Hatching Twitter is one of the more interesting novels I have read in recent memory. Making it more interesting is that fact that it is a true story about the founding and rise of one of the world’s most popular social mediums. Nick Bilton’s background as a writer for the New York Times apparently gives him the ability to write a gripping account of true events.
The full title Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal really says it all. No subtitle of any book more clearly illustrates what you are about to get into when you look under the cover.
Hatching Twitter is a great founder’s story. In addition to explaining the founding of Twitter, Bilton also takes you behind the scenes as Twitter explodes onto the American scene, and grows like kudzu.
You learn the backstory of all of the individuals involved: Ev Williams, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. You learn the dynamics between those individuals, and how they change over time. You learn about the decisions they made, and the process they used to make those decisions. You learn how they handled success as well as failures.
You will also learn that the growth of Twitter had constant challenges behind the public’s eye. The team at Twitter overcame numerous obstacles with technology and financing, and not to mention personal struggles for power within the company.
Bilton doesn’t get into the more technical aspects of Twitter. This is good and bad. On one hand, Twitter was built on technology as the technology was evolving, so it is critical piece of the story. On the other hand, there is a fine line between reading just enough about technology to be interesting, and reading too much technology to make your head spin.
Today, you can look up the history of Twitter, and you will get a factual timeline of the company from inception to today. Or you can read Hatching Twitter and read how Bilton really drills into the details, and even presents each of the co-founders as either protagonists or antagonists. Was Bilton objective, or did magnify the drama to make Hatching Twitter read like a novel? Were the challenges of the founding of Twitter just like most other startups, or did Bilton intentionally write it as good versus evil?
Just like a movie where you want the good guy to win and the bad guy to get his due, Hatching Twitter has you cheering for the good guy to win. The difference is that the people in Hatching Twitter are real people, and Bilton forever leaves you with a prejudice when you hear their names in real life. Basically, some of the founders of Twitter will really like the book, and some will really hate that it was published.
I love a good founder’s story, and Hatching Twitter hits the mark. It is a great American success story about a group of guys who have an idea and hatch it into a multi-billion dollar business. Some were driven as entrepreneurs, and some just fell into it. A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal? Yes it is.