People associate Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, Google with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Twitter with Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and (maybe) Biz Stone. With Twitter on track to go public in mid-November, Dorsey, Williams and Stone will all likely see their worth grow by hundreds of millions.
But one co-founder of Twitter will be left watching from the sidelines. According to a new book by New York Times reporter Nick Bilton, Noah Glass was an essential component to the creation of Twitter before he was betrayed and ousted by Dorsey and Williams. Not only will Glass not profit from the project he was so passionate about creating, but “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” says Dorsey and Williams have made efforts to erase Glass’ name from the history of Twitter.
But who is Noah Glass? How involved was he in the creation of Twitter? Here are nine things we know about the ousted co-founder of Twitter.
1. College Dropout
Like many Silicon Valley superstars, including Williams, Dorsey and Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Glass did not graduate from college.
2. Career as Software Developer
Before he met Williams, Glass worked for Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects company founded by George Lucas. He also worked on projects with Marc Canter, the founder of Macromedia which created Shockwave and Flash.
3. Founder of Odeo
Glass developed a product that allowed people to turn a voicemail into an MP3 and host it on the Internet. Glass worked with Williams, his friend and neighbor, to turn this idea into Odeo, a podcasting platform.
4. Helped Pitch Dorsey’s Idea
Jack Dorsey undeniably came up with the concept that eventually formed Twitter, which was an SMS service that allowed people to broadcast their status to all of their friends. Glass initially ignored the idea, but later helped Dorsey pitch the idea to Odeo executives, including Williams and Biz Stone, in February 26, 2006.
5. Came Up With The Name “Twitter”
After hearing his phone vibrate, he briefly considered “Vibrate” as a name for the product, but then considered “twitch.” He searched the dictionary for other words beginning with “tw” until he found “twitter.”
6. “Spiritual Leader” Of Twitter
Williams made Glass in charge of the Twitter team. Even though it was Dorsey’s creation, many early employees agree that Glass pushed the project the most, and many described him as “Twitter’s spiritual leader.”
7. Glass’s First Tweet
just setting up my twttr
— noah glass (@noah) March 21, 2006
Glass sent the third tweet just 10 minutes after the very first tweet, which was made by Jack Dorsey on Mar. 21, 2006.
8. Early Twitter Ran On Glass’ Laptop
For a long time, portions of the company existed entirely on Glass’s IBM Thinkpad using a Verizon wireless card for Internet connection.
9. Glass Struggled With Depression And Divorce
His marriage had been failing since 2005, and in 2006 he was “increasingly edgy and anxious,” according to Bilton. He was known for tirades against lower-level employees, and was paranoid that Williams wanted him out of the project. His instability played a role in Dorsey urging Williams to fire Glass in July 2006.