Ev Williams buys back Odeo and Twitter

I’d like to congratulate Ev Williams + team on buying back Odeo and Twitter from his original investors.

It’s thought VC’s sunk $5m into Odeo but after Ev’s buy-back they walked away with their full money back. Ev wrote on his blog that Odeo had money in the bank and “could have held out for a couple years” – so it’s therefore not unreasonable to assume that he didn’t have to come up with the full $5m out of his pocket as he would have obtained the money in the bank too.

Those who were at the Future of Web Apps conference will no doubt remember Ev’s heartfelt and very genuine presentation about his own failings with Odeo.

At the time there was a fair bit of ‘chatter in the circles’ about whether Ev had blown his chances of ever getting VC money again. Even though he’d been honest about what had happened, being so open and revealing in public was very much out of the ordinary.

If nothing else, I’m sure today’s move will restore any credibility Ev may have lost in VC circles. Sure, he admitted he made mistakes with their money but he’s now done the very noble thing of giving it back to them.

I personally don’t think much of Odeo – but then I’m a bit over podcasting (especially as I haven’t owned an MP3 player in recent years – and never one that was bigger than 1Gig). Twitter on the other hand looks interesting, but sadly I can’t make or receive texts to shortcodes.

I’ve wondered how Ev would cover the costs of running the service, which is essentially an SMS broadcast service amongst friends. However according to this blog, Obvious Corp will make it a policy to charge for its services – possible further step away from the crippling ‘free culture’ the industry continues to suffer from.

Best of luck Ev for the future!

One thought on “Ev Williams buys back Odeo and Twitter

  1. Hey Ben,

    I’m the lead developer on Odeo, and part-time contributor to Twitter; thanks for your insight and well-wishes. I’m excited about Obvious, and you’ll be seeing some great changes to Odeo soon.

    In regards to Twitter and SMS, I just finished adding a feature I think you’ll like: Jabber (incl., GTalk) support. It has all the features of our SMS integration, with none of the costs. http://twitter.com/account/im/

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