Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter and MG Siegler, General Partner, Crunchfund
The new version has rolled out to a few people, (the one on the web), it is a slow rollout. They want to focus on being simple, consistent and fast, so it works across multiple devices. This is a combination of the long-term projects and new focus of Dorsey. they have been talking about it for a while, but this drove it.
Was last year’s new Twitter a failure? THey learned a lot, eg, expanded tweets etc, do you get the info in the context of the tweet. But in right pane was not connecting, so new version has that in the stream. Some of the feedback so far is mixed (although Ryan says very positive!). The longer term users/power users seem to be surprised at the changes. Where are the DMs, why are they not a main part? Ryan says the overall strategy is to simplify, so they narrowed down to the impactful part. They are in the place relative to rest of product, refer to how people use it. Not the most important.
With employee testing, they have been critical. There has been lots of debate about the things; most company feels good about what is there. Ryan’s favourite place is the activity section. with all the follows etc. For the Discover section, it is the big bet for the,m. They have over 1b a week, massive amount of content. The challenge we have is making sure they connect people with content that is most relevant to them. How do they find the other amazing content that they could care about. THis is part of the way of viewing content, as to use twitter you don’t have to tweet. A few years ago it switched, away from the drive to create content to the lurkers. WHo consume only, or at least consume first and tweet later. The Discovery tab is far more important, one of reasons there is no DM on front page. It is key for where the company, they are focused on science of discovery and the experience of it.
Embeddable tweets, which is part of the launch, means you can embed, as like YT, and you can take it anywhere and then you can interact with that tweet where ever it is. The content lives where the audience exists. Twitter needs to help brands, etc express themselves better. To get that content in front of people
Twitter has been focusing on making sure there is a consistent experience across all the platforms. Making sure it is simple and easy across all the places, but still make sure you make the most of the platform quirks. Is this more about new users? Twitter had to balance old vs new users, but it was about getting new people, making choices about emphasis. There’s a new Tweetdeck as well; is this a twitter pro? Ryan is proud of the team, wrote it from scratch. It’s for newsrooms, for power users. an important product for this audience, with lists, searches etc. They focused on the needs for this audience. The death of lists is overreported – now on the profile page, They will invest, but they need to make it a better product first.
The Apple integration open up a whole load of stuff for partners, a lot of interesting things to open. Twitter is a beautiful horizontal layer on top of the vertical OS. There are third-party elements, but twitter is focusing on own apps.
There are 700 employees now in Twitter; they have a good focus to get best people to the team, to keep challenging themselves. There has been a bit of turnover recently, but seems to be a natural thing, you make decisions about if it is the right place for you.
From the design point, there’s a lot of new little tweaks., It’s been important for Twitter and rivals have been doing more. Twitter views it as one of the critical things; they think they have one of the best design teams there is. It’s how design, product and engineering work together, a great synergy to be more than the individuals.
The Twitter Ecosystem, is in one of the best places it has been There are 750k devs that have created an app on the system. There is a lot of people in it. Twitter needs to do the right job in giving them products to build on. They need to engage with community, they have been building relationships, doing a lot of listening and looking forward to 2012. There was controversy about Twitter saying don’t build clients, so what are the opps for the devs. That’s the question they have lots of from entrepreneurs. Twitter will invest in core experience, there are lots of opps outside of that. Eg in analytics. Radian 6, Dataminer, huge opps there.
For Twitter to last, there needs to be money. Where’s it going? Twitter needs revenue, but it is not the point o living. It is incredible, some of the campaigns have 5% engagement, Excited about where that is going, they need to scale up to keep trust of users and build right product.