Home: Daniel Island
Profession: Founder and CEO of TwitPic
Passions: “Motorcycles, strong coffee, and integrity above all else”
Find Noah: twitpic.com and twitter.com/noaheverett
It was a startling image: a US Airways jet floating in the Hudson River, its passengers huddled on the wing. Released immediately after the January 2009 crash by a nearby ferry passenger, who snapped it with an iPhone and posted it to Twitter, the image scooped major news outlets. Noah Everett, who now lives on Daniel Island, had little inkling that the online photo-sharing program TwitPic, which he coded on a lark during a Red Bull-fueled weekend a year prior, was about to become a headline in its own right.
The 25-year-old’s first clue came when the flood of requests for that image melted his server. The second: when a CNN story credited TwitPic with the spread of news, saying, “...the power of online and digital social networking is clear.” By the time the Iranian election protests took place six months later, Everett’s site had cemented itself as a viable outlet for citizen photojournalists, and TwitPic images were being culled for The New York Times.
Not your archetypal Silicon Valley whiz kid, the home-schooled Everett graduated high school by age 15. Too young to start college, he taught himself computer programming and web development. His first program, “Indiefy,” was an iTunes-style outlet for independent musicians that eventually floundered from a lack of marketing. As Everett rebounded from that commercial failure, he devised a way for his friends to share photos via Twitter. “I released the TwitPic application on Monday,” recalls Everett of the February 2008 launch. “On Tuesday, it was written up by some blogs. From there, it just snowballed.”
He says he received a six-figure offer to buy the program but opted to retain sole control of the social media application. Everett, who now employs his parents to handle accounting and administrative duties, spontaneously relocated from Oklahoma to Daniel Island last spring after being captivated by the Lowcountry imagery depicted in films like The Patriot and The Notebook. “People feel like they need to be in a tech center, like San Francisco,” says Everett. “Sure, there’s a lot of great talent, but there’s also a lot of noise and input you don’t need, so I prefer to be outside the fluff.”
Every morning, Everett drives to Sullivan’s Island to “get centered” before long hours of computer coding. With TwitPic 3.0 slated for release at the end of 2009, a host of celebrity users (including Taylor Swift), and revenue forecasts that eclipse his reported six-figure buyout offer, Everett says he’s eyeing local real estate for a corporate headquarters. Not bad for a 20-something on a whim, nor the Lowcountry’s tech efforts.