May 30, 2009

What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 5)

Filed under: #140tc,Product Management,Twitter — @smokejumper @ 9:06 pm
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View this blog post “What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 5)” on my new blog site at

“Yahoo! is a great training ground.”
Anamitra Banerji
Product Management

I’m not sure Carol Bartz would be thrilled with Anamitra’s (@anamitra) perspective on his time at Yahoo! but hopefully it has prepared him well to take the helm of what is likely the most challenging and exciting product management opportunity in technology today.

When (and how) will Twitter monetize itself?

Anamitra is looking at advertising and other commercial applications of twitter.  He gave examples of promotions (coupons), functioning much like advertising, that exist on the site today.  He feels site banner advertising is an “uninteresting thing to do” but wouldn’t rule it out as something Twitter would consider.

He would not give a time line as to when monetization of Twitter would occur:  “soon”.  He noted that Google launched in 1996 and didn’t monetize itself until 2001.  Could a similar lag be in store for Twitter?

What is on Twitter’s product roadmap?

Anamitra disclosed what is not on the roadmap – a tv show!  (Met with scattered applause from the audience).  Beyond that he offered little but “experimentation with business features.”  Noting that 60% of people who sign up for twitter don’t return, Anamitra feels that Twitter’s out-of-the-box experience could be improved but didn’t offer specifics.

I hope this guy has a lot more up his sleeve than he was willing to disclose.

What are the best examples of businesses using Twitter?

Anamitra recognized that as a small team (currently 45 employees, rumored to be doubling to 90 by the end of the year), Twitter “can’t create all the cool stuff.”   He felt that businesses have a great opportunity to come up with interesting ways of using twitter to promote themselves.   Ironically, he called out United Airlines (not exactly known for its innovative ways) for its special twitter-only airfare special.

He didn’t spend much time on the topic but did point out that perhaps the biggest opportunity that Twitter is sitting on is that of a rich and moderately structured data set.  Companies that can figure out how to best tap into this data to create new services will do well.

So there you go Tweeps, consider yourself informed and inspired.

I’m wanting more . . . more later.


  1. The Power of Presence. Insights from Alex Payne, Twitter API Lead.
  2. I am a Twitter God(ess) and So Can You! The View From Twitter Stardom with @ijustine, @missrogue and @davepeck.
  3. Don’t Take the Drive to Manic Feature Explosion. What Makes a Good Twitter App.
  4. Twitter business start-ups are combination socialist and radical markets.   Twitter Strategies:  Real-World Success Stories.
  5. WTF, No Twitter TV!? Direction from Anamitra Banerji, Twitter Product Management.
  6. Even with a simple hash tag, there is a learning curve. Soren MacBeth, Co-Founder / CEO of StockTwits.
  7. You can’t own social media. You can only interact with it. Corporate Use of Twitter by @JetBlue.
  8. Twitter will transform conferences & events. Surprising takeaways from an in-person Twitter conference experience.