Anti-Social Networking: When The Twitter Founders First Met Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Back in March I wrote about an interview Twitter co-founder (and now ex-employee) Biz Stone gave to Howard Stern about the early days of the company, which included a wry summary from Stone about a 2008 meeting he and fellow founder Evan Williams had with Mark Zuckerberg.

At the time Facebook had expressed an interest in buying Twitter (for a reported $500 million), and Stone talked about their awkward encounter with Zuckerberg.

“When talking to him it was weird,” Stone said. “He was one guy but it almost seemed he had 12 people in his head. He had already gone through every possible scenario that we could talk about.”

A new interview with Biz Stone on National Public Radio (NPR) was published this Saturday, and the transcript reveals more details about the Facebook meeting, as well as some tidbits from the early days of Twitter.

In the transcript, taken from the NPR quiz show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, host Peter Sagal quizzes Stone on whether there is any kind of super-luxurious club for internet moguls, where people like Stone, the guys from Google and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg get together and hangout. Stone says if there is that he’s never been invited, but then goes on to add some detail about that meeting with Zuckerberg.

“We drove down there,” said Stone. “I got in Ev’s car, and I said, where are we going? And he said, we’re going to Facebook. I said, why are we going to Facebook? He said, because they would like to acquire us. I said, oh, well what do they want to acquire us for? He’s like, I don’t know, what do you think’s a good number? I think we were valued at like $25,000 at the time. And I said, I don’t know, $500 million.”

Stone revealed that he just came up with that number on the spot, but that Williams responded that it sounded “pretty good”.

The pair arrived at the Facebook campus and meet with Zuckerberg. Things didn’t start too well.

“Every joke I said landed like a dead fish on the ground,” says Stone, “Evan and I walked into the room. He walked in first, sat in a chair. There was a loveseat left. It was a small room. I walked in next, sat on one side of the loveseat. Ev walked in third and Ev said, oh, do you want me to close the door or leave it open? And Zuckerberg said, ‘yes.’

“So Ev said, oh, well I guess I’ll just close it this much.”


The discussion turned to money. Zuckerberg was hesitant at first, but then announced, “If you’d like to throw me out a number, I’ll tell you yes or no right now. And Evan, said, okay, 500 million. And Zuckerberg said that is a big number.”

Biz stepped in. “You said you’d say yes or no!”

Head on over to NPR to read the rest of the transcript, which continues the meeting with Zuckerberg (including strange events that take place in the Facebook cafeteria), some additional detail on the beginnings of Twitter and the results of how well Biz fared on the quiz.

(Source: NPR.)