May 05, 2010
Developers are priority at Twitter Chirp Developer Conference
I recently returned from a week-long immersion in the world of software developers, user experience designers and coders — Twitter’s first-ever ‘Chirp’ Developer Conference. Through the course of the week, I absorbed a lot of information first-hand and had some great conversations that helped me to learn more about this increasingly important community.
- They like to be made a priority: Developers truly came first at Chirp and they appreciated it. Each session, meet up and gathering was designed to help the developers collaborate and network with each other not only to work on projects together, but also to find jobs at agencies looking for developers for hire.
- They like access to top executives and R&D engineers: All the developers I spoke with loved the fact that Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams made themselves so accessible throughout the week. Biz and Ev attended all the events (even the pre-Chirp TweetUp at PN’s San Francisco office!) to mingle amongst and talk to Chirp attendees. Biz and Ev also set aside 1:1 time where they sat on a couch for 2 – 3 minute meetings with anyone who had an idea or wanted to shoot the breeze. In addition, breakout sessions were scheduled with top execs and R&D engineers to talk about platform needs and give developers ideas for apps.
- They want to understand your business: One thing Twitter was not ready to share was its roadmap for monetization or long-term API strategy. This did not sit well with developers, many of whom built their businesses creating apps for Twitter. This was one area where the company remained elusive, which left developers feeling nervous. Twitter did say though that it plans to host in-person and virtual town hall meetings with developers as new details are released. That’s yet to be seen.
- International isn’t easy: Companies want their apps to translate easily, and developers know that the market for international apps is huge. Unfortunately, the translation process is daunting, because coding for other languages is extremely difficult – especially if the foreign language uses characters rather than letters. What developers asked for were international boot camps to help walk them through the translation process so they’re able to translate their English apps easily for other regions. Twitter said they are working on it.
A tweet recently came up in my Echofon feed: “You can’t spell CAPITALISM without API.” For Twitter, 75% of traffic comes through its API, meaning most people accessing the service are doing so through an app or client. It’s certainly in Twitter’s best interest to court the developer community if it wants to be profitable in the future. Sincerely speaking to its developer base at Chirp was a good start.
If you are trying to reach the developer community and are interested in learning more about Chirp, see the full coverage at TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/14/twitter-chirp-our-full-coverage-and-live-stream/.