Api Diaries - Twilio 2013-05-20

Twilio makes telephony dead simple for developers. A developer should be able to do cool things with their API, like sending text messages and setting up conference calls in under 5 minutes. Such a company must live or die on API design.

I was very fortunate to speak with Joel Franusic to learn how Twilio engages and understands developers when building their API. The following is a based on our conversation:

How do they know how to get Api Design right?

Monitoring channels

"We go where we are talked about"

Example tweets:

If any #nodejs #twilio guys could help debug https://gist.github.com/1314454 and why it's saying not authenticated when I do the request

.@twilio Why can't I send an SMS with the words "need to cancel" in it? I keep getting this error: http://www.twilio.com/docs/errors/21618 #janky

Why Your Academic Blog Post is Worth $200,000 2013-04-23

Grab your Audience's Attention.

If you do not blog about your research, you might as well take all your papers and burn them right now. Because no one will read your paper or remember your talk at a conference.

Not because it isn't wonderful work, but because human bandwidth is terribly limited. Most new memories will fade after a few hours or days, and essentially non-existent after 3 months. In an event as fully packed as a conference, with thousands of people, hundreds of conversations, and dozens of presentations, chances are your presentation will be forgotten against all the other competing memories.

People's time and attention costs money. To get your research presented in 20 minutes to room of 100 people, costs each person easily $2000 (registeration, airfare, and hotel) to be there. Collectively, was your talk well-worth $200,000?

Prepare Takeaways

Blogging about your research can spread your message to a much bigger room of people.
But these people do not have 20 minutes, and your writing must reflect that. Further, consider how people consume content: You are competing with several other open tabs from facebook, twitter, etc.

  • Most readers will only spend about 10-30 seconds reading your blog post.
  • Stick to only one topic; anything else will derail your message.
  • Prepacked takeaway points can be read quickly and spread through social media, reinforcing your message.