May 27, 2009

What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 3)

Filed under: #140tc,iPhone,Twitter — @smokejumper @ 11:13 pm
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View this blog post “What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 3)” on my new blog site at

Don’t Take the Drive to Manic Feature Explosion.

140 | The Twitter Conference (#140tc) held a session on day one titled “What Makes a Good Twitter App.”   It could have been titled “Don’t Take the Drive to Manic Feature Explosion.”

Dom Sogalla (@dom) helped create Twitter and runs @iPhoneDevCamp.  This is where software developers come together and build an iPhone application over a weekend.  The lessons he learned there apply to developing Twitter applications:
  1. Simplicity – do one thing very well
  2. Clear focus on specific type of user
  3. Craftsmanship
  4. Open source

TweetieNext panelist was Loren Brichter (@bits), founder and developer of much-beloved iPhone app Tweetie (which reminds me to finally try it out).  He was asked why did Tweetie become so successful.  His initial response:  “I don’t really know.”  After some probing, he offered up the following:

  1. Luck
  2. Quality
  3. Marketing
  4. Listening to user feedback

This last point let to a rich discussion (debate?) as to the role that user feedback should play in defining a product roadmap and feature requests.  This is something I’ve witnessed at many a product company – often times, companies and product teams can’t strike the right balance.  This panel advised that user feature requests must be balaced with need for overall simplicity / usability.  Here here!

They all noted the struggle it is to prioritize a plethora of features and how to best utilize or focus their limited time.  (But then again it is a nice problem to have if you are Twitter or even Tweetie that users care enough to request/demand alterations to your product – many/most start-ups would love to struggle with this dilemma).
Lastly the panel suggested caution and “don’t take the manic drive to feature explosion.”  Words to live by!
I’m behind . . . 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.