Who he is: Ev Williams is one of Twitter’s cofounders, and probably the most influential driving force behind the company–at least in its earliest stages.
He’s less well known in the media than his partners, partly because he was more or less forced out of Twitter due to poor management. His reign at Twitter was controversial, with accusations that he was “terrible” at his job and that he had an underhand role in the ousting of early team member and friend Noah Glass. Speaking about the early days of Twitter, he said his motto was to “do less” and concentrate on what the main task was, and noted “many of the most important things don’t take off right away, they only take off after working on them for a long time and pursuing a vision that gets you to the essence of something.”
Prior to Twitter, Williams cofounded Blogger, a platform for creating and managing weblogs that was acquired by Google in 2003. He recently cofounded a newer kind of blogging platform called Medium. And in a different venture with cofounder Biz Stone, Williams is backing a vegan meat startup called Beyond Meat.
His relationship with Twitter: Cofounder, early CEO. Now he’s the biggest single shareholder with a 12% stake.
What he’s worth now: Due to his low press profile, much about Williams is unknown–and he doesn’t appear in the usual lists of young, rich, and successful entrepreneurs. Having sold Blogger to Google, Williams isn’t short of a penny or two.
What he’ll earn via Twitter’s IPO: Williams owns 56,909,847 shares in Twitter. If Twitter’s first day closing price of $44.90 is any guide, Ev is now worth at least a cool $2.5 billion.
What he’ll likely do with the money: We can imagine Williams using his fortunes to propel new ideas like Medium into existence–he seems keen to change the world by technology, if slowly. But he’s also a 41-year-old family man, and it’s possible that he may simply spend as much time with his family as a billion dollars can buy you.