Thanks to the Woman of Wonder I read the book Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone. He’s the co-founder of Twitter which by the way, I had absolutely no interest in… until I read his book. It’s not because he talks up Twitter, its because of who Biz is as a person. This man spoke to my heart and said things I have felt or have said before. He spoke to my values and was someone I would be friends with. I was actually surprised that this was the man behind Twitter. By the time I got to the end of the book I thought to myself, “what the heck, I’m signing up for a Twitter account!”
When I saw the humanity that Biz brought to the digital world I felt inclined to be a part of it because of his values. He sees value in vulnerability, as well as, in making mistakes which he openly admitted to all 200,000 plus users on Twitter, at a time that most of thought there were millions. He spoke about how our failures become our assets and that put a smile on my face, as an overcomer of obstacles, I have faced many tough learning curves throughout my life. That’s made me the feisty, loving and assertive woman I am today who gladly helps others who seek my support because those mistakes, all of my trials, have made me a valuable asset to those who hire me. I can help others to have a smoother transition because through a variety of circumstances because of what I learned along the way.
He also pointed out to “trust your instincts even if you’re smaller and less powerful than the other guy” (p. 133). It’s a funny story he tells about a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg in reference to this point but none the less it’s poignant for all of us. Especially for those of us who had our instincts in reversal in the first half our lives and if something didn’t feel right we moved toward it. Or maybe that was just me. I had strong instincts but was taught not to follow them until I took charge of my own life and figured out who the heck I was. Biz had a good hold of who he was from the time he was young and he set up his life according to his own rules, including convincing his teachers in high school that he had a no homework policy! And no, he didn’t come from a cocky place, he had legitimate reasoning and they bought in.
That strength of character in him was flexed again in high school where he also learned to trust his own moral code. He and his friend showed up two minutes late for the last high school dance and the vice principal would not let them in the door. He and his friend ended up sneaking in through an open window, only to be caught and later penalized with a full day suspension and required to write an essay about what they did was wrong. He was diplomatic in agreeing that rules are meant to serve a purpose but that sometimes policy is pointless and that was the focus on his essay. He bravely pointed out the abuse of power, in being two minutes late, how was that harming anyone? And he had no regrets about sneaking into the dance because that was not a moment he could replicate every again in his life. He went to that dance with the mindset to make it memorable, to ask the girl he never asked before to dance and to let loose and enjoy being in high school before it was over.
His paper was so convincing that the school counselor, who he was required to spend an hour with as the last leg of his punishment, said, “I completely agree with you Biz.” And with that Mr. Stone walked on in life with the notion that “it’s not about breaking the rules, it’s about creating your own rules.” He went on to drop out of college to follow his own rules which were about following his heart that led him to a start-up company that never made it off the ground. He later decided he wanted to work at Google and reached out to a contact he knew and planted the seed that he was the missing guy on his team. Biz created his own opportunity and managed to get his foot in the door for a position that didn’t even exist and that he ended up creating and designing himself.
Funny thing is, three years later he convinced the same guy to leave Google with him to create a new start-up. That company never took off after two years but because of it’s inability to get off the ground, Twitter was created, born out of its failure…and well the rest is history. And actually worth reading.
I hope to meet, speak to or know Biz Stone some day soon.