It seems to be a favorite pastime of the web to moan about the uptime of Twitter. In March of 2008, their uptime according to pingdom was a mere 99.57%. Wah, wah, wah. Sure it could be better. But I’ve felt more connection problems with AIM that I’ve had with Twitter. Even my Comcast network connection seem less reliable than Twitter at times.
That doesn’t exonerate them from building a more stable service. Especially not considering that they have five million dollars of other people’s money to do it with and a few years of practice.
But I for one am pretty damn impressed with what they’ve managed to accomplish so far. They’ve built a simple service that tons of people have become so dependent on that the slightest flicker of the light sends them into terminal withdrawal symptoms. Talk about building something people want!
Now the problem, of course, is that they have a hit on their hands, but there’s no obvious paths to turn that hit into dollar bills (short of waiting until someone offers that 10x+ that their investors probably are savaging for).
If the growth in Twitter usage was mirrored by an equal growth in Twitter profits, the necessary investments needed for infrastructure would be self-evident. But when the money pot is an ever-shrinking gift-with-strings-attached, you can’t just blow your way out of the issue with cash.
Regardless, this is in my opinion the best of what we get from the startup culture of the valley today. An awesome new way to communicate, built very quickly, and addictive enough that people get a little loopy in their expectations. I want my free beer cold, gawd dammit!
So cheers to the Twitter guys. You guys deserve a world of credit for making that Something Awesome. Now please figure out a way to make scaling problems a cause for celebration (more users = more money) rather than condolences (more users = less money).