Well, the rumored changes to the Twitter API were finally announced this week. Naturally myself and my colleagues at HashGo actively followed the announcement and ensuing uproar given our business’ dependence on the Twitter platform, among others (more on those “others” some other time).
So was this an unexpected shock? Is Twitter’s developer ecosystem going to crumble? My take — no to both.
It’s news to no one that Twitter needs to generate more revenue. And currently that’s entirely driven by advertising. Given this, I really don’t see the API changes directed toward 3rd party clients that provide alternatives to the official Twitter apps as a shock. Now is Twitter’s position shift frustrating for companies building these clients? Absolutely. But as Dan Frommer noted a few days ago, Twitter needs to maximize their advertising business. Sadly I’m afraid I can’t argue that these additional unofficial clients are helping with that.
Now the important question — is the Twitter developer ecosystem going to crumble due to these changes? I don’t think so. Many of the changes appear immaterial and reasonable (e.g., requiring authentication). And on the API rate limit front, which developers have always been forced to deal with, the changes were not all bad. Yes, some endpoints were lowered to 60 calls/hr. However, others were increased to 720 calls/hr. From my perspective, this is a very good thing as we only heavily use the endpoints whose limits were lifted.
One of the primary changes that caught folks off guard was the new limits on user tokens, but I tend to agree with James Peter’s opinion — having to deal with Twitter when requiring more than 1mm user tokens needs to be done anyway in order to eliminate uncertainty when running such a large 3rd-party application on the platform.
So for myself and my colleagues at HashGo, we’re just as bullish as ever. Twitter’s platform continues to grow and new functionality is being added. For example, their newly launched Twitter Cards service opens up really interesting opportunities for innovative developers. We’re doing some really cool stuff on that front and can’t wait to talk about it more as we launch. We are also reassured that Twitter wants developers to continue building services that drive usage of official Twitter apps. And that’s the sweet spot we’ve been focusing on at HashGo from day 1 — building apps that integrate with Twitter in a way that do not immediately cause users to leave their official apps. We feel this a huge untapped opportunity both on the Twitter platform as well as others and can’t wait to share our approach as we launch publicly.
As some of you know by now, I’ve co-founded a new startup called HashGo with a good friend of mine, Bob Hewitt. We’re looking to put a giant dent in the world of mobile, social gaming by leveraging social media in really interesting ways to unveil a whole new genre: Group Dynamics Gaming. We’re still in stealth, so more details are yet to come. We’ll also be launching a private beta early this year, so stay tuned!
There are tons of reasons why I love living in San Francisco — world class windsuring right around the corner, fantastic skiing in Tahoe, great food, great bars, etc. The list goes on and on. But I can probably find that elsewhere. What I can’t find anywhere else is the tech startup scene. Tech meetups every night, countless startups, and countless new ideas that will soon become startups. It’s incredible, and I love being a part of it.
I’ve been working at a financial services startup for the past few years, and it keeps me super busy. But I’ve found some spare time and stepped up my advisor activities, mostly focused on scalable backend infrastructure and semantic technology. Here’s a quick glimpse of two of the companies I’ve been working with:
First is Fanatico, which is building a platform for mobile and social games that drives deeper engagement with games by making them more competitive while providing advertisers a way to reach the gaming audience without annoying banner ads or popups. I can’t go into too many details since they’re still in stealth, but it’s a killer idea. They’re currently looking for mobile developers (iOS and Android), as well as help on their backend. The latter is built on Node.js, which is also a lot of fun to work with…if you haven’t check it out, you should. Reach out to Dan Burch, Fanatico’s CEO, or myself if you’re interested.
I’ve also been advising a company called Open Data Registry (ODR), which has developed a ‘green barcode’ system that enables automated supply chain traceability, carbon footprinting, and evaluation of compliance to food safety standards. ODR’s underlying infrastructure leverages Semantic Web technology to flexibly model supply chains, which is where I’ve gotten involved. It’s a great idea and is a good cause, so it has been a pleasure to work with the ODR team.
Keep an eye out for some follow-up posts as these guys make progress.
It’s long overdue, but I’ve finally moved off of Mindswap and to my new homepage. Hopefully, more will be showing up here soon…