What you need to know - 04/01/11

Ronny Kerr · April 1, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/18c5

April Fool's! (Don't believe everything you hear...)

It's April Fool's Day--so be very careful what you read today...




Bessemer Venture Partners closed a new $1.6 billion fund, its largest to date.


GameSalad, developer of a free game creation tool, raised $6.1 million in Series B funding led by Steamboat Ventures, with participation from Greycroft Partners, DFJ Mercury, DFJ Frontier and ff Asset Management.

Multichannel video game retailer GameStop acquired Spawn Labs, a peer-to-peer game streaming technology company, as well as Impulse, Inc., a subsidiary of Stardock Systems. GameStop did not disclose the terms of either deal.


Bob Parsons, CEO and founder of domain registrar GoDaddy.com (and the Go Daddy Group), is coming under fire for shooting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe--and even moreso for posting a video of it on YouTube, with AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" playing in the background and Zimbabwean villagers wearing Go Daddy swag.

Email ad network ividence raised a $4.2 million round of financing from A Plus Financing. The new funds will be used to power ividence's international expansion and hiring efforts.

In a supreme twist of irony, Microsoft has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission to claim that Google is anti-competitive..

OfficeDrop raised a $1 million round of angel funding led by White Owl Capita, for the company’s digital filing and scanning software.

Qwiki, the rich media site that seeks to “forever improve the way people experience information," added another $1 million to its previous $8 million Seres A round, bringing the company's total raised to $10.5 million  

Twitter has issued a new version of its iPhone app that removes one of the most publicly detested features from a previous update: the QuickBar, or, as it was lovingly nicknamed by iPhone tweeters, the #DickBar.

Today’s featured entrepreneur is Bill Tai, a sponsored athlete and an early-stage investor.

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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.