Twitter Co-Founders Williams, Stone Switch Focus to New Venture

Twitter Inc. co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams said they are taking a further step back from the microblogging service and devoting their time to a company aimed at incubating new ideas.

The Obvious Corp. will be focused on “solving big problems” and helping develop systems that “improve the world,” according to Stone’s blog. The company will also be run by Jason Goldman, a former Twitter executive, Stone said.

After founding Twitter in 2007, Williams gave up the chief executive officer role to former Google Inc. product manager Dick Costolo in 2010. Costolo and co-founder Jack Dorsey, also CEO of payments startup Square Inc., have led efforts this year to make the site more attractive to a broader audience by building privacy features and tools to upload pictures.

“The Twitter crew and its leadership team have grown incredibly productive,” Stone said on the blog. “I’ve decided that the most effective use of my time is to get out of the way until I’m called upon to be of some specific use.”

Obvious was first created by Williams to buy back a company from investors that he and Stone failed to sell about six years ago, Stone said. The two began working together after leaving Google in 2005.

The assets from that failed company included Twitter -- which lets users publicly write 140-character messages to people who follow them, Stone said. Williams and Stone, as well as Dorsey, now Twitter chairman, continued building the company within Obvious. In 2007, the group raised capital from outside investors and launched the service.

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