Now Reading: Nick Bilton’s Twitter book, time perception, Saslow on Navy Yard

‘Now Reading’ is a collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics include books, food, culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.

Excerpt from Nick Bilton’s new book on Twitter

The New York Times Magazine has an excerpt of Nick Bilton’s new book on the creation of Twitter, which is due out next month. The excerpt is terrific, and I assume the book will be, too.

Much of the book, I presume, will be fit for the appetite of tech junkies or entrepreneurs who are eager to learn more about what makes a successful startup. That concept is introduced early in the excerpt with Nick naming a few reasons why startup ideas fail. There are three main reasons:

1) The product or service is either ahead of its time of too late.

2) Some startups have an abundance of resources and therefore collapse under the weight of it, while others struggle to raise even a baseline level of capital that is necessary to survive.

3) A startup may have a great idea and the timing may be right, but poor management and infighting among the founders, who lack experience of running and leading a company, could make those first two attributes moot.

It’s the third reason why I think Nick’s book will be compelling and probably make best-seller lists across the country. Yes, it’s the story of how Twitter was created, but the essence is much more, and pure, than that.

The story of Twitter is really the story of big ambitions, big egos and big greed. It’s the story of one person backstabbing a “friend” out of an unhealthy hunger for power and money and glory. It’s the story of how money corrupts, and deep inside each of us sits some degree of selfish desire waiting to spiral something worthwhile and good if you let it.

So, I suppose, Nick’s book isn’t really about Twitter at all. Like any good work, it’s about complex people and basic human conflict. Twitter, and the process by which it rose, is just a vehicle transporting the goods.

Can’t wait to tear through a copy of the book.

Brainpickings on the perception of time

The great Maria Popova of Brainpickings has an interesting post on the perception of time.

Why does time slow down when we’re afraid or speed up as we get older? Maria looks at the science behind these questions and concept of time itself.

Interesting read if you have a fascination for the human mind and its peculiarities.

Saslow on the Navy Yard shooting

This story is a few weeks old but terrific. It’s Eli Saslow of the Washington Post writing about the Navy Yard shooting. He focuses on the ‘Cube Farm’ and its occupants to reflect the fear of that day and tell the story of the shooting.

As is the case with all of Eli’s work, I’m always struck by the seeming simplicity of it. The work never seems to be about more than just that. Eli strings detail after detail together to construct these unforgettable scenes, but it never seems heavy-handed.

He chooses subtle details and aligns them in simple language so they speak for themselves. And then he gets the hell out of the way.

Eli is the perfect example of a simple guideline: Just tell the story. Self-indulgent prose is unnecessary. Report, flush out scenes and then recreate them for readers as clearly and concisely as possible.

Email: tmitrosilis@gmail.com Twitter: @TMitrosilis

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One Response to Now Reading: Nick Bilton’s Twitter book, time perception, Saslow on Navy Yard

  1. Pingback: Now Reading: Brian Koppleman on screenwriting, Jack Dorsey, network TV shows | Western Sideline

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