Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Noah Glass' Insider View to Twitter's Messy Start

Business Insider's An Interview with Twitter's Forgotten Founder, Noah Glass is a great view into the complexities of starting a company and maintaining relationships. Mostly, that it gets messy and that some people are going to get hurt.

Noah Glass comes across as being pretty sincere about the complexities. He was a part of the genesis of Twitter, then got pushed out. He felt betrayed, but seems to have largely come to terms with it:
To not be included in the story was hard to swallow at first, but when I realized what was happening to the product, this thing I helped create, the thing's not about me. The thing's about itself. Twitter is a phenomenon and a massively beneficial tool and it's incredibly useful and it helps a lot of people. I realized the story's not about me. That's okay.
You definitely get the strong (and probably accurate) sense that it's very messy. There's lots of people, lots of relationships, money involved, and it's very likely that someone's going to end up hurt.

It's hard to know what each party was thinking, whether Ev was trying to downplay Twitter's value to the Odeo investors, whether the Odeo investors were making thoughtful decisions to salvage their investment as best they could and were just proven wrong by history. Noah argues the "we'll never really know" angle well:
Without getting inside of his head, you'll never know. There's a lot of different ways of looking at it too. He was a nice guy. Was he doing anyone a favor? Was he really doing favors? Hard to say. Was it a calculated move? Definitely. Was there lots of thought put into it? Definitely. He definitely made a lot of money.
There's some interesting bits about some of the people involved. I don't get the sense that Noah and Ev really see eye-to-eye, although there's some respect there. There's an interesting comment about how Google's purchase of Blogger made some enemies for Ev.

I couldn't get a read on whether or not Business Insider was trying to stir up controversy or simply report all sides of the story. Sometimes it felt like the former, but the article felt pretty balanced.

What really made the story interesting for me was the progression for Noah:
I did feel betrayed. I felt betrayed by my friends, by my company, by these people around me I trusted and that I had worked hard to create something with.
Afterwards, I was a little shellshocked. I was like, "Wait...what's the value in building these relationships if this is the result?"
So I spent a lot of time by myself. And working on things alone.
I worked on a game for a while. It didn't really come out the way I wanted it to.
I moved to Los Angeles to work on something totally different. It was an alternative energy system that I had in mind. I built a prototype for that. It just didn't function the way I thought it was going to function.
I've been working on projects that could be something big if they get fleshed out.
Moving back to San Francisco is sort of a step in being involved in collaboration again.
UPDATE: I felt like the point I was trying to make was getting lost in a meandering post, so I tightened it up a little.

No comments:

Post a Comment