Ev Williams became a billionaire by helping to create the free and open web. Now, he’s betting against it.
To a certain kind of nerd, Ev Williams is the Forrest Gump of internet media. Williams helped write the software that made us call blogs blogs. He founded a podcast company years before most people listened to them. He sent Twitter’s 75th tweet, then ran the company. And now he’s the founder and CEO of Medium, the platform for online writing embraced by sportswriters, Silicon Valley executives, and the President of the United States.
Of all the American internet industry’s critical events (other than that fateful night in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room), odds are good that Williams was there or knew someone present. So at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday in March, as he sweeps down the stairs into the BART station at 16th and Mission—into the fast-transit artery of the country’s most technologized region—you might expect someone to recognize him. But as he gets on a downtown train, no one turns a head./.../