With an estimated 645 million – and growing – number of registered users, Twitter is disrupting how we communicate, learn and influence. In eight short years, Twitter has rapidly achieved a global reach and ability to influence far beyond what most of us would have imagined even several years ago let alone in the early days.
Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) is an insightful and educational look behind the scenes of the early days of Twitter. From Twitter’s birth as part of Odeo, a struggling podcasting company, to its ‘pivot’ into what became Twitter, the book provides a fascinating look into Twitter’s founders, their relationships and Twitter’s emergence into one of the hottest technology firms in the world.
Unlike some startup books which focus on the business aspects, Hatching Twitter provides a unique perspective on the founder’s personalities, relationships, organizational dynamics and the massive struggle of leading a company experiencing explosive growth. As with many low budget startups, the early days proved to be a significant challenge. The biggest challenges, however, came after the firm received venture funding and was undergoing leadership and executive changes.
From a product and technology perspective, site performance was one of Twitter’s early and most significant challenges. As often happens with firms that are forced to scale beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, performance and availability were a daunting undertaking. And that clearly was one of the very difficult challenges that the Twitter development and operations teams had to address. Hatching Twitter highlights these challenges and the steps the team took to overcoming them.
Twitter’s corporate communications strategy, who should be the public face of Twitter and what was the message the firm wanted to deliver was also a huge problem. The dynamics between the founders and the communications challenges that resulted are explored in detail. As Twitter exploding onto the scene virtually every media outlet worldwide wanted a piece of the Twitter story. This part of the book is an excellent look into the challenges that any communications professional would have managing what was clearly an immensely difficult situation.
As we all know, Twitter had a very successful IPO and the company is positioned to have a tremendous impact going forward. If you are involved in social media or just enjoy getting an inside view on the ‘hatching’ of what is positioned to be significant company, Hatching Twitter is a must read and I highly recommend it.