Some thoughts about following yesterdays Apple’s event with Twitter

Yesterday I was running around New York City, bouncing from one thing to the next. And my mobile coverage was a bit spotty at times. It happens in a place like New York City with lots of mobile data users and tall buildings. 

But like many folks that read this blog, I was interested in following the Apple event yesterday. 

So I went to Twitter and did two things.

I followed MacRumors Live and turned on notifications on that account. Done.

After that, whenever I got a break in my day, I quickly swiped down to the Notification Center on my iPhone and caught up on the Apple Event. I never had to open the app and hit refresh. 

It was so simple, so elegant and so Twitter.

After the event, I went and unfollowed the MacRumors Live account. 

Catching up on breaking news is amazing on Twitter. There is nothing else like it. 

* * * 

ps: I would love to see Apple allow photos in the notification panel. 

pps: It would be cool if Twitter prompted the user after following a new account with something like: “Would you like to follow this for 1 hour, 1 day or forever?”. It would encourage a more dynamic feed I think.

ppps: I am ordering the Apple 7 Plus in matte black and the new Watch. Better camera/battery on the former and waterproof/gps on the latter. Oh, yes. 

Only on Twitter

I am often asked about Twitter’s prospects in a world of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

While those services are all popular products, they aren’t Twitter.

Twitter is the only place to have an open public conversation. Comments on Instagram posts are fine but limited to the author and the commenter at best. The commenter is subordinate to the author. There isn’t a public conversation with snapchat stories. And Facebook is really about private conversations.

A good recent example happened yesterday. I am excited about the new AppleTV because it’s now open for developers. I tweeted that out.

My friend @fredwilson tweeted back with a counter argument and we had a fun and interesting back and forth. A few other jumped into the mix which was great. Then @pmarca retweeted one of my replies which expanded the public conversation and the public discourse continued.

There are many things I love about Twitter. The people. The simplicity. The immediacy. The transparency. The mission. The community. That blue bird.

But the dynamic, public conversation experience is uniquely Twitter.

There is nothing else like it.


Thank you, Dick Costolo

Today Dick Costolo is stepping down as CEO of Twitter.

It’s hard to put into words just how important Dick has been at Twitter. He took over five years ago with tremendous challenges in front of him.

I try to imagine if someone had told me then what what we would have today: a company that solved its technical debt, built an awesome senior team, a global brand and operations with hundreds of millions of users, a product that has positively impacted the world again and again, established a business that generates billions of dollars in revenue with a native ad platform, a continued respect for users and user rights while maintaining a positive culture the founders initiated.

I would have said that would have felt like a dream come true.

Well it happened and continues to happen every day at Twitter. And that is because of Dick’s amazing work and love as the leader of Twitter.

I’ll end this post with one story which says so much about Dick.

Shortly after Dick became CEO we had a compensation committee meeting. I was on that committee and we decided to give Dick additional shares in the company as recognition of his accomplishments and expanded responsibilities. When we presented the idea he immediately responded with “thanks but I would rather you give that equity to the team”. I will never forget that moment.

There was no prior art to lead a company like Twitter during the past five years. Literally there has never been a job like it before and very likely there never will be again.

I am beyond grateful. Thank you so much, Dick.

So proud

Twitter’s letter to prospective investors in their S-1 says so much about what this company is all about.

We started with a simple idea: share what you’re doing, 140 characters at a time. People took that idea and strengthened it by using @names to have public conversations, #hashtags to organize movements, and Retweets to spread news around the world. Twitter represents a service shaped by the people, for the people.

The mission we serve as Twitter, Inc. is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. Our business and revenue will always follow that mission in ways that improve–and do not detract from–a free and global conversation.

Thank you for supporting us through your Tweets, your business, and now, your potential ownership of this service we continue to build with you.


I love Twitter and that team.

So proud.

Fun little mobile shortcuts

Some of my favorite mobile apps have these little gems tucked inside.

For example, in Tumblr’s iOS app, you can swipe up from the new post button and automatically get into camera mode. It’s a brilliant, fast way to take a new photo and post to Tumblr. 

In Twitter’s iOS app, you can swipe up from the “Me” tab and get to the DM/messaging area. I love Twitter DM and use it all the time. Love this short cut. 

Got any favorite little mobile app shortcuts? Please share. 

WWDC and Operation Gray Mode

I’m back in San Francisco this week which isn’t a strange thing.

After living here for ten years, I get back for work about once or twice a month. I’ve been keeping this routine (ritual?) for about 7 years now and while it can be taxing on the body at times, I thoroughly enjoy it too. 

I love this city, it’s people and it’s beauty. Lauren and I fell in love in this city. This place means a lot to me and always will. 

This particular week in SF is the week of Apple’s annual Wordwide Developers Conference. Millions of users and developers pay close attention to Apple’s announcements. One popular way to keep track of all news from WWDC is to follow #WWDC on Twitter. I was doing that much of the day on Monday like many of you. 

The most memorable WWDC for me has to be the year 2008. I had just joined Twitter’s board after our investment. We were in USV’s old conference room in NYC with @Fredwilson, Twitter team and the Summize team. The two companies were working together and in that meeting we were in final discussions that led to the Summize acquisition. 

The meeting was just a few weeks before WWDC and everyone was concerned about how to keep the site up during Steve Jobs keynote in particular. I don’t remember the anticipated TPS (tweets per second) but it was non trivial by any means. The team came up with Operation Gray Mode which @biz later wrote about in a blog post Sunday, June 8th 2008:

In the event that our estimates and preparations fail, we have designed a way to keep Twitter updates moving quickly through the system to their respective recipients. We have isolated and created on/off switches for many Twitter features. Should it become necessary to shed incoming load quickly, we can turn off features such as stats, pagination, and several others to preserve the reliability and timeliness of your Twitter timeline.

Both team working like crazy to pull it off. The acquisition also ended up being successful as well. 

Those days seem a long time ago. Fast forward to today where the service is extremely robust, following #WWDC was solid as rock and Operation Gray Mode is a thing of the past. The team has grown from around 15 employees to many hundreds. And today I’m excited to check out their new nest

This company has done incredible work over the years. Sometimes it takes a walk down memory lane to appreciate it all. 

Quick thoughts after day 1 at Chirp

I was at Chirp, Twitter’s developer conference, yesterday in San Francisco. 

First, let me say I fully recognize the tireless effort the folks at Twitter put into making such a great event. It showed in so many ways. 

The team announced a number of things like some metrics and the new ad platform

It was great to meet so many developers at once and in one place like that. The diversity of applications and creativity was inspiring. And so was the energy level. 

I’m most excited about where the platform is going and all of the new capabilities of the platform, namely Places, Annotations, User Streams and @anywhere. These are all important things that will give developers a more exciting canvas to build highly differentiated applications and richer user experiences. 

We have a number of portfolio companies that build stuff on the Twitter API. I’m looking forward to see what they will come up next. 

I’m also looking forward to investing in new startups that have a vision for new apps based on Annotations. So drop me a line if that’s what you are doing! 

Here’s my Suggested User List

I’ve been using the new Twitter List functionality over the past month and I’m already addicted. I’ve created a few lists for my benefit including some super close friends which I made private and a bunch of other lists that are public. It’s a simple way to filter my stream.

Now that more users have access to Twitter List, I took some time and created a new one called bijanisfollowing. This is a list of everyone I follow on Twitter.

I guess it’s my very own Suggested User List.

I love getting tweets from the folks on that list. Check it out and if you like what you see you can follow all of those people with a single click.