12 tweetable revelations from the new book about Twitter

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News
Dorsey, chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square, listens to a fellow panelist during a Techonomy Detroit panel discussion held at Wayne State University in Detroit
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After being ousted as CEO, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey considered taking a job at Facebook.

That’s one of several tweetable revelations from New York Times columnist Nick Bilton's upcoming book, “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal," which recounts the startup's sometimes contentious and surprisingly turbulent beginnings.

Some of the others were culled from a lengthy book excerpt slated to be published in Sunday's New York Times magazine:

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and former Vice President Al Gore all tried to buy Twitter.

Gore's bid to buy the company came "one night over copious amounts of wine and Patron tequila at his St. Regis suite in San Francisco."

Among the early names considered for the microblogging service before it settled on Twitter: Friendstalker, Vibrate, Twitch.

Dorsey initially decided to limit tweets to 160 characters, or the maximum length of a text message on a mobile phone. It was later lowered to 140.

In 2005, Dorsey was a 29-year-old New York University dropout "who sometimes wore a T-shirt with his phone number." He was living in a tiny San Francisco apartment and had recently been turned down for a job at Camper, the shoe store.

Shortly before Twitter launched in 2006, Dorsey threatened to ditch Silicon Valley altogether. “I’m going to quit tech and become a fashion designer," he reportedly said.

Employees complained that Dorsey "habitually left around 6 p.m. for drawing classes, hot yoga sessions and a course at a local fashion school."

His interest in fashion led to clashes with other Twitter employees. “You can either be a dressmaker or the CEO of Twitter,” co-founder Evan Williams once said to Dorsey. “But you can’t be both.”

Dorsey's ouster as Twitter CEO was rather unceremonious. At a breakfast, he "sat before a bowl of uneaten yogurt and granola as he was offered stock, a $200,000 severance and a face-saving role as the company’s 'silent' chairman."

Not much love in the book for Dorsey, who Bilton claims has spent years trying to rewrite history. As one former Twitter employee told Bilton: “The greatest product Jack Dorsey ever made was Jack Dorsey."

Don't feel too bad for him, though. Twitter is valued at more than $16 billion, and Dorsey stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars in the company's upcoming IPO.

Bilton's book is due to hit bookshelves on Nov. 5.

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