【 hunting, cloud depth, from zero to $500 million, Jeff Lawson narrates the Twilio myth

five years ago, Twilio cloud-based communications services company “no”. And just last week, it has received $70 million in financing. Now that the company expects $500 million, by the end of 2013, there will be a $50 million revenue “books”. And in the near future, Twilio also plans to listing (IPO). From “poor” to “prosperity”, this is all thanks to the CEO – Jeff Lawson (Jeff Lawson).

five years ago, I discuss the prospects of Twilio and Jeff Lawson, his language is simple and plain, but I can hear he is a man with ambition. Later, tenacious struggle and the opportunity to make the dream come true. Now, after the Twilio has become a “leader” in the field of broadband communication network.

, steady and rapid development of the situation, make Twilio got the favour of many investors. Including the recent $70 million, the company a total of 102.7 million dollars in the three rounds of financing. You know, this is “hot” company was on the way to seek financing, has been more than 20 consecutive rejection of investors. Twilio are the investors of the current financing Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures. After there, Chris Sacca, raised Fund, Manu Kumar, Union Square Ventures to participate in the investment.

although there is no profit, but the news that by the end of 2013, the company will have $50 million in revenue. Perhaps compared with those of the traditional software as a service company, Twilio profit space also appears very weak, but its gross profit growth rate has reached 45%. This amazing rapid development momentum, is also one of the reasons for the company valuation is now $500 million.

some readers may not understanding the Twilio, , in a nutshell, the main business of the company is committed to helping developers in its application in telephone, SMS, etc. Application developers only need to “copy” of a small piece of code, can be in their own applications to join a voice calls function similar to the Skype . At first, I didn’t watch the Twilio, even for the first time in its financing, also thought the company may be amazon electricity, such as “tycoon”. However, the fact certificate Ming I was absolutely is short-sighted.

we these long-term stay in silicon valley, tend to be too focused on rapid and intense, beautiful, attractive and unique, we just ignore an obvious truth that have lasting value things, need to use a lifetime of pain, sacrifice, and innovation to water. this is why I am eager to tell you the story of Jeff. What he had done very few people can do it, and Twilio has remained at the beginning of the creation of core spirit, and the achievement of itself on the way of helping others.

in the telecommunications industry “rebels”

I met Jeff is purely a coincidence. I started at the beginning mobiles (translator note: mobiles is a traditional media group blog flavour is dye-in-the-wood, by the magazine’s former senior writer OM Malik (OM Malik), mass communications, broadband and other articles reported the beginning, once gave me great help, McClure I saw Jeff have to Lawson. Perhaps is because the friend’s face, perhaps is really has some curiosity, I finally choose in one of my favorite places to meet Jeff – starbucks. From he sat down and I talk, I will for him and his Twilio not interested. I tell myself that this is a fool want to quick cash out in the field of telecommunications.

more than a decade, there are a lot of “speculators” want to make a bundle into the network voice communication domain, but I never see their behavior as a child’s play. Everyone understand that light has “rhetoric” is decided it is impossible to achieve, so I am the “greedy profit” industry has been skeptical.

it is clear that there are too many people view it as much as I do. From the conversation with Lawson, I learned that there have been more than 20 angel investors and venture capital refused him and his company. But even so, he still released Twilio at 08 years of economic crisis. This guy is a communications industry “small white”, it happened with many years of practice in the industry, made his own business.

to begin with, Jeff just want to find a simple way, the communication system to join his business workflows, like is to add some code in his software. However, his novel ideas brought him not convenient at work, but work trival, high cost. At that time, Jeff and his two founders (Evan Cooke, John Wolthuis) special want to find a can change the “old” industry (industry). Coincidentally, they see the amazon is building a cloud platform, which is accorded with the idea. Jeff think the opportunity came, that year, 35 years old, he is a little odd but from Michigan attractive engineer.

“marathon” programming rules

although faced with the huge competition from traditional enterprises, developing tenaciously Twilio has been. They open the platform, and actively “recruiting” developers join Twilio. Will have a lot of friends around me have begun to use Twilio, some applications and on the basis of its development, even some people together and use it to develop personal communication system. In addition, there are people use it to produce all kinds of blog audio plug-ins. Obviously, the company has established its user base. At that time, we have been and Twilio maintained close ties, and often report the hard work of start-ups.

god seemed very coincidence and we opened a joke, let me and overlap together — when mobiles Twilio story out of the pier 38, Twilio moved in. Until they found a simply integrate into the way of the application of the information, they will grow their human attention.

Jeff smiled and said: “when amazon don’t have to worry, for the” customer “Twilio had to in order to survive and mining potential customers. Finally we decided to only join programming marathon activities, to find a way out.” (translator note: programming the marathon is a kind of activity. In this activity, get together with a lot of programmers. They go to computer programming in the form of cooperation.) From then on, Twilio begin with great enthusiasm “embrace” the activity, even at the time with “where there is programming marathon, have Twilio” slogan.

my colleague Stacey Higginbotham long ago foresaw Twilio’s success, he wrote:


in the future is not a pure voice, but to make more clear communication applications. The application may be sound, maybe a video, or text. But Lawson is definitely a unique thought, he didn’t choose a normal way, but a commitment to Twilio to establish a communication platform, for developers to use.

practice shows that Jeff’s choice is wise. Twilio after become a voice communication platform, more and more get of developer, and have more applications. Some of these applications is almost “overnight success”, for example, and the other a similar application has also been called “Beluga” Facebook bought from you. When those who imitate AWS (amazon’s cloud services) a small company on the brink of extinction, Twilio is because built a voice communication application platform and high-speed development.

rely on the success of the application, such as more inspired Twilio toward the direction of “ecological system”. Especially iPhone to improve its application fee later, is to let Twilio icing on the cake. More and more developers started using Twilio platform. Lawson said: “in the future, we will see API instead of dialing section. And tomorrow will be through the application of communication interface.”

as Twilio new investors, Scott Raney wrote in the blog:


nowadays one of the most potential fields, are those that directly provide services and apis open platform for developers. The nature of the product itself is often directly affects the decision of the developer. Such as red dot capital early investment Heroku and Stripe, Twilio is now the trend of “leader”.

except Beluga and rely on other applications also began to Twilio “arms”. Such as I recently saw a software called “”, is based on the Twilio. The application system is simple and convenient, outstanding characteristic is a blend of two trends – “cabin type equipment” and “distributed management”.

Twilio behind the logic is simple: if there is no widely distributed in the world of desktop phone and employee, then the PBX system (switch system) is how to be the middle of the 20th century the only communication tool? (let’s not think about it using voice calls for network transmission technology)? Words, share files, open meetings, inputting the CRM (customer relationship management (CRM) systems, we have too many way of communication, why is that voice is the only alternative? This problem, besides make me want to change the needs of today reminds me of Google Voice.

in the past, a company may want to head a few years of effort and money spent on building their own communication network (such as Google Voice and RingCentral). But now these companies chose Twilio with “flattering” (or amazon), the business center on the building of new communication experience link. As a result, these companies can achieve huge profits in a short time.

culture “definition” the user experience

I once asked Lawson, what is his company. Lawson to my nine points out the Twilio cruel value, and highlights how they forge a good experience for the user or consumer. He said: “the experience is something for you. Like you to listen to U2 concert (famous British band), they left me experience or feel will be lasting and profound.” Lawson and Twilio with confidence that will be “sticky” and users, because they have been trying to create the best experience for the user.

telecom services even behind the enterprise software. Hope before trading, industry developers to “success” as the first customer to taste. Any not let oneself satisfactory trading is stupid, that is why many application developers, in the market share is 4%.

Lawson called the experience “attaches great importance to the user and the foundation of modeling work”. In order to achieve that, Twilio did a lot of unusual effort, for example, they hope that the company’s every employee (even if is a technical staff) developed are based on Twilio and meet the needs of the user. This seems to Lawson is to do “empathy” to the user.

for CEO concept to understand the process of “evolution”

the culture of a company depends largely on the leaders of this company’s quality, which is why I think Jeff is a charismatic man. An excellent engineer must learn to overcome, as an engineer leader of difficulties and challenges. I ask, what is Lawson for him to keep working, he said: “as a leader you to embrace a adaptation and modification of attitude. But your team people grow from 10 to 30 people, you must learn to adapt to the new environment, and find a new way of leadership.”

to illustrate this point, I want to talk about the company mascot – has been an owl. After the first, you draw a circle, more the circle part of the outline the other. Lawson and Twilio concept – always no instructions. You have to do is take the first step, will appear at the back of the problems and challenges, continuous learning and improvement will eventually be “complete”. That is what Lawson see themselves as the responsibility of CEO.

now Twilio is a team, has 160 to the end of this year, the data will grow to 2000 people. By then, however, Lawson will study the new knowledge the team again, and looking for a new style of leadership. As Lawson said: “every 6 to 9 months, you should change from the new look at themselves and the company, find different points out, and to adjust. You must know what is the enterprise’s core capital (fixed assets).”

that what is core capital (fixed assets)? Finally, I want to use a word from the Lawson to answer this question, he said: “we are never telecommunication service enterprises, more do not want to become the industry. We are “black”, and a heart to “hackers”. (translator note: Lawson mean, the core values of enterprise is good at learning, innovation, like hackers have superb technology, maintenance of Internet freedom.)