Live Blogging Evan William’s Keynote

October 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

10:16am: And done! The keynote for the Online News Association Conference is over. I’m off to the next session!

10:13am: Question from the web – If Twitter allows for tweets to be cached for 14 days, and developers cache it forever, who’s liable?

Evan Williams – “I think I need my lawyer here” He mentioned how phone companies are subpoened everyday, and they turn data over. It’s not an area he’s very knowledgeable about, as mentioned by him.

10:10am: Apparently, Twitter got its name from the word “twitch,” since that’s sort of the feeling you feel when your phone vibrates; so the team looked it up in the dictionary and twitter was right under there. Twitter is something that birds do, hence all the birds around the site. “Tweet” was actually a word which users made up, and they thought it was brilliant, so they went with it. As Williams says, it was brilliant, and much better than “status updates.” Oh snap Facebook!

9:58am: The Beauty of the internet today, as told by Williams, is that you can do things on the cheap. A problem many people make is that you partner with someone because you think you need a partner. Don’t just partner for the sake of partnering. Be smart about who you work with. He says this from personal experience.

9:56am: @ev’s piece of advice for people wanting to start their own companies – If you listen to external voices too much, nothing great comes out of it. Ask yourself, “Do I like what I’m doing? Do I see this happening in the real world?”

Susan Mernit asked, “What advice do you have to this audience on how to start something, what paths to take that’s not a traditional 9 to 5?” and he answered with the following: “The first thing that comes to mind is to start small.” An error that people make is that people try to create things that have to have a bunch of functions. Create something you want to see in the world rather than doing a lot of analysis, or listening to what your MBA friend said has a market in the world (amen brotha).

If you listen to external voices too much, nothing great comes out of it. Ask yourself, “Do I like what I’m doing? Do I see this happening in the real world?”
What advice do you have to this audience on how to start something, what paths to take that’s not a traditional 9 to 5? “The first thing that comes to mind is to start small.” An error that people make is that people try to create things that have to have a bunch of functions. Create something you want to see in the world rather than doing a lot of analysis, or listening to what your MBA friend said has a market in the world (amen brotha).

9:48am: (sorry, the internet is currently very slow right now in here) Susan Mernit is now asking about his experience with starting Twitter. Apparently, it used to be part of his other company called Odeo, which has to do with podcasts. Williams gave this piece of advice: Go with your gut, don’t do what the outside world is trying to tell you. He felt something with Twitter that they didn’t feel with Odeo. And that made all the difference. *Note to self, book rec. from Williams* The Dip by Seth Godwin. Here’s an analogy as reiterated by Evan Williams, from that book: sometimes you can’t tell if you’re in a dip or a cul de sac. If you’re in a cul de sac you need to stop right now, and if you’re in a dip, you should keep going. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

9:38am: Susan Mernit asked if Evan Williams regrets selling Blogger to Google. He said he does not regret it as his experience at Google was very valuable.

9:34am: Apparently Twitter has 80 employees. He got a laugh from the crowd when he said he wasn’t making more money than journalists, and Twitter needs to fix that. (Reminds me of an NPR podcast I was listening to the other day where someone stated that investing in Twitter where its valuation is around $1B, yet, there is no revenue, is irresponsible and reminiscent of the late 90’s dot com bust – may be an unfair comparison).

9:33am: “I’m not announcing any features” <–Evan Williams response when pushed by Susan Mernit.

9:25am:  Evan Williams is explaining how they want to give journalists better and better tools to be able to sift through and capture the more relevant tweets (take THAT spammers!). A new feature called Lists, which is in testing right now, will allow you to categorize the people you follow. This allows for you to control information flow. For example, instead of searching for a hashtag if you’re at a conference, you can create a list and see tweets live streaming. Apparently, lists was a fairly early idea for Twitter.

9:18am: Susan Mernit (@susanmernit) is interviewing Evan Williams (@ev) onstage.

9:15am: Evan Williams is being introduced on stage.

Right now I’m sitting at a table waiting anxiously for cofounder and CEO of Twitter, Evan Williams, to come on stage for the Online News Association’s 2009 conference. He’s giving the keynote speech this morning.

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