It’s hard to get a true sense for why Evan Williams demoted himself from Twitter’s C.E.O., but this NY Times article is an interestingly brief history of the company and reveals a not-so-flattering portrait of Mr. Williams.
Now the company is trying to instill some of the rigor and sense of purpose it needs to ensure that it is, indeed, the next big thing.
“The thing I’ve learned that’s much different than any other time in my life is I have a team that is really, really great,” says Mr. Williams, 38. “I’ve been studying this stuff for a really long time, and I’ve screwed up in many, many, many ways in terms of managing people and product decisions and business, so I feel fairly confident at this point that it could scale pretty well.”
Last month, he unexpectedly announced that he had decided to step down as chief executive and give the job to Dick Costolo, who had been Twitter’s chief operating officer.
Mr. Williams, who remains on the company’s board, now focuses on product strategy. He made the decision after conceiving and spending months working on the recent redesign of the Twitter Web site. People who have worked with him say he excels at understanding what Internet users want and contemplating Twitter’s future, but isn’t a detail-oriented task manager.
“He takes these things that everyone thinks are as big as they can get, these geeky things, and he makes them mainstream,” says Philip Kaplan, a co-founder of the review site Blippy and one of Mr. Williams’s close friends.