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 fanfare about "investors forcing the founder to quit". While there are lots of articles talking about that aspect, I, however, want to focus on my experience as an ex-Twilion and share my previous journey at Twilio and why I quit and how I decided to start my own company, Reddio.

Twilio, at its core, makes telecommunication accessible to developers with its easy-to-use APIs. Back in 2006, when I had to integrate SMS with a webpage, it could have easily taken a month. First, I had to find a reliable open source SMS gateway and then I had to run the gateway on the server. Then, I had to talk to Telcos to sign a deal with them so as to integrate their SMS gateway to my server. It was only then that I could finally push the SMS from the webpage to customers' phone. It took way longer than necessary to do this. When I found out that it only takes 5 minutes to get this complicated procedure with Twilio, I was sold. With its sleek experience and robustness, Twilio made it so easy. After I joined Twilio as their 3rd employee in APAC as a Solution Engineer, I got the chance to talk to developers like myself and their feedback were always consistent – they just love Twilio.

I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Jeff when I was doing my onboarding in San Francisco and he asked a lot of questions about the APAC developers; What kind of rules are they implementing in their own company, how do they assess technical decisions, how the ecosystem there look like, etc. He was very eager to understand the market and wanted to figure out the best way for Twilio to expand to the region. Everyone in San Francisco office was very determined and self-driven, even the owner of Twilio. We had tremendous growth in APAC afterwards, almost doubling the revenue every year and we all felt that we belonged at Twilio. I am also lucky enough to find my passion as a technology advocate when I built tools for developers during my tenure at Twilio.

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

However, after the Twilio IPO, revenue number became the only goal and things started to change and so I decided to leave Twilio two years after its IPO. After leaving, a personal question burned within me on how I can find another company similar to the earlier, developer-first Twilio to work for. I found none. Since that was the case, I thought to myself, why don't I build another Twilio of my own? I saw quite a few ex-Twilion follow this path after they left Twilio too.

Throughout the industries, Web3 came into my view as it's still in the early stages of the industry. Like Telco engineers in the early days, Web3 developers have to spend months to learn and code in order to make sure the non-essential items work when they should be spending most of their time on essential tasks for their primary business. This was especially prominent for the App and Game developers.

Actually, even the company name Reddio was inspired by Twilio. That's how much I love Twilio and how eager I am to build another company like Twilio, from the company culture to the way they develop and deliver products.

Our company zoomed into Web3 and talked to developers on their struggle. Reddio is building tools to solve their needs. That's how Reddio ended up with our own zk Layer 2, wrapped up with different APIs, so that developers can easily integrate Web3 without the need to learn any blockchain programming language, such as Solidity or Cairo. Meanwhile, we are focused on making our products easy-to-use, stable, and scalable. From there, we continued to build and received recognition from Paradigm and have their funding to support us building our products and fueling our growth.

I followed Jeff quite consistently and read his book 'Ask Your Developer' when it was released. 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 I look forward to his next mission when he is ready to reveal it. In the meantime, ex-Twilions like myself have been building our own Twilio along the way and I cannot wait to see how things come together and more ex-Twilion companies come to life.