Until I read THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME, I knew nothing about the back story of Twitter or the people who created it — not even their names. (Sorry Biz.) I just used the service like millions of others worldwide never giving much thought to the whys and hows behind it.
I’ve cobbled together 140 characters to entertain (and be entertained), meet interesting people, stay in touch with friends, and follow news worthy events. But I’m far from Twitter obsessed. And I can’t say that Twitter has fundamentally changed my life.
So, I probably wouldn’t have read a memoir by one of its co-founders the first week it was out if it hadn’t included the subtitle “Confessions of a Creative Mind.”
As a huge believer in the power of creativity and change, this was a book I couldn’t resist it. And I’m definitely glad I didn’t.
THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME shares the journey of both Biz Stone (a Twitter co-founder) and Twitter from their humble creative beginnings to high-tech stardom. Biz’s low-key confessions are entertainingly centered around his self-made opportunities and surprisingly, for a tech-geek, are as much focused on people as business or technology.
In a natural outflow from his core themes of connectivity, creativity and compassion, Biz repeatedly gives credit to those who helped him along the way. He embraces as learning experiences the many miscalculations and outright failures — hello, “Fail Whale” — that he and others made. And, he takes great pride that Twitter’s meteoric growth came through listening to users and adapting its functions to better serve them.
There are plenty of well thought out bits of wisdom woven into THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME. While many of the concepts are not completely new, I found myself vigorously nodding in agreement and appreciating the fresh perspective and articulation he gave them. Three he repeats throughout the book that, in my mind, should be ingrained in our collective conscience:
Creativity is RenewablePossibilities are InfiniteOpportunities are Made
The most unexpected part of THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME was learning that Biz Stone, who went from near rags to spectacular riches under our current system of capitalism, is an advocate for a more compassionate, joyous, supportive and less monetarily focused form of capitalism. A fervent wish of many, including myself.
Could a more empathetic form of capitalism ever be created and maintained? And how would we get from here to there? Biz didn’t say. Maybe, capitalism will be the topic of his next book?
Or, maybe the answers are to be found using his new internet venture — Jelly.
Jelly (Something else I’d never even heard about until this book.) is a membership information sharing service like Twitter, but based on the idea that “helping people is fundamental to the human condition.” People want to help others, and providing answers is an easy way to make connections and build a community (and drawn on and feed human curiosity).
Jelly expands on a simple truth Biz enshrined at Twitter — “There are more smart people out there, then “in here.” So how do you access the knowledge of those smart people “out there”? Simply go on Jelly — and ask a question.
Or read his book.
And maybe a little Biz bird will tell you some things too.