Twitter co-founder Biz Stone took some time to blog today a bit about his past. He goes back to Xanga, then Blogger/Google, then (though not directly mentioned) Odeo. He talks about how after they failed to sell Odeo, Evan Williams created Obvious, a parent company with the purpose of buying back Odeo from its investors. Around this time, Jason Goldman, another previous Blogger/Google guy, joined them. Among the assets of Odeo was a little side project created during a hackathon, called Twitter. The rest really is history.
But Twitter didn’t catch fire immediately. Instead, as it slowly began to grow within Obvious, Stone, Williams, and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey decided to spin it off as its own company, Twitter, Inc. And as all of them, including Goldman, began to spend more time on Twitter, Obvious faded into the background. Until now.
After his reminiscing, Stone announces at the bottom of his post that he’s going to be taking a step back from Twitter to re-team with Williams and Goldman (both of whom recently left their full-time duties at Twitter) to re-start The Obvious Corporation.
My work on Twitter has spanned more than half a decade and I will continue to work with the company for many years to come. During this time—especially lately, it has come to my attention that the Twitter crew and its leadership team have grown incredibly productive. I’ve decided that the most effective use of my time is to get out of the way until I’m called upon to be of some specific use.
He says that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has been supportive of his decision, and that he’ll still step in to help out with Twitter as needed.
Meanwhile, he, Williams, and Goldman will be focusing on incubating new ideas within Obvious. As Stone writes:
As for the bulk of my time day-to-day, I’m thrilled to announce that Evan Williams, Jason Goldman and myself will be relaunching The Obvious Corporation as co-founders. Our plan is to develop new projects and work on solving big problems aligned along a simple mission statement: The Obvious Corporation develops systems that help people work together to improve the world. This is a dream come true!
The Obvious Corporation website is also a bit vague as to what exactly they’ll be working on project-wise:
The Obvious Corporation makes systems that help people work together to improve the world. The proliferation of technology can seem superfluous, but with the right approach, technology can benefit individuals, organizations, and society. We are relaunching the company that originally incubated Twitter with a high level of commitment to making a difference and developing products that matter.
In more than a decade of developing large scale systems on the Internet, we’ve never been more excited than right now. The possibility to reach and connect expansive numbers of people fundamentally changes the nature of what’s possible when it comes to building businesses on the Internet. Also, there’s room for innovation in how businesses measure success and more meaningful definitions of ambition.
This will obviously be something to follow closely. See what I did there?
Perhaps we should have all seen this coming. After all, when Williams announced he was taking a step back from Twitter in March, he did so with a post entitled, “An Obvious Next Step“. Goldman was not so transparent. Instead, he decided to resign from Twitter on stage during an interview with me on LeWeb last December. I’m still a bit shocked by that.