Their stated aim: “To geek around and invent stuff and be like techno superheroes.”
Oh no, my mistake. Their actual stated aim: “We make systems that help people work together to improve the world.” More or less the same thing, I think.
Evan Williams and Biz Stone announced their new venture at the Aspen Ideas Conference. What is Obvious all about? Its home page says:
“In more than a decade of developing large scale systems on the Internet, we’ve never been more excited than right now. The possibility to reach and connect expansive numbers of people fundamentally changes the nature of what’s possible when it comes to building businesses on the Internet.”
(MORE: Evan Williams on domain names)
So how did we get where we are now? Pay attention, this gets complicated:
Williams (and others) created Blogger and sold it to Google. Williams stayed with Google for a short time then left and founded Odeo, an audio blogging service. Odeo wasn’t a huge hit, but the Odeo team (including Jack Dorsey) invented Twitter, which was a huge hit. Williams set up Obvious as a holding company for smart ideas like this. Odeo got sold to new owners. Twitter became a company in its own right, and got even huger. Then huger than huge. Then megahuge. Williams, Stone and Dorsey swapped jobs at the top of Twitter several times. Dorsey left to create credit-card-payments-on-phones company Square. Dick Costolo was hired to be Twitter CEO. And now, Williams and Stone returned to Obvious.
Got that? Good, because if you have, maybe you can explain it back to me.
The Dynamic Duo, meanwhile, are back in their element: coming up with clever ideas and making them happen. They’re still involved at Twitter, they say, but mainly just watching from afar and only getting involved when needed.
Until then, they’ll be lurking in their Obvious underground HQ. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire them. Maybe.