Blast from the past:
The interesting part is Odeo still exists, and Williams is still CEO. So what’s he doing to fix these mistakes? Not refunding the VCs their investment, that’s for sure. And not even trying to earn revenue; Williams freely admitted Odeo hasn’t yet settled on a business model.
However, the company did downsize, dropping a couple managers from a high of 14 employees. Its target audience is now people who listen to podcasts, especially on the web, something Williams actually does himself. Odeo still isn’t singularly focused – Williams’ list of products at the opening of his presentation was daunting – but projects like the mobile social app Twitter are isolated to a full-time team of two.
A month after this post, Williams (along with colleagues Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey) did refund the money, forming a new company that bought Odeo and Twitter back from their original investors. Then, a few months after that, Twitter had caught on like crazy, and the new company they'd formed, Obvious Corporation, was renamed Twitter, Inc.
Today Twitter has 175 employees and $20 million in revenue. Not bad for a side project of a "screwed up" startup.