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28
4.5 out of 5 stars
Hatching Twitter
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 2 January 2014
Hatching Twitter is a great read, telling the story of how Twitter rose, somewhat haphazardly from Blogger and then Odeo. The story focuses on the backgrounds, personalities and infighting between the four co-founders (Noah Glass, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams) and it's a fascinating read. You're left wondering how the company was ever successful given the dysfunction throughout its history. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I would have two complaints. Firstly, this book takes the Evan Williams side throughout and he was clearly one of the more active participants (though all four co-founders were interviewed). Jack Dorsey in particular gets a very rough treatment being characterised as incompetent, narrow-minded, scheming and Machiavellian at various points. Maybe this is correct, but I couldn't help feel that the book lacked balance. Secondly, the book focuses almost solely on the people, not the product. It would have been fascinating to see how the product developed, how features were decided and added, and how the service we know today took shape. But this is sadly glossed over at best.

In summary, a great read, had me gripped, but has left me wanting to get another perspective and learn more about the company.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2013
Having been a user of Twitter since 2008, I was interested to read the background to the company and understand how someone was able to create such a disruptive technology out of a seemingly simple idea.

The book tells the surprisingly tumultuous story about the inception of Twitter and the internal power struggles between the various invent... err, co-founders of the company. It takes the reader through the key characters of the company in its humble beginnings and attempts to give insight into the minds of Ev, Jack, Biz, Noah and everyone else as they adapt to the increasing maturity of the Twitter.

The Good:
- It's a great story about egos, emotions, and the birth of a disruptive technology out of a side project. It genuinely inspires budding technology entrepreneurs who think they need the killer idea up front. My favourite quote of the book is the sign hanging in their office saying "Let's make better mistakes tomorrow".
- Cameos from Mark Zuckerberg, President Medvedev and Snoop Dogg are very entertaining and give an insight into the rollercoaster early days of the company
- Nick Bilton seems to have been given great access to current and former Twitter employees, founders, board of directors etc. to be able to give such an in-depth account of movements in an organisation.

The Other:
- It's entirely a matter of personal taste, but I personally found the language to, at times, start sounding like fiction which threw me off a couple of times. The scene is set with such description that I wonder whether this is artistic license or a description given by an interviewee.

Example "It was dark outside as the rain pelted Dick Costolo's car relentlessly. He gripped the steering wheel with both hands trying to concentrate on the dark road. He was exhausted after the long flight from Indianapolis, where he had been speaking at a conference about Twitter. A few more miles, he thought, and I'll be home, out of these wet clothes"

Personally, I like non-fiction books that are detailed, but very matter-of-fact. This book has a different perspective which some people may find enjoyable.

Overall - Very enjoyable book, which I am pleased is being turned into a movie so people who may not be reading it, can still enjoy the story of Twitter.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2013
I discovered Twitter a couple of years ago and just assumed it magically appeared online in its slick world changing format. This fascinating read documents the technological and emotional roller coaster from its accidental conception to the revolutionary social network it is today.
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on 10 April 2014
I read this book as a non-twitter user, an older person who frankly is not that interested in Social Media. I knew about Twitter but never really understood what it was, how it worked and why it seemed to be so addictive to so many people.

What made celebrities for example want to spend their time tweeting what they were doing to millions of fans so that they were constantly " on call" to them. So I hoped this book would give me an insight into what this phenomenon was all about. And to a degree it did. It explained how a group of geeks got together to think up this idea. It explained how the idea caught on and how the idea developed into a world wide sensation

It explained what it was about Twitter that made it such a valuable source of information as people used it to report on what they saw around them. The power of a crowd of people to Tweet at public events and let them be understood and exposed to a world wide audience. It also gave the reader an understanding of the social side of Tweeting and the way it could allow people to share their likes and dislikes

Finally it gave what to me was a completely unknown story about the board room shenanigans that engulfed Twitter and the bitter disputes between those who were its founders. We all know about Mark Zuckerberg and the disputes he had both with his original partner and the Winklevoss twins but that was a tea party compared to the divisions that engulfed Twitter and possibly still cause problems today according to this book.

If I had a complaint it was that it did not really explain the technology behind Twitter. I would have liked to have understood how it actually works and what level of infrastructure is needed to allow it to operate.

But that is a small quibble against what was an interesting read on one of the key developments since 2000 that are transforming the landscape in which we all operate on a word wide basis
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2013
I can't comment on the accuracy of the content and this version of events of the forming of Twitter and at times the writing is a little on the unnecessarily flowery side (reminded me of reading a story written by a college student). However, this was a really good read and I enjoyed it a lot. One of the better (in terms of entertainment at least) bios of a tech company.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2013
Amazing Twitter is only 6 years old. Fascinating book.
Not sure how much it comes across as talent or luck that brought such huge success. I guess both. Right time and place is the key to success. But a lot of the time it reads as though they didn't know what they were doing...!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2013
There's a fantastic amount of detail and depth in this story of the birth of Twitter, however the character assassination of Jack Dorsey along with the casting of the money men of the tech world (ie. the ones who make it possible) reduces the credibility of the book as a whole.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2014
pleasantly narrative, states the facts in a gripping and non-sensationalist manner. it does cast heroes and villains, though, and one wonders how heroic or villainous these characters really were.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2014
Worth a read! Interesting how much back stabbing was involved to get Twitter where it is today. Although very hollywoodised, the story is still a great one that should be told :)
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2014
This book tells the story of Twitter from inception through to recent time and it's a gripping read. To steal the byline from the cover, it is a story of "money, power, friendship and betrayal" that reads like a fictional tale if we didn't know that Twitter was real.

Having read this and The Facebook Effect, I think this book is worthy of being made into a movie and is even more fascinating than the Facebook history. A 'story' of how a bad idea grew into a new, slightly crazy idea as a desperate measure to keep going.
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