My name is Jon Gottfried and I joined Twilio as a Developer Evangelist to evangelise your apps. I was first introduced to Twilio by John Britton, and within minutes of visiting the website I realized that I had discovered something amazing. From the first time I used Twilio, ideas for apps started popping into my mind. But much to my surprise, nothing I could dream of matched what the Twilio community was creating.
One hackathon in particular sticks out to me. It was the April 2011 NYC Startup Weekend, and it was where Bridg.me was born. As many of you have undoubtedly experienced, organizing conference calls is often more trouble than it’s worth. You need to arrange for multiple people, some less tech-savvy than others, to all call the same number at the same time, and enter an obscure code sequence that may or may not ban them from the call if they mess up. What amazed me about Bridg.me was that in barely 24 hours, this rockstar hacker team was able to flip conferencing calling on its head and make it an enjoyable and simple experience. But their hack did not start out simple, it began with an unofficial Google Voice library and a hastily set up Asterisk server. After toying with this complex configuration for most of the first day, the hackers decided to start from the ground up using Twilio. In the few remaining hours of the hackathon, they were able to fully rewrite their app and present a live demo of their functional, fully automated conference calling app. I would never have thought of this concept in a million years, yet the great group of hackers behind Bridg.me was able to use Twilio to redefine the archaic, painful process of conference calling in barely 12 hours.
Since then, I’ve participated in a number of hackathons as a Twilio Ambassador, helped people out in the IRC channel, and even tried my hand at some of the Twilio contests. It’s hard to even find an app I’ve written in the past year that doesn’t have Twilio integration, I’m basically obsessed.
Yet before I discovered Twilio, I had never been brave enough to attempt building telephony apps. I’ve worked on many projects in any number of languages, but setting up an Asterisk server and getting SIP codes always seemed far too bizarre and unwieldy to even attempt. Like many of you, Twilio was my first experience with building voice and SMS functionality into my apps, and I fell in love with it.
Working at Twilio quickly became a no-brainer. I would get paid to write and teach about a product that I had so quickly become passionate about. What more could I ask for? So now, I am here for you. I am here to debug your applications in the middle of the night. I am here to write tutorials so clear that your AOL Client-using grandmother could understand them and build an SMS reminder app to feed her multitude of cats. But most importantly of all, I am here to evangelise your apps. Twilio developers continue to exceed my wildest expectations, and the best way to give thanks for your passion and investment in the community is to write about and talk about what you have built ad nauseum. Together, we can show the world the pure concentrated awesome that is Twilio and its developer community.