Back in October 2010, Twitter announced that then-CEO and co-founder Evan (@ev) Williams would step down to focus on product. According to a report in the Business Insider, that hasn’t really materialized.
Says the Business Insider report by Nicholas Carlson:
The truth is, right now, a few months after Williams wrote a blog post saying he would be “completely focused on product strategy,” he is in fact hardly working for Twitter at all. Sources close to Twitter say that Williams isn’t working on product and hardly ever shows up at Twitter’s office. He remains involved in the company at the board level, but that’s about it. He sometimes chips in with PR, serving as a public face of the company.
Whether Williams’ involvement, or lack thereof, is meaningful for the company’s future is an open question. It appears that current CEO Dick Costolo, a founder of Google-purchased Feedburner, has been successfully representing Twitter as its public face, so Ev won’t necessarily be missed greatly in that regard.
It certainly doesn’t look good to have a founder bow out, but it wouldn’t be at all unusual, especially at a time when a company is growing so rapidly — from a scrappy start-up to a global corporation. Serial entrepreneurs like Williams — he previously founded Pyra Labs, the parent company of Blogger — often find themselves more comfortable in smaller, more entrepreneurial companies.
After Pyra Labs was purchased by Google in 2003, Williams stayed at Google for a year and eight months before departing, citing his temperamental opposition to having a “real job”.
“The reason I’m leaving probably comes down to personality more than anything,” he wrote in a blog post. “I’ve just always been stubbornly independent-minded — even when it wasn’t necessarily in my best interest. I hated school. I dropped out of college (never believing I needed a degree because I wasn’t going to work for anyone anyway). I started two or three companies (depending on what you call a ‘company’) before starting Pyra. (Let’s just call them ‘great learning experiences.’) I only ever had one real job, and it lasted just a few months, though it was at another cool company (O’Reilly).”