Twilio IPO: Rise of the Next 100M Developers

What API’s Mean For the Rest of Us…

Today Twilio exceeded expectations with an IPO which priced them at over $1 billion.

Everyone Can Code without Code

Well, some people are saying that this proves that developers are the future of business and while they are certainly an indispensable asset as more and more business turn to the cloud, what about the rest of us? What about the admins and the marketers and those who are equally important to a business but cannot code?

Developers shouldn’t be the only ones who can take advantage of API’s because while they are great to have (we’re very happy to have all of ours!) they are hard to come by. As more of our business functions rely on disparate SaaS services, Citizen developers are finding ways to empower themselves and connect their apps. They want a solution that is customizable in a way that would require a developer but…without a developer. 

Salesforce platform was a pioneer here — the first cloud app that allowed a non-coder (“admin”) to customize the app, create new databases and workflows and build reports. Over my tenure at Salesforce, I saw so many lives and careers transformed as people who didn’t view themselves as “technical” started building & customizing apps — becoming the go-to person for their companies. 

Cloud Enables Apps without Code

Cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Azure and others allow developers to get away from the business of day to day provisioning and management of servers. 

But cloud app platforms like Salesforce, Box, Twilio, etc. hide even the code layer behind clean APIs — using platforms like Workato you can stitch together a workflow that calls these apps to do things like creating leads, deleting files, initiating phone calls etc. 

You don’t need to know what a SIP server is, you don’t need to deploy it to an app server — with Twilio API, you simply pass the right parameters and a phone call or a text message goes out.

The new tool box includes:

  • Salesforce — the CRM platform for customer & account related apps
  • — storage platform 
  • Twilio — all you need to manage all applicant interactions entirely via SMS
  • Google Forms— interactive questions and answers show up in Google Sheets
  • Workato — a powerful no-code platform to automate workflows across these apps

The Next Big Investment Opportunity

Software is eating the world but we don’t have enough developers to eat the world fast enough. Enabling the next 100M people who will build the apps that automate our daily work, connect our mobile apps and customize our reports has the potential to be a bigger business than the multi-billion dollar IT stack.

Just take one simple example.

Many companies rely on a constant stream of millennial temp workers to keep their service operations going. If your company is often hiring and training temp workers, then you know that it can be a real challenge when it comes to the following questions: How do you make it really easy for a large number of applicants to apply? How can you streamline the high volume screening process? How can you automate the onboarding process? Without a developer at your disposal, you’ll need a different set of tools. Here’s how one citizen developer did it without ever having to write a single line of programming code. The new tool box includes:

  • Salesforce — the CRM platform for customer & account related apps
  • — the well known powerful secure content platform
  • Twilio — all you need to manage all applicant interactions entirely via SMS
  • SurveyMonkey — to test your new hire’s enablement readiness via a survey
  • Workato — a powerful no-code platform to automate workflows across Box and ecosystem apps

This scenario combines some of Workato’s very sophisticated routing, business logic and human interaction capabilities, for example:

  • Workato ties together Twilio and Box, making sure that the applicant needs nothing more than SMS and a web browser to complete the entire process.
  • Workato facilitates uploading documents into Box folders via SMS, even including photos taken on a mobile phone.
  • Workato listens for relevant events, e.g. when all required applicant submissions are complete and when the applicant correctly completed an enablement test via SurveyMonkey, to move the process forward at the right moment.
  • Workato orchestrates the approval flow for the Hiring Manager.
  • Salesforce customer portal then is a single place for all this to be tied together — the applicant being the customer in this case.