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Meet Jose de Castro

Jose de Castro.jpg

Jose recently joined Twilio as Chief Architect for Twilio Flex. Previously, Jose was the co-founder and CTO of Tropo followed by three years at Cisco where he led the team responsible for Webex for Developers and Webex AppHub Marketplace.

We recently sat down with Jose to hear about his career and why he joined Twilio.

It seems that you’ve spent your career building communications platforms. Can you share what took you down this path?

I've been obsessed with software platforms since the mid-90s. As a lover of technology and design, I can of course appreciate the polish of a BMW M850i or Bang & Olufsen A9, but I've never been able to shake the idea that great platforms have a multiplicative effect far beyond that of any finished product. Also, building software for other developers is just plain fun.

At the same time, I was smitten with a fascination for telephony and communications technologies at a very young age. I did my share of phone phreaking back in the day and wrote an early VoIP client from scratch (from the audio codecs all the way down to the RTP stack).as a hobby. To this day, I can’t help but be in awe when I pick up the phone and speak with a relative halfway around the world. It feels like magic.

I guess it’s these two passions combined that sent me down this path.

What made you want to join Twilio?

Jeff Lawson, Twilio’s CEO, is a passionate leader. His commitment to his employees and customers is evident in how he talks about Twilio and its mission. Even as a competitor I was inspired by that.

In October of last year I attended SIGNAL, Twilio’s annual developer and customer conference. I was blown away by the scale and the energy coming from the attendees, the staff, and the dozens of partners showing off their Twilio API integrations. My work takes me to a number of conferences, but SIGNAL was somehow different. More than a conference, it felt like a family reunion.

At SIGNAL, I had a chance to meet with Jeff. We talked about the state of the industry, where we each saw opportunities, and Jeff shared his vision for Twilio Flex and the potential it has to completely disrupt an industry that has remained relatively stagnant for over a decade. While the legacy vendors are busy adapting their workloads to the cloud, Al Cook and the Flex team have completely reimagined the customer engagement journey.

What really sealed the deal, though, is much more fundamental. Twilio is the market leader in voice and video platforms and its values around developer experience, customer service and attention to detail are 100% in line with my own. After experiencing SIGNAL and better understanding Jeff’s vision, I have no doubt Twilio will have its place alongside Salesforce, Apple’s iOS, and Amazon Web Services as one of the great platforms of our time. Why wouldn't I want to be a part of that?

The Flex programmability model has caused quite the stir. What’s your take on promise of “application platforms” and their potential to disrupt the way brands engage with their customers?

That’s the billion dollar question now, isn’t it? Our approach to Flex programmability sits on the shoulders of early platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Excel with their scriptability, add-ons and infinite personalization. These platforms have paved the way by creating an ecosystem of developers and service providers whose sole purpose is to extend their applications; producing tremendous value for everyone in the chain.

That said, Flex is different in one fundamental way: Flex is built on top of a set of cloud-native building blocks that are themselves programmable and already adopted by more than 2 million developers around the world. Add to that the recent SendGrid acquisition and the numbers speak for themselves. Twilio is uniquely positioned to own a large share of the customer engagement market focused on brands and end-to-end customer journeys.

OK, I have to ask. Tabs or spaces?

Ha! I’d love it if tabs rendered equally everywhere, but they don’t... so spaces.

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