Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson Stepped Down, Twilions Follow His Path

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson Stepped Down, Twilions Follow His Path

Two weeks ago, Twilio co-founder Jeff Lawson stepped down as CEO. This story has more than the usual "investors forcing the founder to quit". There are lots of articles talking about that, however, I want to focus on my experience as ex-Twilion, my journey at Twilio, why I quit Twilio and started my own company, Reddio.

Twilio at its core is to make telecommunication assessable to developers with easy-to-use APIs. When I was developer, and tried to integrate SMS into a Web back in 2006, I had to find the quality open source SMS gateway, ran it on the server then talked to Telcos to sign a deal with them and integrate their SMS gateway to my server then we can push the SMS from the Web to customers' phones, it can easily takes a month. When I found out Twilio, it takes only 5 mins to get this complicated procedure done with very sleek experience, it's so robust, you forget about Twilio running for you. After I joined Twilio as 3rd employee in APAC as Solution Engineer, I got the chance to talk to more developers like me, the feedback from them are consistent, they just love Twilio.

I got my luck to have lunch with Jeff when I was doing my onboarding in San Francisco, he asked a lot of questions about the APAC developers, what kind of rules they are playing in their company, how they make the technical decisions, how the ecosystem there look like, etc. He is very eager to understand the market and want to figure out the best way for Twilio to expand to the region. Everyone in San Francisco office is very determined and self-driven to get things done and being an owner of Twilio. We had a tremendous growth in APAC afterwards, it's like double the revenue every year, and we all feel we belong to Twilio. I am also lucky enough to find my passion as a technology advocate to build tools for developers throughout the years at Twilio.

3 People APAC Team Won the Twilio's Best Team in 2016

However, after Twilio went IPO, when revenue number become the only goal, things start to change a bit, and I decided to leave Twilio two years after its IPO. My question came immediately was how I can find another company like 4-year ago Twilio to work with, and I found none. Since that's the case, why don't I build another Twilio, and I saw quite a few ex-Twilion follow this path after they left Twilio too.

Throughout the industries, Web3 came into my view, it's still early stage for the industry, developers like Telco engineers in the early days, they have to spend months time to learn and code in order to make the non essential work done compared to their main business, esp. for the App and Game developers. Actually even the company name Reddio is a bit similar to Twilio, that's how much I love Twilio and how eager I am to build another Twilio, from product, culture and team perspective.

We zoomed into Web3, talked to developers on their struggle and how Reddio can build tools for their needs. That's how we ended up doing our own zk Layer 2, wrapped up with APIs, so that any developers can integrate Web3 without the need to learn any blockchain programming language, Solidity or Cairo, meanwhile make the product easy-to-use, stable and scalable at its core. From there, we started to build and got recognition from Paradigm and have their funding to support us building the product and fuel the growth.

I followed Jeff quite consistently, read his book 'Ask Your Developer', when released, his recommendation on the book to read like 'Made to Stick'. I have learnt a lot from him and Twilio, at this juncture I can only wish him all the best for his future adventure, and look forward to his next mission revealed. Meanwhile, ex-Twilio like me have been building more Twilio on the way, and I cannot wait to see how things come together and more companies like Twilio built by Twilions come to life.