Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, here is !twetailer

On Tuesday March 9 evening, my partner Steven Milstein and I attended a Montreal NewTech event. As three other companies, Steven pitched our project !twetailer to a crowd of 30-40 people. After few closed presentations, it was our first public pitch and it went very well! Read Steven's blog post for the details.


I met Steven while working for IBM Rational. He was the Business Analyst while I was the Software Architect for the Web client of the Rational Portfolio Manager product. When Steven came to me with the Reverse Retailing idea, we agreed to develop it as a proof-of-concept for our own expertise.

We worked so well that we submitted our project to TechCrunch50 (TC50). If we were not among the 50 finalists, we passed the first selection round on 1000+ applicants and we had the chance to present it to Jason Calacanis during 15 minutes last August.

Boosted by the appreciation we got from Jason, we continued to focus on developing user stories and the corresponding code. We were ready to demo the full cycle early this January. Two months later, after many tests and fine tuning, we are opening !twetailer to broader audience!


!twetailer first objective is to “connect supply and demand”, specifically “connect consumers to retailers” in its first version.

Look at this original presentation to get the sense of !twetailer ;) We made it months ago but it's still very accurate. Don't miss the part describing the hub, starting at 3:00.

After the presentation, we got many feedback from the audience and most of our interlocutors got it right. Here is the interpretation of Max Maheu, the presenter of the SolidWild company:
  • Max: If I register my company and listen for the tags “3d printing prototype logo”, all people using !twetailer will get to me?
  • Me: Exactly. All demands posted with one or many corresponding tags in the Montreal area will be forwarded to you, will be routed to you for free ;)
  • ...
  • Me: At this stage, it's possible you'll get unrealistic demands, many of them with the #demo tag. But if you respond to them, that means if you propose something, your message will be routed back to the consumers and your business information will be displayed to them!
  • Max: It's like advertising my business then! Cool.
What's next?

As mentioned by Guy Kawasaki in Montreal in March 2009, we have chosen to "launch early and to correct progressively". If all the delivered features are fully functional, there is still a long road to go in delivering the full feature set.

At this step, we need to get users, that means consumers and retailers, playing with the system and giving us their feedback.

To collect the information, we have organize the community site, implemented with the excellent social software from Cynapse. To value the contributions, we have setup a Work-for-attribution protocol: any community member that makes a significant contribution will have his/her work publicly recognized. Any volunteer?

We need also to work on the marketing side:
  • The brand !twetailer seems too tightly related to Twitter, while using Twitter is just one among the various set of connectors taking to our engine.
  • If !twetailer initial targets are consumers and retailers in a public market, it can work with closed markets, where wholesalers communicate with manufacturers, for example. This aspect needs to be documented and illustrated.
  • To ensure a vibrant life to !twetailer, we have plan to open its API to third-party developers, a bit a-la Twitter. Closed friends have already accepted to develop clients (under the Work-for-Attribution CLA) that will exercise it, but we need a stronger communication there too.
Thanks a lot to our families and closed friends for encouraging us on the entrepreneurship path. Thanks to anyone for the feedback because they help us improving !twetailer.

Call to contributors

!twetailer is a big project with a development still growing, so there's a lot of room for anyone to showcase their knowledge!
  • If you're a developer with Java/JavaScript skills,
  • If you're a tester with automation experience,
  • If you're a UI designer & Interactivity specialist,
  • If you're marketer with a Web 2.0 & Social software experience,
  • If you're a simple consumer in touch with a vibrant community,
  • If you're a business owner looking for new ways to reach your customers,
  • Etc.
Don't hesitate to contact Steven (Steven@Twitter or or myself (Dom@Twitter or and we'll exchange on our community site at

A+, Dom

1 comment:

  1. Good concept! Like interactive yellow pages connecting clients with retailers. Might be a time saver too when shopping. Personnally, I am also interested in how we can share our wealth better through microcredit, bypassing the expensive banking system that does not like lending to the poor and corruption/administration that feed off the generosity of middle class folks trying to help the poor and destitute.