Biz Stone

I started as an artist and I had a side job moving some heavy boxes for a publishing company. They had just gotten a Mac for their art department, the department that creates the book covers. I was kind of showing the art director a thing or two about how to use a Mac. And one day everyone went out to lunch and I jumped on the computer and designed a book jacket and slipped it in the pile to go to the review board in New York. They picked my jacket and when the art director got back to Boston, he wanted to know who designed it and I said, “Me.” He was like, “The box guy?”

We realized we weren’t really using Odeo, we weren’t investing our own time creating podcasts. We were building a tool that was a great idea for some other people. That’s a dangerous way to go because if you don’t actually use it yourself and love it, then you aren’t going to be as fully invested in it from the start. That’s what leads you to doing side projects.

I started designing book jackets, which was great because I was good at it. And then from there I decided to become a freelance graphic designer and I needed to expand beyond book jackets, so I taught myself web design, and then in 1999 some friends of mine decided to start a company called, which was a very early kind of social network slash blogging community.

You have to think for an email. What’s the subject? What’s it about? It takes two seconds to think about that. So you have to think, Is this a work thing or a social thing? Which? Then you get into a situation that you don’t want to be in, because then people are thinking about it too much.

When you think about email or IMing, why aren’t you writing back? I can see your avatar, I know you’re online, why aren’t you writing me back? But with Twitter, everybody sends their responses to Twitter, and Twitter then sends them out to everyone. So there’s not this constant connection. You can be hyperconnected, then you can take a break for a couple days and it’s fine.