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The Creation of Twitter – 5 Years Ago

March 13, 2011

Jack Dorsey, one of three visionary founders of Twitter (the others are Biz Stone and Evan Williams), started Tweeting late today about the creation of Twitter. These Tweets are gems and I have included them below.

5 years ago today we started programming Twitter (“twttr” for short). 8 days later the first tweet was sent: #twttr

I’ve been digging through all my drawings, emails, & notes from around that time. I’ll share them over the next 2 weeks right here on #twttr

We were given the go ahead to work on the idea that morning. An IM conversation with @Biz letting him know: #twttr

The team was small: @Noah came up with the name & managed, @florian & I programmed, @Biz designed, all under the roof of Odeo & @Ev. #twttr

The name Twitter came from @Noah Glass & the Oxford English: “a short inconsequential burst of information, chirps from birds.” #twttr

However, we wanted to focus on mobile, so we dropped the vowels to get the SMS shortcode 89887 (TWTTR). Too bad Teen People owned it. #twttr

I drew out the original idea on this notepad around 2001, named Just needed the right time & team. #twttr

A week earlier, @Biz & I worked on the design to show Odeo before programming. Here’s the first #twttr

A design for the logged in following page (then called “friends”): #twttr

A design for the public updates page (which didn’t stick around long): #twttr

A design for settings. Note the “extra secret mode.” That became protected mode. #twttr

And the simplest sign up form ever. I wish it was still this easy. #twttr

I build products by writing stories. An email to @Noah describing the stories we needed to program day by day: #twttr

An IM with @Biz suggesting “twttr.” I wasn’t happy with the no vowels, but the domain was available… #twttr

Before implementing anything, we had all the SMS commands thought out. The SMS narratives (again, stories): #twttr

Originally I was going to program twttr in Python, C, & Ocaml. But, I got @florian who was a core contributor to Ruby on Rails. #twttr

I’m not sure if one counts the day of original programming or the first tweet (the 21st) as Twitter’s birthday. Probably the latter. #twttr

We had 14 days to finish. But our excitement drove us to work non-stop. And we moved fast. More on Twitter’s history tomorrow. #5 #twttr

Just a day later, we had login working on our staging environment, @Ev just bought #twttr

At 5:33PM 5 years ago today, we had design, login, & update. There were only 2 people on twttr, me & @florian. #twttr

Twitter has had a number of logos, but this was the first. Created by @Biz on March 2nd at 2:20PM. #twttr

2 days in & we needed to move off our laptops. @Jeremy helped. Odeo servers were named after SF streets: #twttr

5 years ago today and 3 days into development we got following working on my laptop. IM between @Biz & me: #twttr

Almost ready to a server & begin working on SMS integration. @TonyStubblebine was our Director of Eng at Odeo. #twttr

Meanwhile, @florian & me were way ahead in development, having just finished the timeline. Story after story. #twttr

5 years ago today we were approved for our test SMS shortcode by a company called Simplewire. Our shortcode: 10958 #twttr

We starting playing with and testing the web a lot. @Biz tried to embed a video and broke his twitter: #twttr

St. Patrick’s Day, so @Biz made his page green by inserting some HTML (we fixed that). #twttr

5 years ago today was @Florian‘s last day in the US. 3 months in SF, 3 in Hamburg. Remote development was hard, but it worked. #twttr

Today 5 years ago was a Monday. @Florian was back in Germany & I spent the day cleaning & getting ready to send the first tweet tmrw. #twttr

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