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.[3]

Early life and education

Williams was born in Clarks, Nebraska, as the third child of Laurie Howe and Monte Williams.[4] 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.[5][6][7]


Early 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.[6] While he was working at O'Reilly, he also started a website called EvHead.com, where he first began blogging about his personal thoughts.[8]

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.[9] Williams coined the term "blogger" and was instrumental in the popularization of the term "blog".[10] Pyra survived the departure of Hourihan and other employees, and later, was acquired by Google on February 13, 2003.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Odeo and Obvious Corporation

Williams left Google in June 2004,[14] to co-found Odeo, a podcast company.[15] 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.[16] In April 2007, Odeo was acquired by Sonic Mountain.[17]


Among Obvious Corporation's projects was Twitter, a popular, free social networking and micro-blogging service. Twitter was spun out into a new company in April 2007, with Williams as co-founder, board member, and investor.[18] In October 2008, Williams became CEO of Twitter, displacing Jack Dorsey, who became chairman of the board.[19]

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.[20] As of February 2013, Twitter had 200 million registered users.[21] 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.

In October 2010, Williams stepped down from the CEO position, explaining that he would be "completely focused on product strategy," and appointed Dick Costolo as his replacement.[22]

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.[23]


On September 25, 2012, Williams created a publishing platform, Medium (at Medium.com). Initially, it was available only to early adopters, but was opened to the public in 2013.[24]

On April 5, 2013, Williams and Stone announced that they would be unwinding Obvious Corporation as they focused on individual startups.[25]

XOXO Festival presentation

Williams presented at the 2013 XOXO Festival in Portland, Oregon, and explained his understanding of Internet commerce.[26] 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.[26]

Personal life

Williams is a vegetarian.[6] He lives in the San Francisco area with his wife, Sara, with whom he raises two children.[27][28]

Future business plans

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 have been profitable in conventional terms.[29]

After Donald 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 no longer believes in Internet free speech, although he did not indicate the exact censorship formats he would propose.[30] His musings about future business objectives include considerations about the effect of the Internet upon society.[31]


  1. ^ "Evan Williams". Forbes. Retrieved 6 February 2015. .
  2. ^ "Board of directors - About". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "People of the Year". 22 December 2004. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  4. ^ writer, Cole Epley / World-Herald staff. "Twitter co-founder Evan The success of Williams doesn't surprise those who knew him growing up in Nebraska". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  5. ^ Williams, Evan (7 March 2009). "For Twitter C.E.O., Well-Orchestrated Accidents". New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Malone, Michael S. (18 April 2009). "The Twitter Revolution". Wall Street Journal. p. A11. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "Twitter exec, Nebraska native Evan Williams at UNL April 10". University of Nebraska–Lincoln. April 10, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Ev Williams: Never underestimate your first idea Masters of Scale podcast". WaitWhat. Retrieved 2018-03-20. 
  9. ^ McKinnon, Matthew (2001). "King of the blogs". MatthewMckinnon.ca. Retrieved 2011-06-18. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Baker, John (20 April 2008). "Origins of "Blog" and "Blogger"". American Dialect Society Mailing List (Mailing list). Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  11. ^ Gillmor, Dan (15 February 2003). "Google Buys Pyra: Blogging Goes Big-Time". SiliconValley.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2003. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  12. ^ "2003 Young Innovators Under 35: Evan Williams, 31". Technology Review. 2003. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  13. ^ "People of the Year". PC Magazine. 22 December 2004. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  14. ^ Festa, Paul (5 October 2004). "Blogger founder leaves Google". CNET. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  15. ^ Carson, Nicholas (13 April 2011). "The real history of Twitter", Business Insider
  16. ^ Malik, Om (25 October 2006). "Odeo RIP, Hello Obvious Corp". GigaOm. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  17. ^ Marshall, Matt (10 May 2007). "SonicMountain acquires podcasting company Odeo, reportedly for more than $1M". VentureBeat. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  18. ^ Williams, Evan (16 April 2007). "Twitter, Inc". Obviously. Obvious Corp. Archived from the original on 29 July 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  19. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (16 October 2008). "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey steps down". CNET. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  20. ^ Kazeniac, Andy (9 February 2009). "Social Networks: Facebook Takes Over Top Spot, Twitter Climbs". Compete.com. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  21. ^ "Celebrating #Twitter7 - Twitter Blogs". Twitter. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  22. ^ 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. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ "Twitter Co-Founders' New Site, Medium, Will Open to Public in New Year". All Things D. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  25. ^ "The Obvious Corp. Takes Backseat As Ev Williams, Biz Stone, And Jason Goldman Shift Focus To Individual Startups". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Ryan Tate (1 October 2013). "Twitter founder reveals secret formula for getting rich online". Wired.co.uk. Condé Nast UK. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ "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. 
  29. ^ Robinson Myer (16 June 2016). "The Forrest Gump of the Internet". Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  30. ^ Press, Associated. "Twitter leader says he's 'sorry' for social media role in Trump's election". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2017-05-21. 
  31. ^ Streitfeld, David, Internet Is Broken’: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It, New York Times, May 20, 2017

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO
Succeeded by
Dick Costolo