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

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  14,369 ratings  ·  990 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
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Hardcover, 299 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Portfolio Hardcover
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Eklein
Nov 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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Dino-Jess ✮ The Book Eating Dinosaur ✮
I FUCKING LOVE THIS BOOK

WITH ALL MY HEART

ITS EVERYTHING I HOPED FOR AND MORE!


This book made my heart hurt, a lot. I know they say never do business with friends and all that, but the ruthlessness with which the start up businesses in Silicon Valley treat their founders and engineers was positively shocking.

There are so many truth bombs in here - the social commentary on today's trends that were shaped BECAUSE OF the creation of Twitter and other new and emerging technologies was absolutely
...more
Andy
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Bren
“In the past, history was always written by the victors. But in the age of Twitter, history is written by everyone.”
― Nick Bilton, Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal



Why is it that when smart executives get together and build something that turns into a billion dollar idea, inevitably lawsuites, arguments and bitter divides follow? We saw it with Facebook and apparently the inventors of Twitter are no different.

Not being a twitter member myself, I still had
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Nathan
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: popcomp, business
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
Jonathan Kroopf
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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Marilee Turscak
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Thor
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Troy Blackford
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Kelly
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 ...more
Benjamin
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jean
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the story of the founders of Twitter. I have heard about Twitter but have never used it or been on its site so all this information is new to me. I knew nothing about Twitter until reading this book. I did not even know it was a local San Francisco company.

Bilton tells the story of Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass and Christopher Stone the four founders of the company. The four men were working at a startup company called Odeo. Apparently at a brain storming session, they decided
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Rick
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Simon
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
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
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Sasha
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Nikolay
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If anybody wrote fiction startup drama novels, they would surely be less dramatic than Twitter’s early history.

Morals for me:
* avoid working with your best friends
* egos and power are more important than money – you can repay money, but revenge leads to more aggression
* when stakes are high it’s “hunt or be hunted” situation
* you can change the world
* avoid drama.
Abbey
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I know this is a true story but I was still so disappointed by the ending! Hah. Such a great read- I flew through it. So interesting to hear the background of Twitter from all the different sides of the story.
Dmytro Shteflyuk
Have you ever wondered what would "Game of Thrones" look like in the modern world? This is the scariest book I have ever read, full dreadfully cruel office politics, mistakes, but also inspiration, leadership, and business lessons. The world will never be the same for me.

Would I recommend this book to anyone close to the startups world? Hell yes, this should be your next book. Are you wondering what startup world looks like? Read the book. Interested in the story of how Twitter was born, and how
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Yoly
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Patrick
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nisha D
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was such an interesting read! I'm not a twitter user and haven't cared enough about the company to follow it's growth over the years, so all of this information was new to me. I am a fan of Nick Bilton, I read American Kingpin last year and thought it was amazing. Hatching Twitter is just as well written and researched, I highly recommend it to tech lovers and non-fiction aficionados.
Karen
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Reads like a high-tech soap opera but interesting nonetheless. What sticks for me is not the story of the company but the tale of how people who claim to be friends can be such schmucks to each other.
Scott Holstad
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology, business
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 ...more
Casey
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't really use Twitter. This isn't out of ignorance or confusion: I've been pretty well informed about Twitter since the beginning, given the amount of press it got in places like Lifehacker, and I've definitely signed up for the service more than twice. The issue for me has always been that it's fundamental purpose has never seemed clearly defined: is it for personal status updates to let friends and family know what you're doing? Should you use it as a promotional tool to direct people ...more
Kressel Housman
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
ddri
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Don
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow - this is an unfortunate book stretched out to 300 pages of mostly nonsense. This is the type of story that should have been told in a 3-5 page magazine expose and not expanded for every minute detail of the Twitter founder's lives (Bilton stretches the writing out with tons of pseudo dialog and repetition). Additionally, this is simply a horrible tale of those in pursuit of startup wealth and fame vs. really adding value to the world.

In a nutshell the story is - A creates a product, meets
...more
Brian
Nov 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Samarth
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Let's make better mistakes tomorrow

Deeply engaging and hard to put down. I have read this book in one sitting. It's very fascinating to see a bunch of dropouts from mid tier college come together to push forward the idea of open world communication and it's quite interesting to see how twitter played a important role in Iran revolution and also at the same time snoop coming to Twitter HQ to smoke up weed. Highly recommend book for people who like how startup from 7 members turn into a company
...more
Lukasz Nalepa
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-work
This is the story of Twitter. It is indeed full of twists, betrayals, struggles for power and.... nothing else. If you dear reader are looking for any specs of knowledge you will not find here any. Well, except "don't hire your friends" maybe. I was hoping for a lot more, for any business value at all, but instead I got only storytelling.
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A preview in Times Magazine 4 31 Jul 17, 2018 03:08AM  
TwitBookClub: June 2016 - 'Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money....' by Nick Bilton 1 3 Jun 18, 2016 10:44AM  

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Nick Bilton is a Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair, where he writes about technology, politics, business and culture. He is also a contributor to CNBC, and a former columnist and reporter for The New York Times.

He has written three books, including The New York Times bestseller, “Hatching Twitter,” which chronicled the turmoil and chaos inside Twitter as it grew from a fledgling startup to a
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“The press pass and the a title of “journalist” had been replaced by a smart phone and a Twitter account.” 5 likes
“Some people are destined for greatness; others fall up a hill to get there.” 5 likes
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