Twitter CEO Ev Williams and his wife, Sara Morishige, are building a house. What took so long? San Francisco's most disorganized Internet boss dude has been rich since 2003, after he sold Blogger to Google.
The house news came as an afterthought in a first-person New York Times profile of how Williams came to run the fast-growing Internet message-broadcasting service, which some 6 million people use to blurt out 140-character updates to anonymous strangers online.
Also shortchanged in the profile: His spouse, who has gone by the unduly drab name of Sara Williams since they wed in 2007. The two met at Google, and one could argue that she's been far more important to his subsequent success than the Google shares he got. All that we're told about her:
My wife, Sara, a designer, keeps me balanced. We're building a modern house that we hope will be done by 2010. The design is a challenge - that's why she's in charge.
The cliché is that opposites attract, and the Williamses certainly fit the part: Awkward Midwestern farm boy meets chic Mexican-Japanese-Chinese designer; scatterbrained nerd meets detail-oriented perfectionist.
Read how Williams describes his first company:
We figured out how to create Web sites, but I didn't want to work on other people's projects. I had no business running a company at that time because I hadn't worked at a real company. I didn't know how to deal with people, I lacked focus, and I had no discipline. I'd start new projects without finishing old ones, and I didn't keep track of money. I lost a lot of it, including what my father had invested, and I ended up owing the I.R.S. because I hadn't paid payroll taxes. I made a lot of employees mad.
His second company, Pyra Labs, which gave birth to Blogger, was no better. In the wake of the dotcom bust, Williams ended up running Blogger by himself, with a trail of exasperated employees left behind him. That he managed to rebuild it, hire more people, and sell the mess to Google was a miracle.
Twitter, too, suffered because of a bad management decision Williams made: Appointing bike-messenger fanboy Jack Dorsey as the service's CEO.
Not that we're convinced Williams, who fired Dorsey and took his post last year, is a better choice. The company still has no source of revenues. Investors wink and tell the business press that they know exactly how Twitter will make money. (What they really mean, but will never say: By selling itself to Facebook, Google, or some other sucker.)
We have a better idea for who should run Twitter, if it has any hopes of being a serious business: Sara Morishige Williams. Her sole public involvement with the company was an eight-month stint designing Twitter's new office. But her professional background is in human resources, an area where Twitter could obviously use help. (Remember the incident where a clueless Twitter employee broadcasted the names of 186 rejected job applicants?) As Williams himself admits, he can barely cope with email. Sara's LinkedIn profile details how she scheduled 45 interviews a week, and a former coworker gushes:
She is dedicated, commited, detail-oriented, pro-active and fun to work with. She easily commands the respect of peers and is able to communicate effectively senior management.
If not CEO, why not make her chief operating officer at least? Let her mind the details Williams is so obviously loathe to handle while he hobnobs with Ivanka Trump at the White House. In perfect seriousness, it makes no sense to have her spending time designing the couple's house when Williams's business so obviously — no, desperately — requires a ground-up rebuild.
(Photo by evhead)