Twitter hires its 300th full-time employee

Ronny Kerr · October 26, 2010 · Short URL:

In the wake of Digg layoffs, the new hot startup continues hiring, doubles in size in less than year

Twitter hires

Twitter announced Tuesday that the fledgling microblogging startup has hired its 300th full-time employee. Naturally, the announcement was made via Twitter.

“We just hired our 300th full-time employee. Wowza! cc: @JoinTheFlock.”

For comparison, Facebook has over 1,700 employeees and Zynga has 1,200 full-timers.

Not all technology startups are growing as healthily as Twitter. (Social bookmarking innovator Digg just announced a day ago a second major wave of employee layoffs.)

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said the company had just reached 140 employees back in February and, at the time of his transferring the CEO title to Dick Costolo, Evan Williams said the company had reached 300 workers. (The discrepancy may be between all employees and just full-time employees.)

The name copied in the tweet, @JoinTheFlock, is the official Twitter recruiting account. Twitter still has about 30 open positions listed across a variety of different teams, including business development & sales, engineering, and operations.

It’s almost too easy to speculate about the site’s future by looking at these openings. “Software Engineer - Android” should make Android users optimistic about an improved app, since we haven’t heard much on that front since the app launched in late April. The about page for “Software Engineer - Search (Asian Languages)” specifically highlights four languages--Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese--but no one in China should get too excited. Twitter hardly seems motivated to jump into a censorship imbroglio a la Google anytime soon.

Under the category of “Monetization,” we find one opening for “Software Engineer - Monetization.” One cannot help but wonder how many people make up the “Monetization” team at Twitter at the moment, if such a team even exists. With the successive launches of various experimental “Promoted Products” on the site, like Promoted Trends and Promoted Tweets, the San Francisco startup seems to be getting serious about making its business profitable at a calm, slow pace.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.