Evan Williams – The Mind Behind Twitter and Blogger

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Cofounder of Medium and Twitter Evan Williams speaks at the WIRED Business Conference: Think Bigger at Museum of Jewish Heritage on May 7, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for WIRED)

One of those rare but famous, ‘College dropout making it big’ Story. Meet the co-founder of Twitter and the founder of Blogger – Evan Williams.

Moving on with the series, ‘Tech Entrepreunal Genius’, this guy is credited for turning small businesses into big ones. Be it Pyra Labs, Odeo (Which became the famous social networking powerhouse ‘Twitter’), and Blogger.

Early Life

Born on 31st March 1972 in Nebraska, United States, Williams spent most of his childhood in his hometown and working in the farms. He attended The University of Nebraska for one and a half year and then dropped out to pursue his career.

Career

After leaving college, Evan Williams worked in various technology jobs before joining a publishing company, ‘O’Reilly Media’, where he started in a marketing position.

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Later, he became an independent computer coder. While working here, he launched a website called EvHead.com, where he used to blog his personal thoughts. He then worked for some tech giants including Intel and Hewlett-Packard.

“The things that keep nagging at you are the ones worth exploring.”

– Evan Williams

Pyra Labs

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Evan Williams along with Meg Hourihan launched Pyra Labs to make project management software. This is the company that created in 1999 what is today famously known as the Blogger. Williams is credited for the ‘Blogging’.

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Blogger was soon accepted and used by a lot of people. It’s massive popularity eventually captured many big companies’ attention. The race was ultimately won by the almighty Google. They bought the Blogger in 2003.

Twitter

After selling Blogger, Evan started working on Odeo, a podcast company which he co-founded in 2004. 2 years later, he along with Biz Stone, co-founded ‘Obvious Corporation’.

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Twitter – a free social networking and micro-blogging service was one of the projects of the Obvious Corporation. Williams was one of the co-founders and investors, besides being a board member.

He became the CEO of Twitter in October 2008. His time as the head saw a massive boost in Twitter’s popularity and success.

  • Compete.com ranked Twitter the third most-used social network in 2009.
  • Twitter was getting 6 million unique monthly visitors and 55 million monthly visits.
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According to Evan Williams,

“Twitter isn’t a social network, it’s an information network.”

He stepped down from the position of CEO in 2010. He reasoned he wanted to “completely focused on product strategy”.

Medium

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Williams founded Medium – a publishing platform in 2012. Initially, it was accessible to only a few people, but was made public in 2013.

The Medium CEO believes in quality over quantity, hence his philosophy is,

 It is important to conserve time, do fewer things, and to avoid distractions.

The formula of Evan Williams for Entrepreneurial Success:

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“Work with Amazing People – Don’t compromise on who you choose to found your company with and hire. Do not put up with ego-centric personalities or downer attitudes.

Take on Big Challenges – It’s pretty simple: Hard things are valuable; easy things are not so valuable. Reaching the mountaintop is rewarding because it is hard. If it was easy, everybody would do it.

Focus – Say no to most things. Features. People. Partnerships. Coffees. Projects. Only a few of them really matter. (Yes, it’s hard to know which.) Don’t get distracted.

 Take Care of Yourself – When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers.

 Love those Close to You – Failure of your company is not a failure in life. Failure in your relationships is.”

Source: Techstory

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