a new project to work on. you will have three people to find out where he is and what he does. he is the character in the story who set out to find something and try to build something that would make him feel less alone. thatarned along the way technology is a thing that can connect you to people. >> it is published by penguin. the name of the book is hatching twitter: a true story of money, power, friendship, and betrayal ." nick bilton is the author. >> c-span, created by american cable companies in 19 evan a nine. -- 1979. >> millions of addictions came
down from the street. >> this defies any definition. >> after landing and driving irwards tyree or square -- tah square, they searched the car. they find my previous film. it is called "egypt we are watching you." that is not a good title for police to find in the car. i went to a place, i do not know the location. at the time, you do not know who was interrogating you. i realize that a certain point that this is the cd i have in the car and i have to get rid of it. i made my way to the car and excused myself to the bathroom. i tried to destroy the dvd by breaking it up our. i do not know if you have ever tried to bring a dvd, but it is a part.
i shut it down the drain and went back into the interrogation room. i felt confident that i had gotten rid of evidence that could possibly keep me there for a area long time. about five minutes later, the >> more with her, the director "the square." on sunday night at 8 p.m. ladies, featuring barbara bush. followed by a recent interview first lady. t onr tonight, evan faye liberals and the media. ♪