Today, November 20th, 2020, marks 12 years since Twilio was born. We founded Twilio back in 2008 to provide a bridge between applications and the world of telephony. And we haven’t stood still – we’ve since expanded beyond communications to optimizing customer engagement and providing a unified view of the customer journey.
Along the way, we've also had more than a little fun. As we've grown, we've strived to maintain a culture where we can be ourselves, quirks and all – we call it the Twilio Magic. You can see it when we encourage live coding on the New York Stock Exchange floor, teach dogs to take selfies, or help automate weddings.
But one of our most hallowed traditions is a birthday tradition: every year on November 20th, we come up with creative ways to deliver confections to faces. Yes, really.
Follow along, and I'll tell you how we maintained the magic this year.
Maintaining traditions: belonging even when times are difficult
On one of our first birthdays – I can't recall if it was 2009 or 2010 – I had just wrapped up a speech to our young company, and we cut a birthday cake. Searching for a suitable cap for my talk, I cut a piece of cake for John, my co-founder – but decided not to hand it to him, and instead threw it in his face.
Ever since that birthday, John and I have maintained the roadrunner-and-coyote-esque tradition of one-upping each other with more and more elaborate schemes to fling carbohydrates in each others' general direction. (Here's our birthday in 2019).
Build a socially-distanced dessert trebuchet
2020 has been an incredibly difficult year. With COVID-19's emergence on the global scene, Twilio – like so many companies around the world – has had to change how we do business. And that applies to our company traditions as well.
Here at Twilio, we're builders. And that applies to our traditions as well; 2020's restrictions in mind, John and I crafted a socially-distant version of our sweet annual birthday custom: we built a cupcake trebuchet.
That's right – a few hundred dollars at the hardware store plus an open field guaranteed that this year would still include the honored dessert-face-merger we so love.
Twilio employees and our sweet tradition
Twilions currently span the globe – from Sydney to Bengaluru, Malmö to Bogata, New York to Vancouver, and everywhere in between. John and I challenged everyone to participate remotely in our birthday tradition as well.
- you need to have a sweet treat
- at the end it needs to end up smashed (on what or who is up to you)
Twilio's response? Well... see for yourself:
Staying ourselves during a difficult year
2020 has been an extremely challenging year. COVID-19 has affected all of us; we've lost loved traditions – and much worse: loved ones.
Silly traditions may seem quaint, but they help to keep a semblance of normality in tough times. Internally, we like to reinforce the message: stay ourselves. The world may never be the same, but keeping things a bit weird when times are tough grounds us and can help us keep our wits about us. So, I hope you'll agree: embrace the quirky and bring some levity to your day.
If you’re still curious about the Twilio Magic and want to know more about what makes us tick, check out our open positions.
Thank you for helping us celebrate our birthday – here's to 12 years. We can't wait to show you what we build next.