However, at Twitter, Campbell wasn't quite as helpful.
We emailed someone that's friends with Campbell asking to connect us to get his take on the story. At the time, Costolo was Twitter's COO, and had been led to believe he was going to elephanttube.com
An investor in Twitter told us Campbell was unexpectedly "freelancing" when he told Costolo he was out of the company. Guys, we're running a start-up here."
Costolo was surprised when Campbell said he was fired.
Campbell said, "No. He essentially architected the organizational structure."
Campbell's relationship with Williams looks bad in Bilton's book. The board was going to replace Williams with Costolo. A one-time college football coach, Campbell was the CEO of Intuit. (This
investor also says he didn't think the story would ever get out, so kudos to Bilton for breaking the story.)
Campbell is a big deal in Silicon Valley.
Campbell responded by saying, "So if he's not the right guy, should we let Dick go?"
Campbell wasn't officially associated with Twitter when he decided to fire Costolo.
Williams said, "If I step down as CEO, I will likely be taking Dick's role, so yes, we should let him go."
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In the middle of 2010, Dick Costolo was suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, told he was fired from Twitter. He was also on Google's board.
Campbell said, "Okay!" And jumped up to tell Costolo.
He burst out of the room, went and fired Costolo. Bilton's book, which is told largely from Williams perspective, suggests that was a mistake.
Peter Fenton, a board member, said, "Shouldn't we talk about this?"
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. The board did want Williams out as CEO.
When Campbell sat in on Williams' presentations to Twitter's board, he would clap loudly and say, "You're doing a f**king great job!" Then when Williams walked out of the room, Campbell turned to
everyone in the room and said, "You gotta get rid of this f**king guy! He doesn't know what the f**k he's doing."
Eventually, Campbell's comments, combined with complaints from senior staffers led to Williams ouster from Twitter.
As portrayed by Bilton, he was meddlesome and slightly problematic for Twitter. According to Bilton, after he was fired, Twitter investors Fred Wilson and Bijan Sabet called Costolo almost
immediately telling him he wasn't fired. And some people who have read the Twitter book are saying it makes him look bad. He was the one that told Williams the board wanted to fire him, but we're
told that Campbell fired Williams ahead of schedule.
Williams, after initially resisting stepping down as CEO, eventually realized he had no choice in the matter. He was Williams' CEO coach, and he often sat in on board meetings.
Bill Gurley, a venture capitalist said of Campbell, "When you have Bill coaching the entrepreneurs, it's like having extra wildcards in a game of five-card draw."
According to Bilton's book, Williams, Campbell, and Twitter's board held a meeting to talk about the CEO transition. But, at least in that case, he wasn't wrong. Williams trusted Campbell. The CEO at
the time, Ev Williams, was about to be fired by the board for bad, and slow, decision making.
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In 2008, Google's Eric Schmidt said of Campbell, "His contribution to Google - it is literally not possible to overstate.
The founding and creation of Twitter is a messy story, well detailed in Hatching Twitter. We were told he hardly ever talks to journalists, which might be part of the reason we're only getting what
appears to be Williams' side of this story. He's currently the chairman of Intuit. He was good friends with Steve Jobs, and sits on Apple's board. When Campbell fired Costolo, Twitter was in
upheaval. In the meeting, Williams said Costolo was "not the right guy to be CEO."
The person who delivered elephant tube
the news was Bill Campbell, the esteemed CEO coach of Silicon Valley, according to Nick Bilton's book on the
founding of Twitter, Hatching Twitter, A True Story Of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal.
This wasn't the first time Campbell talked out of turn