I had a chance to join Twiliocon Day1 this year. Sadly, I was only able to go to 1 of the 3 days, but it was really a great experience. I really liked the way their event was really developer focused, friendly, and geeky. Really knows what geeks like. I liked it!


Day 1- Entrance

The first thing you get when you approach the entrance is lots of Twilio employees cheering, hooraying and welcoming you for coming :)


The first thing you look for when you arrive at conference venue is wifi and power. (or is that just me...) At Twiliocon, you can't just get your wifi password- you need to use Twilio to get it ;)



Jeff Lawson- their CEO says there are 1.5 billion calls through Twilio platform, and 96% of American adults have interacted with applications using Twilio, and text messages via Twilio will reach subscribers in 198 countries which is “more countries than the United States recognizes" ;)

Software is redefining communications
The world is increasing changed by software people, where hardware is minimal, and functionality is overtaken by software. Example: cars vs Tesla, former was defined by hardware whereas in the latter softwares can expand the ability. “Tesla is a rolling piece of software.” Similarly with phones vs Android/iPhone. Software is infinitely flexible, and flexibility is competitive advantage. "We serve software people who see the world differently." says Jeff.

Buy vs Build - Softwares gives us the ability to say "yes we can do that". In the past, we would buy things. We can build things now. Build is no longer a dirty word. It's good to build! 

Joe McCorkle from RealPage

He came to Twiliocon 2012 to shut down their Twilio account, because he thought the company was paying too much bills to Twilio. But now, Realpage uses Twilio to manage aquisitions, leads, rent collections and tracking. Now they have a good problem- they have 500 developers to train, to use Twilio ;)

Launched “Request Inspector”, "App Monitor" and "App Monitor Alerts"

As Twilio becomes used to build business critical apps, you want confidence in what you do. You cannot manage what you can't see. Therefore, they are launching Request Inspector, which enables deep inspection of every webhook request. App Monitor shows errors, warnings, error analytics, real-time dashboard and drill downs of what’s going on in your account. App monitor Alerts can watch your app for specific errors and fire a webhook if they occur more than N per timeframe.

Use case: Call centers

What you bought today is based on technology 15 years old and not flexible. Facebook generation call center agents are not amused by 15 year old "enterprise" software. So Twilio enabled call centers have everything in the browser - right down to full call centers running on a ChromeBox.

Launched "Twilio SIP", "Concatenated SMS" and "Picture messaging MMS", and CEO Livecoding!

Twilio SIP announced, full communication between Twilio and any infrastructure, outbound and inbound. "There's so much you can do in the cloud with software. SIP is the key to bridging these two worlds." Concatenated SMS enables 1600 character SMS. New SMS pricing is $0.0075 each (3/4 of a penny) in the US.

"A picture is worth one thousand words. We are visual creatures. Therefore, we are introducing Twilio Picture Messaging with MMS." And to show that the integration is easy, he already made an app, goes on livecoding on stage in front of 2,000 programmers audience. Nice! “It’s CEO code, don’t judge me” :D What was the app about? They made a nice swag T-shirt, and he wants to make sure nobody takes more than 1 of this limited edition T-shirt, so he wrote an app to control distribution. Pricing is 2 cents to send, and 1 cent to receive.


Live demo of Home Depot, Eloqua and Salesforce

I especially liked the conversation with Salesforce:
Jeff "How long did it take to integrate?"
Salesforce "1 hour to integrate... actually 20 minute of coding. We're in the cloud. You're in the cloud. As long as we have APIs, there's nothing we can't do."

You can see the summary of announcements on this post: TwilioCon 2013: Announcing Picture Messaging, Price Drop, Business Critical Apps and More

Someone tweeted "Twiliocon is show not tell", and I agree! Twiliocon is also about "doers" and they had the word "doer" all over the venue. Information desk was actually called "Doer bar". And while we were listening to keynote, audience was already reading documents about the new APIs and started to make apps, launching and tweeting while the conference continues. I liked that energy!!


Speaking of swags, their swags were geeky too- they had many things in the swag bag, but among them they had portable power strips with 4 ports (yes, we need power and wifi. It's like oxygen and water...) and cable organizer. Very useful.

Yep, they're absolutely using it!


They had many interesting installations.

At the center of the venue, there was a huge bars up above, and you can text "GLOW" to control it.



If you've been to the new Exploratorium, you've probably seen this Twilio-powered installation "TEXT FISH"- in fact I saw this in the museum a while ago. If you text "fish", you can fish- and you need to fish 3 fishes a day to keep alive, but not to over-fish so that you don't kill the ecosystem.


"SPIN" is an installation that visualizes Twilio's messages on a map, to show from where to where the calls are made, and you can move the globe using Leap Motion.


There were the "MOTEs" all over the venue, in collaboration with Google Cloud Platform team and the Data Sensing Lab. These motes collect various data of the venue including temperature, humidity, pressure, light, air quality, motion, and audio noise levels so that they can visualize those data later on.


Developer Demo Booths and Sponsor Booths


My friend and colleague +Kim Cameron explaining about the mote.


You can play with Leap Motion at the booth.




But that's not really developer friendly, is it. It's like user friendly. If you are a developer, you want to install it in your computer, run it, hack it, and make apps for it. So at Twiliocon, you get to do that. Of course I tried!





We didn't have time to code an app, but we saw livecoding instead ;)

Keynotes and sessions

I liked the way they set up the sessions too. It wasn't just about Twilio's products. From keynote to sessions to booths etc... they had a consistent message how softwares can change the world for the better, and since Twiliocon is all about software developers, people in this audience can change the world.

Day 1 Keynote by Jeff Pulver, a founder of the VoIP standard and Vonage talking about his life experiences. "Listen, Connect, Share, and Engage. Live your passion - you don't need a business model. Allow yourself to believe."

Dr. Mae Jemison the astronaut gave a keynote about 100 Year Starship project - accelerator for interstellar missions. "We have to re-evaluate what we think we know. We believe making an extraordinary future is the best way to improve the present."

TwilioCon 2013: Jeff Pulver and Mae Jemison Talk The Future of (Interstellar) Communications

Software developers changing how governments work, how houses work, how businesses work, how communications work.... following is an example of how houses and offices can be modified using softwares.


I couldn't join Day2 since I needed to go to the office, but was happy to watch some of their livestream- listening to hear Twilio is launching Twilio.org,  to enable nonprofits access to communications technologies that help make a greater impact on the world.
Polaris Project to make a world without slavery and human trafficking,

Tim O'reilly keynote about Code for America:

1. Apps of the future do less (design = choice)
2. Maker culture comes to dominate, so platforming matters.
3. Software above the level of a single device
4. Harness network effects in data, rethink workflows and experiences
5. Rethink workflows
"We need to rethink the way world should work, instead of optimizing the way the world does work."
closing the loop: what people are doing and what they actually want an app to do.
"Create more value than you capture. Build something that matters."
"Idealism is great marketing"
"Let's think about how, in everything we do, we're weaving a better world. All companies should have positive impact & every individual is obliged to work on improvement of our society."

Mitch Kapor's keynote about his experience, in the early 1980s built Lotus culture to have care and concern for the welfare of others, culture of inclusion. Follow your heart as well as your business interests, and try to be a force for good in the world. "The world that I want to live in is one in which good corporate citizenship is the universal norm."

Mitch asks entrepreneurs
1- Are you making the world a better place? How? What are your metrics?
2- Are you leveling the playing field or exacerbating the gaps?
3- Does your team and company culture reflect the market you're serving?

Closing keynote:

Ethan Kurzweil: "There is a Developer Renaissance going on. Developers are the cool kids now. Developers are building world changing products."

Josh Stein, DFJ: "Development has moved from being a cost center to being a revenue generator. If you are not serving your customers well, someone else will. The Internet of things is driving the API economy that we're seeing. Software people are revolutionizing the world."

TwilioCon Day 2 Recap: Messages For Good and The Rise Of Software People

Hacker Olympics

I've written a separate blog post about Hacker Olympics, it was really fun!

More fun!

Popcorn stand.


Lots of snacks.


Lots of mingling spaces.


Day0 - Workshop Day Evening

I had to miss Day 0, since I was working in the office, but I was able to visit the venue a bit in the evening, to pick up the badges and see the atmosphere of the workshops, catch up with my colleagues at Google Developers Cloud booth, and meet many developers in the hallway.

Twilio Quest

It looks like they called the workshop a "Twilio Quest"and it includes gamification aspect- similar to codelabs, you are to tackle the same programs, but there is no materials so you need to figure out how to solve. Based on what programming language you use, you sit in the "guild" seats- though you are not really in a guild in a sense of MMORPGs ;)


They had JavaScript Guild, Python Guild, PHP Guild, Java Guild and Ruby Guild, .NET Guild.



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer. -Fumi Yamazaki