Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The guys behind the guy behind Twitter

twitter1.jpg

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone talks us through the men – and fictional coyotes – that inspired him

Steven Spielberg

“One of the first ideas we had with Twitter was the 140-character limit. Because constraint inspires creativity; if you constrain people, give them limited resources, they get creative. Take Steven Spielberg – he originally wanted this giant mechanical shark for Jaws, but they didn’t have the budget. So he said, ‘What can I do instead? I’ll shoot from the shark’s point of view.’ And that became this wonderful, simple, iconic solution that was way scarier than even the most realistic-looking fake shark could have been.”

Simon Quellen Field

“This is a guy I worked with at Google, before we set up Twitter. Google was full of these incredibly intelligent, computer science PhD-level types, and they didn’t care what other people thought of them. Simon used to walk around with a fully-trained live parrot on his shoulder. At work, just sitting there with a parrot perched on him. There was another guy who’d juggle at lunch. They say genius comes with a little madness…”

Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams

“One thing I learned from Jack and Evan [Twitter co-founders] early on was that they didn’t communicate enough as CEOs. So, as CEO of [Biz’s new company] Jelly, I over-communicate. I write a weekly email to all employees, investors, advisers, updating them on what we did wrong that week, what we did right, and also ‘so-and-so got engaged’. When you don’t hear from the CEO, you get scared and this fear leads to the assumption that the company is not doing well.”

Wile E Coyote

“My first blog was called Genius Biz, after a rare Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs meets Wile E Coyote. He says, ‘Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Wile E Coyote – genius’, and his business card says ‘Genius’. I thought that was funny. I never went as far getting a ‘Biz Stone – Genius’ card, but I did get ‘Biz Stone – Professional’.

I used to say I could do anything in order to get work. Someone would ask, ‘Do you build websites?’ and I’d say, ‘Of course – I charge a lot, though.’ Then I’d go home and figure out how to build a website.”

Mark Zuckerberg

“If I learned anything from my brief encounter with Mark [when Zuckerberg tried to buy Twitter for $500m in 2008], it’s that focus is a powerful tool. He’s totally focused on making Facebook the best company in the world, and he didn’t have time for my jokes [laughs]. He didn’t have the space in his brain for them. I was making lots of jokes, and they were all dying. Tough crowd.”

Things A Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone is out now (Pan Macmillan)

(Images: Biz Stone, copyright Esten Hurtle (@esten) for Twitter, Inc.; PA; Rex)

Related

Home-button.jpg

Essential apps

breezescreen.jpg

The Fitness App For Walkers

become-successful.jpg

2014 is the year you become rich and successful

businesscard.jpg

Tetris-playing business card

gotr.png

A game of social media

social.jpg

10 Social media men not to be

Comments

More

Star Trek fans have a new reason to buy an Amazon Echo

They've done what you all wanted

24 Jan 2017

Super Mario in Grand Theft Auto is weird and awesome

Who would've thought Mario would get into a knife fight in a park?

by Jamie Carson
18 Jan 2017

The only Vines worth preserving

The most important cultural artefacts of our time

by Tristan Cross
17 Jan 2017

Hurrah: The Nintendo Switch now has a price and release date

Here's everything you need to know about the new console

by Tom Fordy
13 Jan 2017

The best underwater photographs of 2016 are staggeringly beautiful

Aquatic snaps that made a splash

by Dave Fawbert
12 Jan 2017

Using Google Maps actually does ruin your sense of direction

"Make a U-turn where possible"

by Dave Fawbert
11 Jan 2017

Netflix releases 8-bit game featuring Narcos and Stranger Things

Goodbye, productivity.

by Emily Badiozzaman
10 Jan 2017

The original Game Boy is coming back

Time to dust off your Pokemon Red & Blue cartridges

by Jamie Carson
10 Jan 2017

Watch Steve Jobs launch first iPhone 10 years ago

Today marks 10 years since Steve Jobs presented the world with this iconic product, but it could have been so different

09 Jan 2017

The best gadgets to launch at the biggest tech conference in the world

Christmas 2017 can't come early enough

by Joe Ellison
05 Jan 2017