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Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal Hardcover – 5 Nov 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (5 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591846013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591846017
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.4 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,043,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Any book that starts with a description of a chief executive on his knees, throwing up into a bin after being betrayed by friends and investors is unlikely to be a traditional founder's tale.... This well-timed book successfully mines a story so rich it is destined to be told and retold. (Financial Times)

This exceptionally well-told story captures the Sillicon valley start-up culture in all its pioneering, hubristic glory. (Irish Times)

A tale of Machiavellian plots and coups d'etat, it's just all so gripping. I'm supposed to read all our research for our guests tomorrow but I've got terrible feeling I'm going to finish at 9:30 and just read that. (Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2)

Backstabbing, power struggles and profanity laid bare . . . It is breathless storytelling (The Times)

A made-for-the-movies account. (Economist, Books of the Year) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

For fans of juicy business bestsellers TOO BIG TO FAIL, THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES and BARBARIANS AT THE GATE: the first insider's account of Twitter. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great read, I was hooked from the first chapter all the way to the end. Lots of twists and detail behind the founders.
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I read the book in one sitting. So easy to read but also so informative. A great background to the Twitter story and lots of material for the Twitter Case Study as part of our Dimensions of Strategy series. The board room dramas, so fascinating. Perhaps the book should be called "Hatcheting at Twitter". A must read for start ups in social media, perhaps. John Ashcroft.
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This is a great book for people who love Twitter and the people behind its creation.
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Really interesting ... None of the co-founders come across as particularly likeable in the end!
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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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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.
Read more ›
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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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