Twitter Quitters

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Lyons

The bite-size social network is on fire, secretly fundraising for a multi-billion-dollar valuation. So where have all its founders gone?

What's wrong at Twitter? A better question might be, What's right? The answer, unfortunately, is not much.

A year or two ago this site, which lets you blast out 140-character messages, was poised to become the Next Big Thing in tech, a threat to Facebook and even to Google. Now? Not so much. Twitter's revenues lag far behind Facebook and other young Internet companies. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating Twitter for running roughshod over its smaller business partners. Most important, even three of the four guys who founded the company can't be bothered to work there full time anymore.

The most recent departure was Biz Stone, a cofounder who announced his plans to leave in late June. He will join Twitter cofounder Evan Williams, who bailed out a few months ago for a company called Obvious, the company that spun off Twitter. The third cofounder, Jack Dorsey, works part time at Twitter while also serving as CEO of a startup called Square.

Dorsey was Twitter's first CEO. He was replaced by Williams when Dorsey became chairman. Williams was replaced as CEO by Dick Costolo, who was hired from Google. Dorsey came back when Costolo took over, but then Williams left, though he remains on the board of directors. …