< / e v >
ev williams, the creator of Blogger today stepped down as head honcho, he announced on his blog this evening.
dashing brainiac best known for announcing his company’s sale to google via a two word blog-post hyperlinked to an online newspaper column while speaking on a panel being broadcast over the blogosphere
apparently has had enough of corporate life after being cooped up in the stuffy google offices for the last year and eight months
with nothing to do but rule the world.
“Necessarily, I must express that it’s been an amazing, thrilling, life-changing, difficult, rewarding, surprising, and lucky ride I’ve been on,” the thirtysomething san franciscan posted on his popular blog evhead.
“And ‘life-changing’ is such an understatement,” he continued. “As I said on Blogger’s fifth birthday, for doing the ‘same thing’ for five years, it’s amazing how drastically my life has changed. Not just my life, but me. I’m just a simple farm boy from Nebraska, after all.”
a simple farm boy who some might now call
the most eligible unemployed bachelor in america. [Ed. im told this line is false]
and a headhunters dream.
ev revolutionized the internet by creating one of the web’s first killer aps.
not only was it free, easy to use, and instantly popular,
regardless of what they had to say.
today the president of the web based software company responsible for you reading this explained why he stepped down in a 1250 word light-hearted upbeat friendly post titled “Next?”
under the headline of “Are you pissed at Google and/or are they removing you?” ev wrote the following:
People often want to imagine a conflict. And, I guess if you consider how often acquisitions go horribly, it’s not entirely unreasonable to assume. Unfortunately — I mean fortunately — I can’t help fuel any “Google acquires company, kicks out founder” headlines. Google management pretty much let my team and I retain control of Blogger since we got there. For better or for worse, they trusted that we knew what we were doing and attempted to support it without screwing it up. There are always new issues to deal with when you trade your old ones in. But, all in all, they’ve been awesome. And leaving was entirely my decision. They even offered that I could start something else within the company, if I wanted.
The reason I’m leaving probably comes down to personality more than anything. I’ve just always been stubbornly independent-minded — even when it wasn’t necessarily in my best interest. I hated school. I dropped out of college (never believing I needed a degree because I wasn’t going to work for anyone anyway). I started two or three companies (depending on what you call a “company”) before starting Pyra. (Let’s just call them “great learning experiences.”) I only ever had one real job, and it lasted just a few months, though it was at another cool company (O’Reilly).
When I started at Google, I knew I was giving up my independence and knew I probably wouldn’t like that eventually. So I promised myself I’d stay at least a year. I stayed for a year and eight months and have had a fun, fascinating, and extremely educational time. I’m honored to have been a part of Google for such a historic period.
If I was going to work for anyone, I’d work for Google. It’s, basically, just not in my nature.
when i first heard the news not long after it was posted, i looked on my buddy list to see if there were any blogger insiders online
there was one who was about to post his feelings about ev’s announcement, which he said they knew was coming any day.
me: holy crap!
him: it’s all good though
me: when i was at a dot com, they said, there are builders and there are maintainers
me: i guess ev is a builder, for reals
him: for reals
Blogger has been Google’s most newsworthy company lately.
Last week’s cover of the ny times magazine of two gray haired old media writers looking over the shoulder of sassy ana marie cox as she types up her blog wonkette on a laptop was just as symbolic as literal. blogs have even the playing field even among pro journalists.
The Bloggers On The Bus was a feature story about the inclusion of bloggers at both of the major political conventions this summer.
on the same day on the west coast, the Los Angeles Times ran a long op-ed from a successful political blogger who warned of the soon-to-be “commercialized senility” of that circle’s blogs.
indeed, if the la times has begun to count the days until youve sold out,
you’ve made it.
and when you’ve made it
you’re finally free.
continually showing us how it’s done.
Ev and I locked horns on more than one occasion during the time I oversaw the business/strategic end of LiveJournal. The most divisive time was when Blogger was nominated for a Webby Award back in 2001, and LJ — the upstart not-quite-ready-for-prime-time weblog app and choice of angsty teens — challenged Blogger as a write-in candidate.
We were smaller than Blogger, but got the People’s Choice award because of our community features which gave us an advantage on word-of-mouth. Ev and I met briefly at the Webbies. It was a big to-do in San Francisco’s opera house back then, with Sam Donaldson and Alan Cumming as emcees… but it was also the dying days of the dotcom exuberance. Dotcom kids dressed up, schmoozing, with comp’ed champaigne, because someone with a lot more money was willing to pay for it all. Larry and Sergei from Google came in for their award on roller skates and flapping cloaks.
There would be no grand opera house in the coming years, as the dotcom era dried up, and unfortunately there were few kind words shared at the time. So, yeah, there was a rivalry, and even some hard feelings… but only because we all cared about what we were doing.
That said, look at the results of competition. You can get a weblog/journal for free nowadays from dozens of different sources, with software that is easy to interface with, that you can interface with numerous third-party applications, with code which is either open or highly modifiable more often than not, and syndication which is standard.
What started out as a bunch of kids competing over meaningless baubles as a matter of pride turned into a growing, interconnected, user-friendly, generous marketplace of ideas.
So, in the end, no single weblog application won the war. We all did.
Nicely played, Ev. (We should all do it again someday!)
and if i might be able to add my two cents…
ev’s creation has given me the ability to reach thousands of people a day, and a few times ive reached millions.
through blogger i have met amazing people and received remarkable gifts.
as someone who once thought he didnt need a blog since he had a perfectly good website, let me say that FrontPage never got me laid.
and for that i have always been grateful of ev and his team.