Nesting Twitter: A Startup Story Told Through Nesting Dolls
A set of Matroyshka Dolls that tells the story of Twitter's growth by nesting its founders inside one another
Nesting Twitter is a collectible set of hand-crafted, wooden Matroyshka Dolls that encapsulates Twitter's founding and evolution through its founders and CEOs, each one nested inside the others. Designed by Yiying Lu, the artist behind Twitter’s celebrated Fail Whale, the set includes an outermost doll that represents the Twitter community, in a modernist re-interpretation of the classic Russian nesting doll.
This project is limited to five hundred sets – that's it, no more than that will ever be created.
This set is a celebration of how Twitter has impacted the world through the collective involvement of its users, and the blood, sweat and tears of the team behind it. Nesting Twitter is ultimately a tribute to teams of creators everywhere who do the hard work of bringing world-changing ideas into existence.
Twitter, the company, is in no way affiliated with this work of art, and we do not imply any endorsement or sponsorship on their part.
NOTE: We will ship internationally. Shipping charges will be calculated at the close of the campaign.
Everyone knows that successful startups are built on the contributions of many people. Nesting Twitter features five personalities behind Twitter that have become mythic archetypes in public imagination: there is Noah Glass, the fire-starter; Biz the media darling (and defender of defenseless animals); Jack Dorsey, the idea guy; Ev Williams, the deep thinker; Dick the business guy (and former standup comic). As has been chronicled in many articles and books, their road to success was never straight, built on a clash of loyalties and visions for what this new communication tool could become. Like any great story, it’s hard to imagine it unfolding any other way. Each character in the set captures something of its namesake’s personality, each lovable in its own way.
Twitter is formed by billions of individual contributions, but is also a shared cultural experience. It's an embodiment of the massive changes we've experienced over the last seven years since it launched. The outer doll is our collective character, in the midst of tweeting. Depending on your angle, you’ll see the doll as reflective, snarky, revolutionary or traditional. This Matryoshka Doll really does contain multitudes. The rear of the doll reveals a bird cradling a miniature of itself, a paradoxical twist that should get you thinking about the meaning of it all. Who is supporting whom in this complicated web of relationships?
At the center of each Matryoshka set is an egg with one of three distinct designs, as shown above. Which one will you get?
Note: the bird is one of the whale-lifting birds from Yiying's original Fail Whale illustration, and is not to be confused with Twitter's logomark.
If you choose, you can make your Nesting Twitter set even more special with our personalization plaque. On the bottom of the outer doll we will laser etch onto a metal plate the following: your twitter name, the date you joined and a tweet of your choice. Your dolls will become not only a limited edition art piece, but a reflection of you.
Hand-crafted in Russia
Matryoshka dolls have been a traditional Russian craft since the late 1800's. Each doll made by carving wood to fit smaller dolls within it, until the final innermost doll, which is a solid piece of wood.
Nesting Twitter will be crafted by Golden Cockerel, one of the most established and respected Matryoshka Doll manufacturers in Russia. We discovered their work through the beautiful nesting dolls created by Double Fine for their game Stacking:
The Artist, Yiying Lu
Yiying Lu is a Sydney, Australia-based artist and designer who came to worldwide fame by designing the Twitter Fail Whale, an illustration that appears when Twitter's web site is down. The NYTimes profiled her and her work twice in the last several years, back in 2009 after winning a Shorty Award in NYC and on the day of Twitter's initial public offering (IPO).
The Fail Whale has become a symbol of staying resolute under daunting conditions, never allowing "failure" to keep you down for long. It's an image that has been celebrated on beer labels, in giant balloons in Japanese festivals and even re-interpreted as the "Pale Whale" by Conan O'Brien:
In addition to her personal connection to Twitter, it is her ability to take traditional approaches and modernize them for the digital age that makes her the ideal artist to capture the Twitter story on the unexpected canvas of Matryoshka Dolls. See how she harnesses watercolor to re-imagine QR codes:
The Collector's Prints
Our top tier reward includes pairs of beautiful archival quality prints of the exterior matryoshka figures, as shown above, embodying the entire community of people who built and made Twitter what it is today. The sets are limited to 50 of the large and 50 of the medium edition, with the production process supervised by the artist. Each one is signed and numbered, with frame. The large prints measure 11.7" x 16.5" (297mm x 420mm), and the mediums measures 8.25" x 11.7" (210mm x 297mm).
The idea for Nesting Twitter was hatched by Thor Muller and other members of the Department of Reckless Abandon (DoRA) on the day of the Twitter IPO. As friends of several of the founders, and having watched the rise of Twitter (and many other startups) up close, it occurred to them that Matryoshka Dolls were the perfect embodiment of the interlocking--and often messy--relationships that make startups work.
Thor Muller, founder of DoRA, was one of the co-founders of Valleyschwag, a swag-of-the-month club that in 2006 hosted the party (The Valleyschwag Hoedown) where Twitter was first unveiled to a lucky few people. As a product/creative guy, he is also a co-founder of Get Satisfaction and the co-author of the NYTimes best-selling book, Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business.
The designs are done (minus minor production tweaking), the manufacturer is tooled up and ready to go, all that's needed is you. Our timeline for getting Nesting Twitter directly to you is as follows:
- November-December: Produce Artwork, Select Manufacturer [complete]
- Mid January - Mid Feburary: Run Kickstarter Campaign, Produce Manufacturing Prototype
- February: Refine production specs, Production begins, Manufacture stickers
- March: Production continues, Quality Control, Manufacture Posters, Order ships from Russia to U.S., Produce custom name plates for customized orders
- April-May: Final packaging and assembly in U.S., Ship to Kickstarter recipients
- Note: Due to the hand crafted nature of Nesting Twitter, the above timeline applies to the first set of campaign tiers. Please check the estimated delivery date for the tier you are backing for a more accurate timeline.
Risks and challenges
The main challenges in this project will be in quality control in translating the art into final nesting doll form. While these are strictly limited in quantity, we will still need to ensure an initial high quality prototype, and then review all sets as they arrive from Russia,
For the personalized sets we will need to ensure a reliable process for transferring the personal information onto the plates, affixing them to the dolls, and finally shipping to their destinations. Again, quality control is paramount.
Members of the Department of Reckless Abandon have managed Kickstarter projects that involved similar manufacturing/design quality control challenges. Rewards for those projects were delivered 99.5% on time, and we will be relying on their leadership and experience to minimize these risks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)