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Corner Office from Marketplace

Twitter book reveals drunken, lonely creation story

Kai Ryssdal Nov 5, 2013
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The Twitter IPO is set for Thursday, and the company’s apparently pretty confident things are gonna go well. 

Today it bumped up the top end of its proposed opening stock price.

It’s now shooting for $25 a share.

That’d value Twitter at about $13.5 billion.

Not bad for a company that not so long ago wasn’t much more than a very disorganized start up.

New York Times columnist and technology reporter Nick Bilton has written the first real history of the early days at Twitter, in a book called “Hatching Twitter.”

He says his story debunks the “creation myth” that was spun by the Twitter PR machine.

“There’s this thing in Silicon Valley where we have these creation myth stories that are created by the founders. They are usually something along the lines of ‘this thing came to me on the back of a napkin and then became this multi-million dollar company and there’s no turmoil or stress along the way. But the reality is it’s quite the opposite of that. And there’s no better place of that than the Twitter story.”

Bilton says the story of Twitter is a story of loneliness. The story of four young men trying to connect with the world.

“I think it’s not just these guys, it’s us. It’s our generation. You walk around today and you see everyone pecking away at these little four-inch screens in their hands and we’re all looking to be connected to something. I think the big irony to me when I was reporting this book and what I found out was that there was no place that was bigger than Silicon Valley at the time Twitter was created. And these four guys were essentially trying to find connection through technology and it didn’t exist so they built the technology. And in the end they all realized, or some of them realized, that technology will never actually connect us to other people in the way that human connections will.”

Nick Bilton talks to Kai about all the celebrities who lined up to try to buy Twitter:

Bilton, on the social media detective work he had to do to piece together the real story:

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Bilton turns the table and puts Kai Ryssdal in the interview seat:

 

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