12 tweetable revelations from the new book about Twitter


After being ousted as CEO, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey considered taking a job at Facebook.

That’s one of several tweetable revelations from New York Times columnist Nick Bilton’s upcoming book, “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal,” which recounts the startup’s sometimes contentious and surprisingly turbulent beginnings.

Some of the others were culled from a lengthy book excerpt slated to be published in Sunday’s New York Times magazine:

• Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and former Vice President Al Gore all tried to buy Twitter.

• Gore’s bid to buy the company came “one night over copious amounts of wine and Patron tequila at his St. Regis suite in San Francisco.”

• Among the early names considered for the microblogging service before it settled on Twitter: Friendstalker, Vibrate, Twitch.

• Dorsey initially decided to limit tweets to 160 characters, or the maximum length of a text message on a mobile phone. It was later lowered to 140.

• In 2005, Dorsey was a 29-year-old New York University dropout “who sometimes wore a T-shirt with his phone number.” He was living in a tiny San Francisco apartment and had recently been turned down for a job at Camper, the shoe store.

• Shortly before Twitter launched in 2006, Dorsey threatened to ditch Silicon Valley altogether. “I’m going to quit tech and become a fashion designer,” he reportedly said.

• Employees complained that Dorsey “habitually left around 6 p.m. for drawing classes, hot yoga sessions and a course at a local fashion school.”

• His interest in fashion led to clashes with other Twitter employees. “You can either be a dressmaker or the CEO of Twitter,” co-founder Evan Williams once said to Dorsey. “But you can’t be both.”

• Dorsey’s ouster as Twitter CEO was rather unceremonious. At a breakfast, he “sat before a bowl of uneaten yogurt and granola as he was offered stock, a $200,000 severance and a face-saving role as the company’s ‘silent’ chairman.”

• Not much love in the book for Dorsey, who Bilton claims has spent years trying to rewrite history. As one former Twitter employee told Bilton: “The greatest product Jack Dorsey ever made was Jack Dorsey.”

• Don’t feel too bad for him, though. Twitter is valued at more than $16 billion, and Dorsey stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars in the company’s upcoming IPO.

Bilton’s book is due to hit bookshelves on Nov. 5.


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