The Owl’s Nest: Inside Twilio
Twilio is changing how people feel about going to work and is well on its way to becoming a prime example of a workplace where people can do the best work of their careers, and where diverse talent is not only sought after, it’s embraced and nurtured.
The company has taken its workplace diversity and inclusion commitment a step further by setting some ambitious goals around recruiting, equitable pay and promotions, and cultivating a company-wide sense of belonging. In fact, when Twilio celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2023, it's aiming for every Twilion to feel that they belong.
Twilio believes that having a diverse workforce brings unique ideas to new prototypes. And when employees feel included, not only will exceptional talent come to the company, they’ll be happier and stay longer. “You can spend a lot of money on just recruiting and bringing people through the door; but, if you …
The house lights darkened. Drums began to play from backstage. Strings warmed up the orchestra pit. Suddenly there were the words I had secretly been waiting for. The ones that the average American still gets wrong twenty years later, but loves to unashamedly sing. "Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba." The introduction to the “Circle of Life” was ringing throughout the auditorium.
I found myself in a parade of 750 pounds of silicone rubber fashioned into Zulu costumes, 18-foot giraffes, flocks of birds in the mezzanine and 6-foot elephants walking through the aisles. The entire auditorium became the stage. The floor opened up to expose Pride Rock and Simba's dedication. My inner child awoke. I completely gave in to experiencing "The Lion King" on Broadway.
“Dad, don’t we eat the antelope?
Yes, Simba. But let me explain.
When we die, our bodies become the grass.
The antelopes eat the grass.
So we …
Businesses want to be where their customers are and popular messaging apps are those places today. Facebook Messenger, WeChat, LINE, Viber and other popular messaging apps have already rolled out APIs that businesses can use today. But until very recently, there was one notable holdout—WhatsApp.
More than 1.5 billion people globally use WhatsApp everyday to talk to friends and family as well as for work and collaboration, and in August this year WhatsApp launched the highly anticipated WhatsApp Business API. Businesses have been clamoring for an officially supported way to communicate with WhatsApp users for years now. The excitement is more than justified.
WhatsApp is a unique messaging platform with end-to-end encryption …
There are a few technical interview strategies everyone knows: communicate your thoughts, give yourself time to think, and keep calm. Absent among these, of course, is coming up entirely blank for a question. So when in the interview for an engineering internship my manager asked, “What experience do you have with distributed systems?” I took a deep breath and, cringing a little, replied, “None, yet. But I’m smart and I learn fast, and I’m interested to learn by working in one.” This was true. I’d been curious about the subject for a while, and figuring it wouldn’t hurt to try, had worked up the courage to apply to a role for which I didn’t hit every “ideal qualification” checkbox. (Take that, tech gender gap!) And to my surprise and relief, I moved forward – all the way to San Francisco, to a spot on Twilio’s Cloud Orchestration team.
I had drifted through a broad variety of careers from Retail to Marketing, Professional Rider to Personal Trainer but never quite found the right fit for me. Yet the moment I decided to change career from Pilates teacher to software engineer I knew it was the right decision.
A little bit of context
My father passed away suddenly in 2013 and I was faced with the realisation that life is too short to traverse without purpose.
This caused my whole outlook on life to change, I became more daring and confident whilst becoming more analytical about my own situations.
At the time of my dad’s passing I’d been running a successful Pilates studio from a shed in a friend’s back garden. It could accommodate just four people in each class so with my new-found bravery I seized an opportunity to use my savings and open commercial premises.
I planned to …
Want to Be A More Privacy-Aware Developer for Data Privacy Day? Think of Personal Information like Uranium
Sunday, January 28th is Data Privacy Day. And, I know the best way for Twilio to celebrate the day would be with a post on best practices for handling nuclear reactor fuel. Kidding. In all seriousness, much of Data Privacy Day is focused on building awareness among consumers about how they can protect their privacy on the internet – a noble cause. But what about a little awareness-building for you, the developers – the doers that build that internet?
Now, I’m no nuclear physicist, but I am Twilio’s Associate General Counsel and head up our privacy program. So, let me plead my case that if you want to become a more privacy-aware developer (and who doesn’t?!), one way to get into the right frame of mind is to think of handling personal …
Twilio engineers are constantly working on improving our core services to meet or exceed 5 nines of availability. A system’s capacity for self-healing when a fault occurs is a key measure of achieving high availability. Recently, Twilio used Chaos Engineering to close the gap and eliminate the need for human intervention for common faults involving our core queueing-and-rate-limiting system, Ratequeue.
Twilio empowers customers to make 100’s of concurrent API requests. However, your messages may be unexpectedly rate-limited, such as carrier regulations (US long codes), contractual limitations (US short codes), or technological (e.g. capacity). As a safeguard, Twilio automatically queues outbound messages for delivery. Each Twilio phone number gets a separate queue and messages are dequeued at rate depending on the contract.
Ratequeue is an internally-developed distributed queueing system designed for simultaneously rate-limiting dequeue rates for many ephemeral queues. Each sender ID (e.g. phone number, short code, Alphanumeric …
TwilioQuest is our developer training curriculum disguised as a retro-style video game. While you learn valuable skills for your day job, you get to earn XP and wacky loot to equip on your 8-bit avatar.
Today we’ll pull back the curtain and show the code that the Developer Education team wrote to create TwilioQuest.
Meet Wagtail, a Python & Django Based CMS
TwilioQuest is full of content. A lot of content.
There are missions for nearly all of Twilio’s products, with each mission containing many different objectives. To manage all this content, we needed a content management system (CMS). Luckily, the Twilio documentation site is built on a Python & Django-based CMS called Wagtail, so we already had a tool we were familiar with and ready to build on.
We did have a few experienced Python & Django developers on the team, but others were completely new to the …
In just under a week we will be hosting SIGNAL London for the second time with even more talks, hands-on learning, live demos and the first ever European $BASH.
Every single one of the talks at SIGNAL London has been carefully selected, here’s the full schedule. But if I were to choose, these are the talks that I’m personally most excited about:
[11:15] Sharpening my tools
We all know how important 2FA is to keep all your logins and data secure. With most 2FA being done via SMS messages, hackers a few months ago managed to use an exploit on the SS7 Network to hack a bank. In his session, B. Byrne will talk about this vulnerability and ways to improve an SMS integration to make it work best for 2FA.
[11:55] Serverless is all the rage
Back at SIGNAL SF 2017, we announced Functions that let you …
Twice a year, Twilio publishes a transparency report to inform our community of how many government requests for information we received, how we responded to the requests, and how we notified the affected users. You can find Twilio’s reports, including the one for the First Half of 2017, on our website and on Github.
When viewed across industries, transparency reports provide insight on important public policy considerations around civil rights, data privacy and public safety. A prime example of this is how companies, including Twilio, discuss the privacy and free speech concerns caused by National Security Letters.
In accordance with the USA Freedom Act of 2015, the US Department of Justice has recently notified some companies that the nondisclosure order on some National Security Letters they received had expired. As a result, some companies were able to confirm that they had in fact received National Security Letters over a …