Evan Williams (Internet entrepreneur)
Evan Williams at XOXO Festival, September 2013
|Born||Evan Clark Williams
March 31, 1972
Clarks, Nebraska, United States
|Residence||San Francisco, California, US|
|Net worth||US $1.71 billion (December 2015)|
|Board member of||Twitter|
|Spouse(s)||Sara M. Williams|
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 internet's top ten websites.
Early life and education
Williams was born in Clarks, Nebraska, as the third child of Monte Williams and Laurie Howe. He grew up on a farm in Clarks, where he assisted with crop irrigation in summers. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for a year and a half, where he joined FarmHouse Fraternity, but eventually left to pursue his career.
After leaving school, 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 but eventually became an independent contractor writing computer code, which led to freelance opportunities with companies including Intel and Hewlett-Packard.
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 invented the term "blogger" and was instrumental in the popularization of the term "blog". Pyra survived the departure of Hourihan and other employees, and was eventually 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.
Williams left Google in June 2004 to co-found Odeo, a podcast company. In late 2006, Williams co-founded Obvious Corp. 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 Corp.'s projects was Twitter, a popular, free social networking and micro-blogging service. Twitter itself was spun out into a new company in April 2007, with Williams as co-founder, board member, and investor. In October 2008, Williams became CEO of Twitter, displacing 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 it is ranked 12 in the world by similar web as of August 2015 and receives more than 300 million unique visitors and more than 5 billion people in traffic a month. 75% of its traffic comes from outside of Twitter.com. On 4 October 2010, Williams stepped down from the CEO position, explaining "I’ll be completely focused on product strategy", and appointed Dick Costolo as his replacement.
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 5, 2013, Williams and Stone announced that they would be unwinding Obvious Corp as they focused on individual startups.
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 raises two children. Despite having a net worth higher than USD $1B (generated from the acquisition or public offering of the companies mentioned above), and having a reputation for media business savvy, none of Williams' notable businesses has been profitable.
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- Malik, Om (25 October 2006). "Odeo RIP, Hello Obvious Corp". GigaOm. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- Marshall, Matt (10 May 2007). "SonicMountain acquires podcasting company Odeo, reportedly for more than $1M". VentureBeat. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- Williams, Evan (16 April 2007). "Twitter, Inc.". Obviously. Obvious Corp. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- McCarthy, Caroline (16 October 2008). "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey steps down". CNET. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- Kazeniac, Andy (9 February 2009). "Social Networks: Facebook Takes Over Top Spot, Twitter Climbs". Compete.com. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- "Celebrating #Twitter7 - Twitter Blogs". Twitter. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
- 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-Founders' New Site, Medium, Will Open to Public in New Year". All Things D. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
- "The Obvious Corp. Takes Backseat As Ev Williams, Biz Stone, And Jason Goldman Shift Focus To Individual Startups". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 12, 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. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- Robinson Myer (16 June 2016). "The Forrest Gump of the Internet". Retrieved 28 December 2016.
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