Evan Williams: I’m Not Leaving Twitter, But I Do Have A Secret Side Project Underway

Yesterday I wrote about Jack Dorsey’s return to Twitter as Executive Chairman, and proposed that this new appointment (amongst other developments at Twitter) didn’t leave a lot of room for Evan Williams, who I speculated might be on his way out.

Tuesday evening, Williams addressed some of these issues in his personal blog, but although he remains bullish on Twitter’s future, I’m still not convinced it’s something in which he is going to be playing a major role.

Williams writes about his past successes, first with Blogger, which he explains he left simply because he felt the company was in good hands (under Jason Goldman, who would also play a major role in Twitter’s rise before stepping down as Vice President Of Product late last year).

Williams isn’t specific on his personal plans for ‘what’s coming next’ – which confirms that he is working on another start-up as I speculated – but he does venture that what’s coming for Twitter will be ‘bigger and better’.

When I took the CEO job, there were many who didn’t think Twitter would last this long. Today, even the naysayers have begrudgingly accepted it’s not disappearing anytime soon. I have the utmost confidence that, like Blogger, Twitter will grow an order of magnitude more (even though that’s a much taller order, given its size already). The momentum is just incredibly strong, critical mass has been reached, and the dark days of imminent technical meltdown are over.

It’s not that momentum and critical mass haven’t been lost before in this industry. And there is still a massive amount of work to do—to build a business, but also to simply complete the vision we’ve had for the product for a long time.

There are many people in the company who share that vision, and I have the utmost confidence in them. Founders, in general, get an out-sized share of the credit for any successful company. There are hundreds of people at Twitter now, some of whom have been there for years and played critical roles. There are those whom you know by name and others you may never have heard of individually, but they have all contributed to the company’s success. I’d venture to say it’s one of the finest teams  ever assembled in the Internet industry, and it’s the accomplishment of which I’m most proud. Not just because they are people who are good at their jobs, but because they’re good people.

When I was running the company, I felt very privileged that this amazing group had granted me leadership. (It practically brought me to tears on multiple occasions, during our all-hand’s meetings, when someone demonstrated their unique and heartfelt awesomeness.) It was they who collectively helped Twitter mature from a quirky, wobbly toddler of a service with great potential but way too much attention for it’s own good to an operation that is becoming—if not already has become in some areas—world class. And it is they who will take it to the next level, which will surprise us all.

Williams adds that he’s not ‘disappearing from Twitter’, and will remain on the board of directors and ‘help in any way I can’.
As for his hush-hush project, he writes:

However, now that Twitter is in capable hands that aren’t mine, it’s time to pick up a whiteboard marker and think fresh. There are other problems/opportunities in the world that need attention, and there are other individuals I’d love to get the opportunity to work with and learn from. (Details to come.)

While I doubt I’ll get so lucky a third time, as my good friend Biz Stone likes to say, “Creativity is a renewable resource.” Let’s see what happens.

We’ll have to wait and see (and notice the ‘good friend Biz Stone’ remark; Dorsey in the article is simply referred to as ‘Jack’). Still, I’m standing by my instincts on this – I think it’s increasingly clear that the future of Twitter is one that won’t really involve Evan Williams, certainly not in any meaningful capacity.