Designing Interactions

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Ev Williams

Ev is very entrepreneurial and likes to create products and companies. He enjoyed programming at high school in Nebraska but dropped out of college to found Plexus, a CDROM development company. He came to San Francisco to be closer to the Internet boom, worked for O'Reilly Media for a short time, and then cofounded Pyra Labs with Meg Hourihan to make project-management software. A note-taking feature spun off as Blogger, one of the first Web applications for creating and managing blogs. Google acquired Pyra Labs in early 2003, but Ev was not comfortable in a larger organization, so he left Google in October 2004 to cofound Odeo, with the idea of combining streaming audio with blogging. While there, he experimented with real-time short messages, leading to the start of Twitter. In late 2006 he created a new company to combine Odeo and Twitter. He then sold the Odeo part of the enterprise and focused his energies on developing Twitter with his cofounder Jack Dorsey and the design team that they had by that time assembled.

Twitter is the most puzzling of the new connections. Even founder and CEO Ev Williams was surprised when he tried using the first prototype, finding it engaging to get that human connection in a fun, lightweight way. Ev is a serial entrepreneur and relates the sequence of ventures that led him to Twitter, including the adoption of blog as both a noun and verb and the use of the term blogger as a brand name for the tool that he was developing.