Q. What motivated Twilio to launch a public health dashboard and to put resources into transparency?
Twilio's goal is to bring the simplicity and transparency common in the world of web technologies to the opaque world of telephony and communications. Just as Amazon AWS and other web infrastructure providers give customers direct and immediate information on service availability, Stashboard allows Twilio to provide a dedicated status portal that our customers can visit anytime to get up-to-the-minute information on system heath. During the development of Stashboard, we realized how many other companies and businesses could use a simple, scalable status page, so we open sourced it! You can download the source code or fork your own version.
Q. What roadblocks did you encounter on the way to launching the public dashboard, and how did you overcome them?
The most difficult part of building and launching Stashboard was creating a robust set of APIs that would encompass Twilio's services as well as other services from companies interested in running an instance of Stashboard themselves. We looked at existing status dashboards for inspiration, including the Amazon AWS Status Page and the Google Apps Status Page, and settled on a very general design independent from Twilio's product. The result is a dashboard that can be utilized to track a variety of APIs and services. For example, a few days after the release of Stashboard, MongoHQ, a hosted MongoDB database provider launched their own instance of Stashboard to give their customers API status information.
Q. What benefits have you seen as a result of your transparency initiatives?
Twilio's rapid growth is a great example of how developers at both small and large companies have responded to Twilio's simple open approach. The Twilio developer community has grown to more then 15,000 strong and we see more and more applications and developers on the platform everyday. Twilio was founded by developers who have a strong background in web services and distributed systems. This is reflected in our adoption of open standards like HTTP and operational transparency with services like http://status.twilio.com. Another example is the community that has grown up around OpenVBX, a downloadable phone system for small business Twilio developed and open sourced a few week ago. We opened OpenVBX to provide developers the simplest way to hack, skin, and integrate it with their own systems.
Q. What is your hope with the open source dashboard framework?
The main goal of Stashboard is to give back to the community. We use open source software extensively inside Twilio and we hope that by opening up Stashboard it will help other hosted services and improve the whole web services ecosystem.
Q. What would you say to companies considering transparency in their uptime/performance?
Openness and transparency are key to building trust with customers. Take the telecom industry as an example. They are known for being completely closed. Customers rarely love or trust their telecom providers. In contrast, Twilio brings the open approach of the web to telecom and the response has been truly amazing. When customers know they can depend on a company to provide accurate data concerning performance and reliability, they are more willing give that company their business and recommend it to their peers. Twilio's commitment to transparency and openness has been a huge driver of our success and Stashboard and projects like OpenVBX are just the beginning.