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Evan Williams

Assignment # 1
Submitted to: Sir Shiraz Ahmed
Submitted by: Zehbish Tauseef : ID # 19537
Leadership, Ethics & Change



Evan Williams is an American internet entrepreneur who co-founded some of the biggest services
on the internet, including Blogger and Twitter. Previously he had served as the Chairman and CEO
of Twitter, and now serves on the board of directors. Born in Nebraska, he grew up on a farm
where he assisted with crop irrigation in the summer. As a young man he was so interested in
farming that he joined the FarmHouse International Fraternity, Inc., a professional agriculture
fraternity, while he was studying in the University of NebraskaLincoln. However, he did not stay
long enough in the university to complete his degree as he was very much interested in becoming
an entrepreneur as soon as possible. He teamed up with his father to set up a company to provide
instructional material about the World Wide Web which they ran for a short while. He then worked
as a web developer for several computer companies before co-founding Pyra Labs. Soon Pyra Labs
developed the blog-publishing service Blogger which became a huge success and was ultimately
acquired by Google. His entrepreneurial spirit did not allow him to stay with Google for long and
he left the company to found other ventures like Odeo and Obvious Corp. The micro-blogging
service Twitter was created as a project of Obvious Corp.

Childhood & Early Life

Evan Clark Williams was born on March 31, 1972, in Clarks, Nebraska, United States,
to Monte Williams and Laurie Howe as their third child. He was raised on a farm and
thus developed an early interest in farming.

While studying in school he used to assist with crop irrigation in summers. After
completing high school he joined the University of NebraskaLincoln and studied there
for a year-and-a-half before dropping out. As a university student he joined the Farm
House Fraternity, a professional agriculture fraternity.


From a young age, Evan Williams wanted to be an entrepreneur. After dropping out of
college he set up a company with his father to provide instructional material about the
World Wide Web.



He then decided to get some experience working at computer companies and start-ups.
Over the next few years he worked in a series of jobs as a web developer in companies
at Florida and Texas before returning to his family farm at Nebraska.

Williams moved to Sebastopol, California in Sonoma County to work for the technology
publishing company O'Reilly Media in 1996. Even though he was initially appointed in
a marketing position, he worked his way to become an independent contractor writing
computer code. Eventually he was also able to grab freelance opportunities with
companies like Intel and Hewlett-Packard.

By the late 1990s, he decided it was time to establish his own company and teamed up
with Meg Hourihan to co-found Pyra Labs to make project management software. At
Pyra Labs he created many projects, one of which was spun-off as Blogger, one of the
first web applications for creating and managing weblogs. The software became an
immediate success and attracted the attention of Google who bought Blogger in 2003.

But Williams was not happy at Google. He once again sought the thrill only
entrepreneurship could offer and left Google in 2004. He now co-founded a podcasting
company, Odeo. Christopher Isaac "Biz" Stone joined Odeo the following year.

The duo was approached by software engineer Jack Dorsey regarding an idea of using
text messaging and instant messaging as a way of keeping in touch with friends. Working
together, they developed a prototype that would later form the foundation of the Twitter

In late 2006, Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey co-founded Obvious Corp. Odeo was
sold off a few months later to Sonic Mountain. Twitter Inc. was spun-off from Obvious
Corp as a separate entity in 2007. Twitter was a free social networking and microblogging service.

Williams served as a board member and investor in Twitter Inc. at the time of its
formation. He became the CEO of Twitter in October 2008. Twitter soon became a
highly successful social network with millions of users, both individuals and



corporations. Also several celebrities took to Twitter, greatly increasing the popularity
of the site. Williams stepped down from the CEO position in 2010.

In 2012, he co-founded Medium, a blog-publishing platform. Some of its publications

include the online music magazine Cuepoint, and Backchannel, a technology
publication. Medium was created with the idea of encouraging users to create longer
posts than the 140-character standard of Twitter.

Major Work:

His company Pyra Labs launched the blog-publishing service Blogger in 1999. It became
immensely popular as one of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools, and was soon
acquired by Google. Blogger is available in several languages including Arabic, Bengali,
Bulgarian, Catalan, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Vietnamese, Nepali, and Farashi.

Evan Williams is one of the co-founders of Twitter, the micro-blogging site and online
social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character
messages called "tweets". It is one of the most-visited websites in the world and as of May
2015, has more than 500 million users.

Characteristics of Evan Williams' Leadership:

"Do fewer things." Evan Williams

Williams said hes the kind of entrepreneur motivated by creating things in the world
that didnt exist before, but he acknowledged that there are others who are more
motivated to make money. (And Twitter-haters might argue that if Williams had been
a little more interested in money, the company might have found a business model by
now.) So perhaps its best to think of this as advice for entrepreneurs who want to
be like Evan Williams.

He also said he encourages entrepreneurs to not just think big, but also to think
differently. Sometimes that can be hard if youre in Silicon Valley its a great area
to build a technology company, but its easy to get locked into the Valley mindset, he
said (though he didnt offer many details about what that mindset entails).



A lot of the most interesting companies come outside of Silicon Valley, Williams
said. Offering Chicago-based companies 37Signals and Thread less as examples, he
said, Theyre not sucked into the thinking of Silicon Valley.

Great leaders should harness a sense of trust with their subjects. They are the people
behind the scenes doing all the work, as the leader receives accolades for success.
Employees for instance, have the power to make a leader shine or rust. According to
Evan, creating an atmosphere of trust is the best way to make people open up to you.
Trust is best developed by making people see that you are on the same level, as a team
instead of pulling a bossy attitude.

Pressure is bound to mount on leaders to perform. Having your ambitious and

priorities right is the best way to tackle some aspects of pressure. Instead of quickly
bounding to pressure, great leaders look at the bigger picture to make smart decisions.
Sometimes, it never really is about the money or huge numbers, but about sticking to
a strategy for a great overall outcome.

Williamss leadership is proof that a good leader should be passionate and consistent
in their work. Williams is persistent and passionate about technology, the internet,
and his company. From blogging, to being cofounder of twitter and now C.E.O of
medium, William always aims at getting things better and moving. This consistency
and passion towards work is a source of motivation for employees to channel their
inner passions and target to be the best.

According to Williams, a better leader should be aware of their strengths and

weaknesses. Before being a leader, you are human first. Williams exercised his
awareness of this by stepping down as C.E.O of twitter and having someone replace
him. Being a hands on leader, he knew a behind the desk job was not a perfect fit for
him; he wanted to do the dirty work. He therefore took an initiative of stepping down
for someone with C.E.O traits persona.

Having spent more than a decade creating communications tools, Williams discovered
that a great leader should have a keen eye for details. Leaders should pay attention to
even the tiniest of details. Unfortunately, most leaders tend to assume the small



details, which usually make a huge difference. Great leadership calls for putting all
factors into consideration before making any conclusions.

Being a great leader is an art that continues to gradually evolve. Influential leaders
like Evan Williams have set the right pace for great leadership. It is never too late to