Twitter IPO was a success in late 2013. Social media, stock price, and market cap hype aside what else the company managed to accomplish in the few short years while getting there is most significant.
While People Were Watching
Twitter Bootstrap CSS became the predominate language of the Style for the web and elsewhere. How CSS does this technically is almost irrelevant.
Today if you run an “app” on a device, the odds are Bootstrap or a variant is in there. In Geoffrey Moore’s “Chasm” terms this was (and remains?) a tornado in the web development world with some obvious short-term winners and losers. Microsoft’s “adjustment” budget is staggering.
Twitter built Bootstrap to solve their chasm crossing problem for interface design.
None of the existing “lords of the phone or the Internet” were allowed by the others to win, so Twitter did? Yes and no.
Certainly none of Phone Lords wanted Twitter to win. With the virtues of Open software arguments aside this last December very few people or institutions bought Twitter stock for Bootstrap.
Some staff at Twitter focused on the execution of the solution for their chasm problem. That turns out to be what matters and is acceptable to everyone’s customers elsewhere.
We get a tornado. Are we stuck with Bootstrap? For a while…
The surety of that asset became more valuable than the asset itself.
Sorry to employ the technical financial and insurance term. The reduction of risk implied in it makes some sense to you…I hope.
I’d guess many a doctoral thesis from all the best business schools will analyze this 2013 socio-techno Black Swan (See Nicolas Taleb). Most will over rationalize, socialize, and quantize the causes. We already know the modified expectations of customers is key to all “tornado” market events.
The glyphs on your iPhone or Droid didn’t exist five years ago. Well they did - but not in the current form nor do they “mean” exactly the same thing. But NOW you know what they mean and what they do. A few million two-year-olds do to.
The associative memory of humans is chaotic, highly symbolic, and shared by somewhat mysterious means. It is intensely experiential. This expectation driven, heuristic chaos can be managed. All interface Makers believe this. Why? This process of reconstructing meaning happens all the time. That does have structure and process.
Typically we say, “People prefer there is an existing structure and process over the lack of one and they will avoid performing the tedious work to construct it themselves.”
It is important to recognize this statement neurologically is an explanatory mental post mortem. It says little about how that process happens.
It is Creativity
None the less the result is exactly we need…
Therefore there’s an app for that. There is Value to be had or not. Did we in the moment pay attention to the increasing value?
Rarely - and perhaps that’s a clue about what to pay attention to in the future.
A lot of us do keep doing the OLD work anyway because we don’t know what we don’t know.
Maybe we should fix that.
The Elephant in the Room
I believe there’s a reason (aside from the common programmer wiki speak and myth) why it’s called Twitter Bootstrap CSS and not Twitter Jackknife CSS.
I’d guess you have to be a data sampling distribution and Hadoop geek to get the probable inside joke.
The folks at Twitter are both. If I were them and trying to solve a standards problem, what would I do?
In our somewhat cloistered Autodesk world, the size and required multiple expressions of our “data” has always been a big problem. That is no longer true? Or rather can we solve the OLD problems by radically disruptive means that were not possible a short time ago? You Betcha.
A case in point - Autodesk was publicly hiring for the position of “City Modeler” in Shanghai, China last year.
What are you going to do and tweet? - Maybe a picture from your favorite noodle shop?
These days ya gotta to have dem MAD skills...