evan williams

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams is building his current start-up with a completely different business – and spiritual – structure in mind.

The freewheeling, non-hierarchical organisation popular in Silicon Valley technology companies is not the order of the day at Obvious Corporation, the re-launched incubator and web publishing platform Mr Williams founded with comrades Biz Stone and Jason Goldman in the pre-Twitter days.

“People romanticise start-up culture,” he said, speaking at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on Friday. “People think: Freedom! No job descriptions! Damn with the rules! Actually, it creates tons of anxiety and inefficiency.” 

David Gelles

Twitter may already seem hard to escape on the Web, but it is now trying to become truly ubiquitous.

Its new @anywhere platform, announced at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, will allow other sites to integrate Twitter deeply into their own content pages. A dozen sites, including The New York Times, Amazon.com, msnbc.com and The Huffington Post are participating in the launch.

Sites that implement @anywhere will be able to add Twitter-rich hyperlinks; when a user rolls over a link to, say, the name of a person, a bubble will appear with that person’s Twitter handle, last Tweet and other information. The new platform will also allow users to perform some actions — such as following and retweeting — without leaving the partner site.

“The big thing that @everywhere does is reduce friction,” said Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, announcing the platform during a conversation with Umair Haque. “It gives [sites] a connection back to the users that [they] didn’t have before.”