Evan Williams (Internet entrepreneur)
Williams in 2014 at Obvious Ventures
|Net worth||US $1.8 billion (September 2018)|
|Board member of||Twitter|
|Spouse(s)||Sara Morishige Williams (Wife)|
|Parent(s)||Monte Williams (Father)|
Laurie Howe William (Mother)
Evan Clark Williams (born March 31, 1972) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who has founded several Internet companies. Williams was previously chairman and CEO of Twitter, one of the top ten websites on the Internet. He also founded Blogger and Medium, two of the largest and most notable blog distribution websites.
Early life and education
Williams was born in Clarks, Nebraska, as the third child of Laurie Howe and Monte Williams. He grew up on a farm in Clarks, where he assisted with crop irrigation during the summers. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for a year and a half, where he joined FarmHouse fraternity, leaving to pursue his career.
After leaving college, Williams worked at various technology jobs and start-up firms in Florida, at Key West, and in Texas, at Dallas and Austin, before returning to his family farm in Nebraska. In 1996 Williams moved to Sebastopol, California in Sonoma County to work for the technology publishing company O'Reilly Media. He started at O'Reilly in a marketing position, later becoming an independent contractor writing computer code, which led to freelance opportunities with companies including Intel and Hewlett-Packard. While he was working at O'Reilly, he also started a website called EvHead.com, where he first began blogging about his personal thoughts.
Pyra Labs and Blogger
Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan co-founded Pyra Labs to make project management software. A note-taking feature spun off as Blogger, one of the first web applications for creating and managing weblogs. Williams coined the term "blogger" and was instrumental in the popularization of the term "blog". Pyra survived the departure of Hourihan and other employees, and later, was acquired by Google on February 13, 2003.
In 2003, Williams was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35. In 2004, he was named one of PC Magazine's "People of the Year", along with Hourihan and Paul Bausch, for their work on Blogger.
Odeo and Obvious Corporation
Williams officially left Google on October 8, 2004, to co-found Odeo, a podcast company. In late 2006, Williams co-founded Obvious Corporation with Biz Stone and other former Odeo employees, to acquire all previous properties from Odeo's former backers. In April 2007, Odeo was acquired by Sonic Mountain.
Among Obvious Corporation's projects was Twitter, a popular, free social networking and micro-blogging service. Twitter was spun out as a new company in April 2007, with Williams as co-founder, board member, and investor. In October 2008, Williams became CEO of Twitter, succeeding Jack Dorsey, who became chairman of the board.
By February 2009, Compete.com ranked Twitter the third most-used social network, based on their count of 6 million unique monthly visitors and 55 million monthly visits. As of February 2013, Twitter had 200 million registered users. It gets 300,000 new users a day and, as of August 2015, was ranked twelfth in the world. It receives more than 300 million unique visitors and more than five billion people in traffic a month. 75% of its traffic comes from outside of Twitter.com.
Following the announcement of Twitter's initial public offering (IPO) in 2013, the company was valued at between US$14 billion and US$20 billion. One media report anticipated that Williams, with a 30 to 35 percent stake in the company, would see his personal wealth grow from US$2 billion to US$8 billion in the wake of Twitter's stock flotation.
On April 6, 2017, an article announced Williams would sell 30 percent of his stock in Twitter, for "personal reasons."
In February 2019, Williams stepped down from his role as a board member for Twitter.
On April 5, 2013, Williams and Stone announced that they would be unwinding Obvious Corporation as they focused on individual startups.
XOXO Festival presentation
Williams presented at the 2013 XOXO Festival in Portland, Oregon, and explained his understanding of Internet commerce. During his XOXO session, Williams also likened the Internet to "a lot of other major technological revolutions that have taken place in the history of the world," such as agriculture, and asserted that the Internet is not a utopia.
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Williams is a vegetarian. He lives in the San Francisco area with his wife, Sara, with whom he has two children. Williams has been quoted as having a philosophy that it is important to conserve time, do fewer things, and to avoid distractions.
Future business plans
After President Trump credited his election to the use of Twitter, Evan Williams stated that if true, he was sorry, and he was concerned that the Internet platform rewarded extremes. Williams told the Associated Press that he was wrong to think that an open platform where people could speak freely would make the world a better place. His musings about future business objectives include considerations about the effect of the Internet upon society.
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- "Celebrating #Twitter7 - Twitter Blogs". Twitter. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- MG Siegler (4 October 2010). "Dick Costolo Takes Twitter CEO Role So Evan Williams Can Focus On Product". TechCrunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- Hayley Peterson; Steve Nolan (12 September 2013). "Twitter co-founders stand to get a colossal payday as company takes first step toward going public amid predictions it will be valued at up to $20 billion". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- "Twitter co-founder Ev Williams is selling 30 percent of his stock for 'personal' reasons". Recode. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- Gourani, Soulaima. "Why Board Members Decide To Step Down". Forbes. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
- "Twitter Co-Founders' New Site, Medium, Will Open to Public in New Year". All Things D. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- "The Obvious Corp. Takes Backseat As Ev Williams, Biz Stone, And Jason Goldman Shift Focus To Individual Startups". TechCrunch. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Ryan Tate (1 October 2013). "Twitter founder reveals secret formula for getting rich online". Wired.co.uk. Condé Nast UK. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
- Ryan Mac (3 October 2013). "Twitter Cofounder Evan Williams A Billionaire After 12% Stake In Company Is Revealed". Forbes.com. Forbes.com LLC™. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- "Twitter co-founder Evan Williams sells Noe Valley home". Yahoo! Homes. Yahoo - Zillow Real Estate Network. 22 August 2013. Archived from the original on 26 August 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- Issie Lapowsky (2 February 2013). "Evan Williams's Rule for Success: Do Less". Inc. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- Press, Associated. "Twitter leader says he's 'sorry' for social media role in Trump's election". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
- Streitfeld, David, Internet Is Broken': @ev Is Trying to Salvage It, New York Times, May 20, 2017
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