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"Twilio would never be able to keep up with Tropo on features" -Danielle Morrill, Twilio head marketing

edit: to downvoter, i just wanna hear from danielle himself about this qoute, no harm mean

Danielle said this during the API panel moderated by Thomas Howe at ITExpo West in October this year. When asked of the differences, she said that Twilio was focused on growing the market and making it easy for web devs instead of trying to keep up with Tropo on features. Many itexpo sessions are recorded. There may be audio or video of this somewhere.

That is very different from saying we'd never be able to keep up on features.

It's stretched?

That is very different from saying, as you did above, that "This quote is completely fabricated." (it also wasn't a quote).

I'm not trying to start a flame war here. I like you (and the rest of Twilio) quite a bit. I admired what you said and the goal it represented: Focus on and attack a different market from a different angle than we are. Build on your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. I wish more companies would do that. No company can be good at everything.

You did say something very similar to what Diggz referenced (not "quoted"). Then you accused him of outright lying. That's just not cool at all.

I don't know how saying "Danielle Morrill said" is not a quote. But let the audience here, and the future, judge whether or not we "keep up". I think time will tell.

This quote is completely fabricated.

I was on the forum in October, representing Tropo, with Danielle at ITExpo West in LA moderated by Thomas Howe (http://thethomashowecompany.com/). Danielle did make the statement that Twilio could not, and would not, catch up with Tropo on features. Instead, Twilio would focus on simplicity for the broad web developer community.

I respect Danielle and Twilio for making this statement at the time. As it is clear today that Twilio has a wide gap with Tropo on features. Twilio's focus on their core strength, simplicity, was smart. 37Signals has pioneered the idea of less is more with great success (albeit with an eye to staying private without VC funding).

The issue is, I think Twilio has come to the realization that to compete in this space they need more depth of capability. Further, the ITExpo statement was made before Twilio received their latest round of funding. They may very well have changed strategy and now regret having made this statement.

It is much easier to close the gap on simplicity than it is a wide feature gap. We are working regularly to make Tropo simpler, while maintaining its deep feature set. We are built on a platform, PRISM, that allows us to focus on the platform features rather than internals allowing us to innovate rapidly.

A Twilio individual confirmed at CloudCamp QCon in San Francisco that they are working to replace Asterisk (http://asterisk.org) as their key telephony engine. Further evidence of this is that Twilio, for the first time, is working hard to hire telephony experts. Whereas previously they were proud that they did not have telephony experts in-house and would actually plug this as a benefit.

It will continue to be hard for Twilio to catch-up to Tropo, given that they are having to spend time replacing the core fabric that they built their platform on. I suspect that they are most likely targeting Freeswitch (http://freeswitch.org) since Asterisk SCF (http://www.asterisk.org/asterisk/scf) is still a nascent project. I wish them luck with that, as replacing your core telephony engine is no trivial task.

I'm Voxeo's CEO.

First - Danielle I have the utmost respect for you and the marketing momentum you've been able to build around Twilio. However, saying the "quote is completely fabricated" is itself is fabricated ;) It's not a quote - it's a reference to something you said at ITExpo west this year. Diggz wasn't there, but he (and I) were told by multiple people that you said it.

Voxeo is an extremely open and honest company. I mean extremely. I seriously doubt any single Voxeon would make this up, never-mind multiple Voxeons. It's personally important to me to resolve this because I feel the honor and honesty of Voxeo is being challenged when you say it's "completely fabricated". Are you claiming you said nothing at all like that?

Second, wether you now acknowledge saying it or not… to be frank, in my (and many other web-powered telephony industry vets) opinion it happens to be pretty darn true. Twilio has done a great job focusing on simplicity. Twilio is many great things - but Twilio is not innovative. I'm not trying to be a competitor or a jerk when I say that… I honestly have not seen a single technology innovation delivered by Twlio. If you disagree, please suggest a few and so I and others who have been doing this for ten years can openly and fairly respond.

I'll give you some examples of what I mean - compared to Voxeo. But I want to make it clear that this is not all about Voxeo. You could also make comparisons to TelMe, Bevocal, Telera, Motorola and several others who were around ten years ago. Voxeo is far from being the only company that invented and innovated the web telephony industry ten years ago:

1. Voxeo created and patented most of the technology and concepts Twilio uses today . in 2000, as shown here:


2. Like Voxeo, Twilio makes it easy for any web developer to create telephony applications, with a focus on lower cost and ease of use. Voxeo has done that for ten years, as shown from the archived Voxeo developer web site on August 19, 2000:


Sound like a familiar message?

3. Their are slides in Twilio's 2008-2009 investor presentation which are nearly an exact duplicate of Voxeo's 1999-2000 investor presentation. To be clear, I don't know if Twilio's founders saw our presentation but the business plan concepts are so similar that slides were nearly exactly duplicated. Down to the words and diagrams used.

4. Twilio leveraged "super angels" to help build marketing momentum. Although the term didn't exist back then, Voxeo's angel investors in 2000 included Eric Schmidt (now CEO of Google), Dale Fuller (then CEO of Borland), and David Orfao (then CEO of Allaire) ... they helped us build significant marketing momentum.

5. This is the first Voxeo example app in our docs, circa 2000:

<callxml> <text>Hello World</text> </callxml>

This is the first Twilio example in your docs, ten years later:

<Response> <Say>Hello Monkey</say> </Response>

All marketing BS and propaganda aside: Voxeo and Tropo.com are just way ahead of Twilio when it comes to innovation and features. Everything Twilio has today Voxeo had ten years ago. And Voxeo/Tropo have many features Twilio doesn't: voice recognition, open SIP access, Skype integration, universal API for voice / SMS / IM / Twitter / etc, open source web client access (phono.com), direct Ruby/PHP/Phython/Groovy script language support (no need to force everything into XML and back to get things done)… there is no way Twilio could keep up match Voxeo / Tropo innovation and features, because Twilio is ten years behind from the get-go. And Voxeo is investing more in new innovation and features today than ever.

I and the rest of Voxeo have always tipped our hats to Twilio when it comes to your marketing, modern web developer outreach, refocusing on simplicity, pricing models, etc. Seriously, hats off.

However, the singular thing that bugs me (and other industry vets) about Twilio is how Twilio pretends they invented all these features and is a really innovative company. I thought your comments and "tip of the hat" to Voxeo and Tropo on innovative features at ITExpo west was the first time Twilio has publicly been a bit honest about this. I'm honestly disappointed to see you may be returning to Twilio the party line. I hope that's not the case.

-Jonathan (CEO, Voxeo)

that why i put the quote here, to hear a response from you

:) thanks

Source? That sounds unlikely.

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