Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Is it cool to dis Twitter?

I don't know about you but I'm getting a little fed up with hearing about how hard it is for the guys at Twitter to scale their service. What's recently tipped the balance for me was the call to the community for assistance with their architectural problems: Twittering About Architecture.

In an interview with the founders (Scoble Interviews Twitter Founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone) they appear quite candid about the problems they're having but also appear to contradict the above blog post by saying they have ex-senior Google engineers and plenty of VC cash in the bank and don't need anyone else.

During the interview the founders admit to getting out of their depth technically when Scoble probes a bit deeper into the architecture and I wonder if that is part of their problem, the technical people don't have enough power. If they did maybe they would have recognised that twitter is a messaging system earlier.

It's a neat service but I'm perplexed as to why the community is giving them so much leeway.

As soon as VCs get involved, the notion of altruism quickly exits stage left, they've invested to make money so why should the rest of us help out.

I can only guess that it's just not cool to give them a hard time.

I, like probably most messaging system architects, reckon my team and I could have a pretty good stab at building it properly. The challenges they are facing are very similar to ours. Developers of content based web apps often underestimate the complexities of messaging systems,

That said, the most robust and technically excellent systems are useless if no one uses them. What ever magic juice twitter has got in it's lunchbox is certainly giving them plenty of time to get it fixed.

They just better hope it doesn't run out before the bell rings and people have to get back to class.

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