@140tc Hi.
August 2000
July 2005
October 2006
December 2006
January 2007
January 2007
January 2007
January 2007
March 2007
March 2007

3 full-time engineers.
       1 ops guy.
April 2007
October 2007
45+ employees.
5,000 developers.
10,000 apps.
Streaming API.
More OAuth.
Better support.
More consistent.
More transparent.
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
The Business Value of Twitter
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The Business Value of Twitter


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Keynote at the first 140 Conference in Mountain View, 2009.

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  • In 2001, I was using Blogger in my high school computer lab.
  • I followed Ev’s progress from Odeo, a podcasting company...
  • ...to Obvious, an incubator for interesting web projects.
  • Twitter was Obvious’s first project, inspired by the status feature of instant messaging services.
  • When Obvious was hiring, I jumped at the chance.
  • This is what Twitter looked like around the time I started working on it.
  • Here’s my personal Twitter page back then. “Never writing any code again ever” didn’t work out so well.
  • Here’s what the Twitter API community looked like. A single page, no real documentation to speak of.
  • Celly, the first third-party Twitter application.
  • My first API project: Twitter updates over Growl on Mac OS X, courtesy of a little Ruby script.
  • I spent most of my time on the user-facing portion of the site. Thankfully, we have real designers now.
  • Right around SXSW, Twitter was being kept alive by four people. We didn’t sleep.
  • After SXSW, once things calmed down, I responded to the increased demand for better API documentation.
  • By October 2007, applications like Twitterrific weren’t the only ones of their kind. We talked to the developers of these apps, but they were largely self-sustaining.
  • 2008 saw the acquisition of Summize, a search company. We desperately tried to keep up with growth, put more money into the company, and started looking towards broadening our audience, both globally and in terms of demographics. By mid-2009, I think we can safely say that we’ve started to reach the mainstream.
  • Today, the Twitter homepage looks like this.
  • We’ve brought realtime search to all of our users.
  • We’ve grown.
  • We’re continuing to grow, but we’re working hard to make sure that our culture evolves in positive ways.
  • We’ve polished our developer community.
  • And that’s just developers who are participating in our discussion and announcement groups. Many more keep up changes via @twitterapi on Twitter itself.
  • Again, there are many more that we don’t know about, and it’s not contest, but we’re proud of the growth.
  • The developer of Tweetie for iPhone and Mac OS X lives off his client.
  • TweetDeck is on screen in PR offices and newsrooms around the world.
  • Indirect value: a business powered by the Twitter API helps other businesses, helps themselves. Household brands like Ford, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Pepsi, and JetBlue are using it.
  • Indirect value: publications like Business Week are integrating Twitter to add realtime community to their offerings.
  • News organizations like the New York Times are using Twitter to provide context and relevancy to world events. Our rich, open data makes delivering visualizations like these possible on a deadline.
  • Direct value: StockTwits is a realtime investment community powered by Twitter. We take care of exchanging messages, and they focus on adding value for investors. It’s symbiotic.
  • Twitter enables businesses like Tipjoy to layer functionality on top of our social messaging system. They’re not alone in providing an API that loops into our API.
  • TwitPic is another “symbiotic” service that provides its own API.
  • Today, we’re making it easier for sites to integrate with Twitter with our new “Sign in with Twitter” functionality. Disqus is using it right now to reduce the barrier to commenting around the web.
  • We’re already testing the Streaming API with a handful of partners to provide realtime data at scale. This enables a whole new class of Twitter applications. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to click through a license agreement to access a whole heap of streaming, realtime tweets.
  • We’re going to be working to make our OAuth support the best it can be for developers and users on all platforms, particularly on mobile devices.
  • API versioning means you can depend on the API working longer. We want to support the increasing number of hardware devices using the API. We’re also improving the way we do developer support, make it more Twitter-like.
  • A cleaner set of URLs, the same types of responses from the Search API and the REST API. Easier to get started, easier to develop client libraries, easier to maintain applications.
  • On the API Team, we see it as our mission to be advocates for transparency on behalf of our users and developers. To that end, we’re going to be working with our community to offer a “developer bill of rights”. We know people’s livelihoods are dependent on our API, and we want to respect and support that.
  • The Business Value of Twitter

    1. 1. @140tc Hi.
    2. 2. History.
    3. 3. August 2000
    4. 4. July 2005
    5. 5. October 2006
    6. 6. December 2006
    7. 7. January 2007
    8. 8. January 2007
    9. 9. January 2007
    10. 10. January 2007
    11. 11. March 2007
    12. 12. March 2007 3 full-time engineers. 1 ops guy.
    13. 13. April 2007
    14. 14. October 2007
    15. 15. Fast-forward...
    16. 16. Today.
    17. 17. 45+ employees.
    18. 18. 5,000 developers.
    19. 19. 10,000 apps.
    20. 20. Tomorrow.
    21. 21. Streaming API.
    22. 22. More OAuth.
    23. 23. Better support.
    24. 24. More consistent.
    25. 25. More transparent.
    26. 26. Thanks. Questions?