Truth is stranger than fiction, which came to mind when I read Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton.  If you didn’t know the story was true you’d enjoy it as great fiction.

I was drawn to this book from an innovation/organizational development perspective and as a minor user of Twitter @Spiralimpact!

My overall conclusion: if you have a compelling idea and continue to put it out in public, with good timing and luck it may fly. Twitter grew in spite of poor business practices.

Loneliness was the pain that in the beginning motivated the founders’ development of Twitter.  Ironically, dysfunctional personal communication and lack of leadership and organizational development skills created even more loneliness for the founders. From a global perspective, perhaps Twitter creates real loneliness in a sea of virtual connection for millions.

On the upside, there is nothing that can spread the word faster than Twitter.

The founders initially had different perspectives on the goal of Twitter.  One wanted it to be a status update, what ‘I’ am doing; the other, a report of what you were witnessing.

As it turned out, the users dictated the design of Twitter, including, they:

  • use it as it serves them
  • created the @ identifier
  • created the # hashtag idea

Perhaps there is a lesson in listening to our customers!?  The organization struggled to keep up with the user demand.

Poor leadership plagued Twitter.  The one ‘management’ coach hired to help the CEO seemed unethical to me, as described by the book.  He was profane, didn’t provide honest feedback to the CEO, and sabotaged the CEO.  It also seems he was involved too much in decision making from what I understand a coach role to be.

It’s a fun read!  I look forward to watching Twitter fly from this point forward with a little more knowledge about its hatching!