Twitter possibly moving from SF to Brisbane

Ronny Kerr · January 13, 2011 · Short URL:

Rapidly growing company (50 added since October) needs more space, has the money to move

Twitter to Brisbane?Give a company a $200 million investment round, and it’s going to want to hire a lot more people. Hire a lot more people, and that company’s going to need a bigger office.

Twitter, for so long one of the most well-known tech business fixtures of San Francisco, is outgrowing its current office location, and reports say the company might be moving its headquarters south to Brisbane. Specifically, Twitter could fill the former campus, a 200,000 square foot complex on Sierra Point, a small peninsula that extends into San Francisco Bay. (Walmart is moving to San Bruno.)

Currently based in the SoMa district at the corner of Folsom St. and 4th St., Twitter would be greatly missed by San Francisco, since the company is one of the two major titans of social media and, for that reason, draws a lot of positive global attention to the city by the bay. 

Jennifer Matz, the economic development director under newly-named Mayor Ed Lee, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the city is in the process of creating an incentive package with tax breaks for Twitter in order to dissuade the company from ditching for a new home

"We are doing everything in our power to keep Twitter's headquarters here and help them find space that allows them to grow," Matz said.

Twitter hired its 300th employee in late October 2010 and, with a new massive round of funding under its belt, aggressive hiring is still underway. The company’s site lists just over 40 open positions right now, which is ten more than were listed back in October.

“We have about 350 employees. And based on our current growth trajectory, we can't stay on the two floors that we currently have,” Twitter PR representative Carolyn Penner told VatorNews. “So, at some point we're going to have to look at other options.”

Brisbane is less than twenty minutes south of San Francisco, so the move wouldn’t drastically affect any Twitter employees.

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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.