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Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  4,630 ratings  ·  552 reviews
Twitter seems like a perfect start-up success story. In barely six years, a small group of young, ambitious programmers in Silicon Valley built an $11.5 billion business out of the ashes of a failed podcasting company. Today Twitter boasts more than 200 million active users and has affected business, politics, media, and other fields in innumerable ways.

Now Nick Bilton of
...more
Hardcover, 299 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Portfolio Hardcover (first published 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Eklein
This book, in less than 140 characters: Nick Bilton really, really hates Jack Dorsey.

Hatching Twitter ultimately has a lopping, meta-quality to it: It's about the fight between the four founders for control of both the company and the origin story. But it is, itself, part of the fight between the four founders for control of both the company and the origin story. This is a fight that Biz, Noah, and Ev win even as it's a fight that they've more or less lost in real life.

But their victory in the
...more
Andy
A stunning modern day story of a company trying to find it's identity in a medium, social media, that barely knows what it is. Zuckerberg may have been an a-hole, but at least he isn't Jack Dorsey.
Marilee Turscak
A thrilling and vivid narration of the formation of Twitter. It contains fascinating stories of the drama surrounding the history of founders Jack, Evan, Biz, and Noah. The journalism is incredibly detailed and thorough, and the story is a consistent page-turner. Author Nick Bilton compiles hundreds of interviews with Twitter employees and documents secrets never before revealed. It is much more interesting than the history of Facebook, and also far more controversial. A group of young, brillian ...more
Jonathan Kroopf
This book is written like a bad valleywag or pando blog post. I knew very little going in and did learn a lot . Had no idea Dorsey was pushed out of the company and was at odds with the former founders. I had also never heard of Noah Glass, who was written out the
company's history despite being on the founding team and coining the name Twitter.

My problem was not with the facts, but how they were presented. The author pits Dorsey vs Williams and makes no attempt to hide that he is so clearly in f
...more
Nathan
It's bizarre to read a True Life Story about people you know. Writing any kind of history is a fraught project, because the nature of the beast is that the people who talk to the author are the ones who get their side of the story preserved. It's clear from reading it who had Bilton's ear, and who didn't. Bill Campbell, advisor to the CEO, in particular comes across as a very loose unit, a testosterone-crazed shoot-first wingnut.

That aside, taking the version of history presented at face value,
...more
Troy Blackford
A fascinating and in-depth account of Twitter's creation and rise, from the conditions that led to its founders meeting to the shady and shabby way that the current power structure shook out.

This is a seriously intense story! As people involved in the creation of the site have pointed out, it's a shame that it didn't delve more into the technical aspects of the site's creation more, as that would have been interesting to hear about. But the personal intrigues and difficulties are more than worth
...more
Thor
Having observed this true story from close quarters I can say that Bilton captures the essence of it, at least from a human interest standpoint. One could quibble over details that don't really matter, but he distills something essential of the startup experience--that it's ultimately about human relationships and trust, and that these are hard won but easily lost.
Kelly
Pretty fascinating to read about the serendipitous nature of how the founders of Twitter got together...and how they came up with the idea and even the name. For example, Evan Williams was in a magazine photo (before Twitter was even a thought in his head) and his neighbor (Noah Glass) saw the picture, recognized the kitchen Evan was in, turned toward his window and realized the picture was taken in the apartment he was seeing from his window. He introduced himself to Ev...and the rest is histor ...more
Benjamin
Not only was Hatching Twitter informative about the history of Twitter, but after reading it I notice that Bilton was definitely much less biased towards one side (or any of the three other sides) when reporting on the events that transpired in Twitter's extremely volatile history. In Hatching Twitter Bilton does not shine an extremely positive, they-can-do-no-wrong light on all of the original cofounders of Twitter, which is the opposite of the prevalent theme in Kirkpatrick's descriptions of Z ...more
Rick
Nov 11, 2013 Rick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Simon
Bilton's book rivals The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon in its scope and unflinching honesty. Through copious research and interviews, Bilton weaves together the heretofore untold story of one of the most influential companies of our times.

In a word, Twitter was a complete mess--both in terms of technology, strategy, and management. It's amazing that the company is purported to be worth nearly $10B.

I like that fact that Bilton pulls no punches, calling out self-anointed Steve
...more
Sasha
I guess I am in the minority with only four stars, but he lost a star for his writing style. I thought it was choppy, with more grammatical/typographical errors than I would have expected, and it was poorly divided up. For example, after a chapter/section heading of "#Jack" it would start with a story about Jack and then flip backwards to stories about Biz, or Bijan, or Ev. Which is fine it just didn't flow. It is clear that he is a journalist, and not a novelist.

That being said, he put togethe
...more
Yoly
With more drama than a Mexican telenovela, this book tells the story of twitter.
This book gives you the background of each of the founders and how they came together to create what we today call twitter. I was a big fan of Jack Dorsey but sadly this book took that away :)

At first I was a little put off with the author's style. To me it seemed a bit pretentious because he started on an overly dramatic tone and you would think the author thought he was writing a novel. After I got further into the
...more
Patrick
Compelling narrative peels back layers of hype about Twitter. It is a rather sad story in many ways that might change your opinion about some people involved in the company. The book is particularly entertaining if you were using Twitter since the Fail Whale days. Good job by @NickBilton mining the social media record from a time when people were not as aware they were writing their own histories 140 characters at a time.
Brian
It was a fast-paced read, and quite interesting for someone who remembers all of the growing pains. Had the company been managed more pragmatically, would we have been so familiar with the fail whale? The best sections were the early ones, while the last section seemed to just be an excuse to tell the Snoop anecdote. It's a good story, but that section covers years in a matter of pages. Biz is really the only one who comes out not looking like an asshole in the end. Bilton adds unnecessary color ...more
Peter
Like Niels said earlier, this is the story of the four founders of Twitter, more so than a story of Twitter itself. So, for instance: nothing on how the concept of retweeting came to be and very little about how the 'mentions' made it way into the service, or the design choices for the sites and apps they were making.

This is about the four guys who, essentially, did a game of musical chairs. At stake were the highest positions at the company and the right to call oneself 'inventor' of this vastl
...more
Risto
Hatching Twitter is a great story and Nick have brought it to the masses almost perfectly.
Why read fiction if non-fiction can be this entertaining?
Scott Holstad
I've never read about such a group of immature, whiny, backstabbing losers in my life! To think that some reviewers consider them brilliant is really pretty funny. They were mediocre thinkers with mediocre talent who couldn't cut it in real places, like Xerox PARC or Google, so they wind up at a start up, broke and desperate. The one who has had success, Ev, is good for the seed money. He at least founded Blogger, so he actually had done something, which was sold to Google for millions, making h ...more
ddri
Also known as "how to write a fast, engaging and sufficiently researched business narrative".

Bilton suffers the same critics as adventure journalist Jon Krakauer, with complaints of flavouring a story or overlooking deeper themes for the sake of readability. What's masterful about their writing is to build a consistent narrative in the first place, performing the magic trick of condensing fearsome amounts of research and interviews into a series of pages that a reader wants to turn. Hatching Tw
...more
Alessandra
Twitter ha cambiato il modo di diffondere e comunicare le notizie. E’ di certo un social network rivoluzionario, ma anche un’azienda che è passata da essere un progetto secondario di una start up fallita a un colosso da miliardi di dollari.

Va da sé che qualche coltellata alle spalle possa essere volata tra i 4 fondatori.

E di quest’ ascesa stellare ci racconta Nick Bilton, che è un giornalista del NY Times e si vede (o meglio, si legge): unisce un’ottima capacità descrittiva ed esplicativa e una
...more
Jason Kirk
Amazon Best of the Month Review: Spoiler alert: The subtitle sorta says it all. That is, Nick Bilton's Hatching Twitter delivers "A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal," though not necessarily in that order. The book's four central players--Ev, Jack, Biz, and Noah--conceived of Twitter while working on Odeo, an ultimately doomed attempt to revolutionize podcasting. As their little chick grew, the four men's personal and ideological differences led to a power struggle that even ...more
Karly
I am a huge admirer of the written word I all formats, but to me the hardest to write has to be the non-fiction novel. But Bilton completely nailed it with Hatching Twitter. I haven't read a non-Fiicton novel that I liked this much since Capote's In Cold Blood. From the opening scene with Ev throwing up in a trash can as he is about to be forced out as Twitter CEO, I was hooked. The novel then goes back in time slowly building to the opening scene, and even though I knew what was gown to happen, ...more
Kressel Housman
About fifteen years ago during the dot com boom, my friend’s husband, a computer programmer whose office had been bought by some corporation or other, said that people can be divided into two categories: techs and corps. More than just computer progammers, techs are creative people who figure out innovative uses for the tools at hand. Corps, on the other hand, are people with tunnel vision who subsume all creativity under that vision. Now, I don’t entirely agree – there must be some tech-iness t ...more
Cesar
Muy bueno. Un historia interesante. El mito de la creación. Cuenta la parte dura de hacer empresa. Lo que vale la lealtad en las crisis. Recomendado.
Wai Lam
A fascinating insider look at the formation of twitter. I do wonder how much of the personal incentives drama is dramatized vs. realistically depicted, however either way, it's interesting to see how people change and their true core values become more evident over time. In one way, it's wonderful to see that there are people in the Valley with a moralistic approach to business building as oppose to a purely opportunistic one. Definitely love Twitter for how it democratized "voice", thereby powe ...more
Tom
Great read. Fascinating story about power, politics, business and technology
Sarah
the VC stories are fun
Ryan
Deserves 4.5 stars. Satisfying, fast read. Occasional annoying language and metaphors from Bilton are more than made up for with sheer amount of research and depth of character development. Great suspense.

It was a fun and somewhat surreal experience to read an account of a 10 year period for which I was present and only one or two degrees removed from. I remember so many of the events, tweets, blog posts etc mentioned in this book; fascinating to see them now from the inside.

TL;DR: @jack is appa
...more
Meagan

Jack Dorsey, as played by Peter Vack.

This is a book in search of a screenplay, and thus, needs more of a villain. It finds that in Jack Dorsey. He is the Diva Developer. You know how you know a Diva Developer? They throw their weight around, in order to get what they want. When they don't like somebody, they get them out. I have tried in the past to avoid this myself, but apparently you can't always control how you project your feelings for someone. I made a pact I'd not become the diva.

Well, D
...more
陈滢桐
Like many modern books, the language of this book is quite comprehensible and precise. The deepest feeling I felt when I read this book is the biaseness of the author. I do not think the book is written in an objective way. It is quite subjective. From the language used, the description of each character, it is clearly that the author does not like Jack but favours Ev and Noah. He thinks Jack did not do much but brags a lot. Ev was a good, caring and responsible leader and friends, though he is ...more
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A preview in Times Magazine 3 25 Dec 19, 2013 06:29AM  
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Nick Bilton is a columnist and reporter for The New York Times, covering technology, business, privacy, design and culture. He is the author the critically acclaimed book "Hatching Twitter," and currently lives in San Francisco with his dog, Pixel.
More about Nick Bilton...
I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted Hatching Twitter Inventare Twitter: Una storia di potere, denaro, amicizia e tradimento

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