Mike Isaac

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Twitter Music Chief to Depart for Jelly, Biz Stone’s New Startup

Kevin Thau, former Biz Dev VP at Twitter and Jelly's new chief operating officer.

Joi Ito/Flickr Kevin Thau, former Biz Dev VP at Twitter and Jelly’s new chief operating officer.

Kevin Thau — the man who led Twitter’s Music app project from acquisition to completion — has left the building.

Thau leaves Twitter to become chief operating officer of Jelly, the mystery startup created by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, according to sources familiar with the matter.

News of Thau’s departure comes not more than a week after Twitter Music launched nationwide on “Good Morning America.” The app helps users to discover new music based on the trending listening habits of people using the app across Twitter.

Thau has been with the project since day one, and was a Twitter employee for much longer than that (employee No. 20 at the company, I believe). Thau was the biz dev guy who found We Are Hunted, the small team whose app Twitter acquired and which would eventually become Twitter Music.

Previous to this, Thau managed Twitter’s mobile engineering and design teams responsible for launching the first versions of Twitter’s mobile applications. From there, Thau became VP of business and corp development, where he worked to integrate Twitter into BlackBerry and Apple’s software platforms.

As my colleague Peter Kafka reported previously, during Twitter Music’s entire development process, the whole team (including Thau) was sequestered away from Twitter HQ in a sort of “skunkworks” project off-site. Thus, Thau and company haven’t been working on what much of the main Twitter product teams are currently working on.

It’s the third in a series of relatively recent Twitter employee departures for Stone’s new, yet-to-be-fully-explained startup. Earlier in the year, Vítor Lourenço left Twitter, and is now acting as a consultant to the Jelly team; earlier this week, Stone himself introduced former Twitter employee Ben Finkel as Jelly’s new CTO.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.


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— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald