AN O’REILLY SUMMIT
November 12–13, 2015  •  San Francisco, CA
Evan Williams

Evan Williams
CEO, The Obvious Corporation

Website | @ev

As a serial entrepreneur, Evan Williams has done more to change the face of mass communications than just about any other single individual. Blogger, Twitter, and now Medium have each, in their way, led to radical decentralization and democratization in the global conversation about events and ideas. While much of the current focus of the on-demand economy is on transactional services, there is a huge amount to learn about decentralization, re-centralization, and the interplay of business models, in the economy of ideas.

— Tim O’Reilly

Quotes from Ev

Twitter isn’t a social network, it’s an information network.

Medium is not a publishing tool. It’s a network. A network of ideas that build off each other.

It should be clear by now that Medium will be a publishing platform that is also a network. It will serve both producers and consumers of content by linking things together in useful ways and making the whole greater than the sum of the parts.… This doesn’t necessarily mean collaborating on the same document (though it could). It means building in mechanisms that enable and encourage people to build off each other’s efforts.

User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s still undervalued and under-invested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it. Hire people who know it. Obsess over it. Live and breathe it. Get your whole company on board.

Every major communication tool on the Internet has spam and abuse problems. All email services, blogging services, and social networks have to dedicate a significant amount of resources and time to fighting abuse and protecting their users.

People want to do good things, they just need a prod sometimes, and what Twitter and other technologies that connect people are showing us is that if you make it a little easier for people then you will enable them to do what they want to do, to help people out, to form groups and do good.

Biography

Evan Williams is an American entrepreneur who has co-founded two of the biggest services on the Internet—Blogger, which he ran for four years before selling to Google in 2003, and Twitter, where he was CEO for two years and now serves on the board of directors. Most recently, he launched Medium, a new publishing platform where he serves as CEO.

Evan was raised on a farm in rural Nebraska and has been recognized as one of Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneurs of the Decade, one of the 100 most influential people in the world, according to TIME, and named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two sons.

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