Twitter Acquires Yes, Names Startup's CEO New VP of Product
By Shirley Siluk / CIO Today. Updated December 02, 2016.
Right after acquiring a small startup called Yes, Twitter appointed the company's CEO as its new vice president of product. Twitter has been without an executive in that position since former product VP Kevin Weil departed in January to lead the product team at Facebook's Instagram.
Twitter CTO Adam Messinger announced the new hire of Keith Coleman (pictured above) and the Yes acquisition in a tweet yesterday. He noted that the other members of the Yes team -- reportedly numbering a half-dozen -- will also be joining Twitter.
Coleman founded Yes, which created the apps Frenzy and wyd (what are you doing), two years ago. Prior to that, he spent 10 years with Google, serving as the lead for products including Gmail, Inbox and Gchat. Financial terms and other details about the acquisition were not provided by either Twitter or Yes.
Mission To 'Connect the World at Scale'
"Our team has always admired Twitter, a product that brings the whole world closer," Yes said yesterday in a post announcing the acquisition. "Twitter also speaks to our love of working at a global scale. Prior to forming Yes, our team spent their careers building products like Gmail, Android, PayPal and others that serve hundreds of millions of people, and we're excited to bring our efforts to connecting the world at a huge scale."
Launched with a goal to "build products to bring people closer to one another," Yes created an app for iOS and Android devices called Frenzy that allows users to quickly plan get-togethers with friends, while Wyd provides a way to instantly see friends' photo and video statuses.
In yesterday's post, Yes said it would be shutting down its two apps in the coming weeks so that it can focus entirely on its new efforts. "We are sad to see them go, but excited about the future," the company said.
Twitter's Ongoing Product Concerns
It remains to be seen what changes, if any, Coleman and the rest of the Yes team can bring to Twitter, which has been struggling on multiple fronts. While it's popular with journalists, celebrities and other organizations for sharing information, especially about breaking news developments, the microblogging site has for some time been working to make its service easier for a wider audience to use and understand.
Upon releasing its third-quarter financial results in late October, Twitter also announced it would reduce its global workforce by about 9 percent to "create greater efficiency as we move toward our goal of driving toward GAAP profitability in 2017." The move is expected to save the company between $10 million and $20 million.
In its Q3 letter to shareholders, Twitter said that recent product improvements such as notifications and relevance improvements in users' timelines had led to accelerating rates of growth in daily active usage.
"While our eﬀorts are beginning to drive growth in audience and engagement, we believe there is still signifcant opportunity ahead," according to the letter. "To capture this large opportunity, and drive daily active usage across the millions of people at the top of our funnel each day, we're refining our core service in four key areas: onboarding, the home timeline, notifications and tweeting."
A number of observers have already noted that Coleman will have his work cut out for him as he takes the lead for product development at Twitter. Those observers have point out that since Coleman started his Twitter account in March 2007, he has written just under 150 tweets. In the past 24 hours, he has added two new tweets, including one that said, "I'm excited to announce our team is joining Twitter. Can't wait to work with @jack, @adam_messinger & team! First day is Monday -- let's go!"