Twitter’s history, if you close your eyes, sounds a lot like Facebook’s—at least as it was portrayed in the 2009 book by Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires. There’s backstabbing, ousted executives, unimaginable riches and an empire that, when summarized, spotlights a single man, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who currently acts as the social network’s Chairman. And according to fresh new secrets, Twitter was nearly acquired by Facebook back in 2009; the parallels here are uncanny.
Even more revealing is that other high profile names—Steve Ballmer and Al Gore, among others—tried to purchase Twitter back when Ev Williams was CEO; as Facebook was trying to work out a deal, Mark Zuckerberg even attempted to hire Jack Dorsey, who left Twitter and then was eventually hired back on, but was unsuccessful. The information is revealed in a fascinating new book on the history of Twitter, written by Nick Bilton, some of which is excerpted on the New York Times website.
According to one employee, who spoke with Bilton, the greatest product produced by Jack Dorsey—he’s credited as coming up with the idea for Twitter—isn’t the incredibly popular social network, but Jack Dorsey himself. In the excerpt, Bilton reveals a hugely bitter struggle over control of Twitter, and the big names that have cycled through during the company’s history. There’s even a fellow, Noah Glass—another of Twitter’s co-founders—that’s essentially being left with nothing, even with Twitter’s upcoming IPO.
For a more revealing look at Twitter’s history, check out the excerpt of Bilton’s book, Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal, which is coming out next month through Penguin/Portfolio.