A well-timed speaker announcement for the Big Omaha conference helped spark early-bird ticket sales — more than half of the first allotment of $399 tickets sold Friday within an hour of announcing Twitter co-founder Evan Williams would be a speaker.
Williams, a Nebraska native, will speak at the fifth installment of the conference on entrepreneurship and innovation scheduled for May 7-9 in Omaha.
When the first tier of tickets sells out, a second allotment priced at $499 will be released Feb. 21. The final allotment goes on sale for $599 on March 14. About 700 tickets are expected to be sold for the event at Kaneko, 1111 Jones St.
Releasing tickets in tiers helps avoid the quick sell-out of tickets that organizers have experienced in years past and gives more people a fair shot at attending the event, said Jeff Slobotski, co-founder of Silicon Prairie News, which is producing the event.
Williams, who grew up in rural Clarks, Neb., near Grand Island and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for about a year and a half, co-founded San Francisco-based Twitter in 2006 and served as chief executive officer from October 2008 until October 2010.
He now serves on the board of directors for Twitter Inc. and holds about 10 percent of the company's outstanding shares, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Williams is also co-founder and CEO of Obvious Corp., a San Francisco-based startup incubator that holds almost 8 percent of outstanding Twitter shares. He also co-founded and later sold Odeo, a podcasting company.
In 1999, Williams co-founded Web-based software startup Pyra Labs with Meg Hourihan to make project management software. A note-taking feature became Blogger.com, which Pyra sold to Google in 2003.
Archived correspondence between Hourihan and the American Dialect Society shows that Williams is generally credited with coining the now-ubiquitous term “blogger,” with the June 22, 1999, registration of domain name blogger.com “probably [being] the first public use of the word.”
For tickets or more information, visit BigOmaha.com.