Evan Clark Williams (born 31 March 1972) is an American technology entrepreneur
who is the co-founder of several technology companies, including Twitter
. Williams was previously chairman and CEO
of Twitter. He also founded Blogger
, two of the largest internet platforms of their kind.
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
, 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
[ 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 13 February 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 Magazines "People of the Year", along with Hourihan and Paul Bausch, for their work on Blogger.
Odeo and Obvious Corporation
Williams officially left Google on 8 October 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.
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.
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.
On 6 April 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 25 September 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.
On 5 April 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.
Williams is a vegetarian,
and has invested – through the Obvious Corporations – in plant-based meat alternative, Beyond Meat.
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.
[Streitfeld, David, ]
Internet Is Broken': @ev Is Trying to Salvage It
', New York Times, 20 May 2017
Evan Williams @ Medium
Category:American computer businesspeople
Category:Businesspeople from Nebraska
Category:People from Merrick County, Nebraska
Category:American technology chief executives
Category:21st-century American businesspeople
Category:20th-century American businesspeople
Category:American chairpersons of corporations
Category:Directors of Twitter
Category:Web Summit Speaker