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Creator of Twitter returns to lead product.... alongside Evan Williams?
As the microblogging site’s original creator, Dorsey must have disappointed a few hardcore tweeters when he stepped down from his position as CEO in October 2008. At the time, the company and its board had decided it was best for then-Chief Product Officer Evan Williams to take on the role as CEO.
While Dorsey remained executive chairman of Twitter, he moved on, in a way, by founding a new company called Square, a mobile payments service for Android, iPad and iPhone. Square, with Dorsey as CEO, has all the trademarks of a service imagined by the guy who made Twitter: it’s simple, focused and elegant.
But many wondered whether Dorsey would ever return to have a hand in the original company he helped kickstart.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Dorsey put those guesses to rest Monday morning, when both simultaneously tweeted that Dorsey would be returning to the company to lead product. He also confirmed that he will remain CEO at Square "forevermore."
The only question I have is whether Evan Williams will retain his role as head of product strategy, which he took on after handing the CEO baton to Dick Costolo in October 2010. We've contacted Twitter and will update when we receive reply.
As an interesting side note, Dorsey isn’t the only one with a first day at Twitter today. The San Francisco company has 28 new employees starting work today for the first time, according to a tweet from designer Mark Otto. According to Otto, It’s unclear whether those 28 were included in Twitter’s count of 400 total employees from a couple weeks ago, but, either way you look at it, the startup is growing by leaps and bounds this year.
We’re eager to see the way in which Dorsey influences Twitter’s direction. I’m betting they’ll be positive.
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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 Twitter.com, 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 Twitter.com, 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 Virginamerica.com 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.