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Reading List: Things a Little Bird Told Me

In 1999 future Twitter co-founder Biz Stone was broke and living with his parents. The only “bright spot in my so-called professional life was blogging,” Stone writes. The blog allowed him to express the self-confident exploits of his alter-ego, Biz Stone, Genius. (He got the idea from Wile E. Coyote cartoons.) Keeping the online journal also led him to a novel program by software company Pyra, which was launched by Ev Williams, co-founder of the blogging platform Blogger and another future Twitter co-founder. The two became online friends, and after Google bought Blogger in 2003, Williams offered Stone a job at the company’s headquarters. Eventually they left Google to launch their micro-blogging baby, Twitter.

Things a Little Bird Told Me recounts his personal peaks and valleys and chronicles the micro-blogging site’s birth, growing pains and astronomical success. He stresses the importance of “merging your abilities with your ambitions and… [looking] at the world through a lens of infinite possibility.” He also makes a strong case that a company’s success is irrevocably tied to its commitment to positively impact the world. As Stone told Twitter employees, “We can be a force for good, make lots of money and laugh while we work.”

His new venture, an app called Jelly, follows that prescription. According to Stone, Jelly will enable anyone to instantly respond to requests for information from people around the world. Stone’s personal story and his journey from college dropout to book jacket designer to techie entrepreneur is an easy, winning read.

by Biz Stone

April
Grand Central Publishing; $26

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