A radical Twitterectomy

Posted: 6 months ago

How’s your week going?

Twitter announced their new API strategy last week and simultaneously shut down my access to the v1 API. I don’t know if they shut down everyone, or just me. I have a support ticket in, but given the rounds of layoffs, I’m not holding my breath for a response.

So, the bottom line is that all the Twitter-dependent parts of the application (including registration and sign-in) are offline. Everything else is working fine, but not that.

So, that’s a problem.

Ok, let’s go to work, figure out it, sharpen our pencils as they say.

$504,000/year is the cover charge for the lowest non-toy level of access to the API.

I fired up QuickBooks. It turns out I don’t have an extra half-million dollars lying around.

Maybe this was yet another trial balloon. Maybe Twitter will walk it back.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to plan around whimsy.

At this point, even if they walked back the pricing, I don’t think I could do anything with them again. The trust is gone.

Well, the internet routes around damage. So shall I.

Here’s what I’m thinking: the underlying promise of a “newsfeed engine for the open web” is still valuable. (With my product manager hat on: the jobs to be done still exist and are underserved.)

I’m not changing Serendeputy’s “what” or “why,” only its “how.”

So, here’s what I’m going to do:

I’ll start with the Twitterectomy. It’s deeply integrated, so this is non-trivial.

Swapping out registration and login is straightforward, but needs to be done very carefully. For now, registration is closed. If you’re signed in, try not to sign out; if you’re signed out, drop me a line and I’ll get you in.

The harder bit is going to be rewriting the relevance engine. I wrote it for environment where Twitter exists and encourages API developers. That loss of signal will require a fairly low-level rethink.

The rest of the backend software – crawlers, classifiers, personalization engine, etc – is fine.

On the frontend, I need to rewrite some of the labels and prompts in the interface, and most of the copy everywhere.

I’m going to be gone with my family over April break, so this disgusting larval stage will probably be a few weeks. I’ll do everything I can do minimize this time, and I’ll send out an email when everything is back up to speed.

Until then, thanks for hanging in there with me while I’m tackling this. I really appreciate it.