Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.
Every week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views. Well, actually six questions, since we also ask the start-up to who he or she is passing the mic to.
This week we’re interviewing Dan Field from Twit+. A new service that works on top of Twitter that makes it possible to Twitter with pictures or video and moreover, allows you to privately send files to your Twitter friends. They got some pretty good coverage last week. TechCrunch UK called it ‘worth checking out‘ and KillerStartups reviewed the site, saying the service is ‘useful for those who use Twitter frequently‘. Now we bring you the story behind this new application.
How did you come up with the idea of Twit+?
“Well, it took me a while to get into Twitter. I had looked at it a months ago but didn’t really ‘get it’. Started using again a couple of months ago and then started playing around with the API.
Twit+ really came about by accident. We have been working on a lot of mobile stuff for ClearMyMail and I noticed a few others offering photo sharing through twitter and thought it would be great to do more than just photos. So the aim of Twit+ is to allow easy sharing of all types of files, photos and videos.
On top of the standard “Post to my Twitter” type features we added a private file share system, which when we implemented it turned out really easy to use. No need to register more accounts – just use your standard Twitter account to securely send files, pics and video to your friends.”
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“To be honest, there weren’t any major challenges for me! The basic Twit+ service came together really well, the actual Twitter API is pretty easy to use.
We use Microsoft development technology for all of our systems, something which isn’t as well used by many startups – which tend to rely more on things like PhP, Ruby etcetera. So I suppose there is some additional work to do when hooking things up, and there isn’t so much documentation around for integrating with .Net
I would advise that no matter what development framework you chose – always try and make your systems modular and make sure that your back-end database is optimized and designed correctly. If you can’t do it yourself get someone who can, it will make a massive difference if your startup starts to go places!
Use a pen and paper too: keep notes of all of your ideas, and move away from the computer! You will find you can solve most problems by stepping back.”
Can you describe the British start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
I do think it is getting better over here in the UK and in Europe in general. We are now starting to see a new bread of investors who have come from their own startups. That’s the kind of thing we need more of.
We used to be a nation of people who always worked for others, not people who started up their own business – but this attitude is also changing, there does seem to be a good entrepreneurial spirit growing in the UK.
The government could help more too. Make it easier to setup and administer a small business, make real grants available, better tax breaks for smaller investors etcetera.”
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“Making things easier.., that’s what we are all about.
Both at ClearMyMail and now at Twit+, which now makes it easy to share your photos, videos and files.”
You can make up this question yourself!
“Tell me about your other business, ClearMyMail?”
Glad you asked ;)
Well, ClearMyMail is the world’s only guaranteed spam blocker. The system was launched in 2006 using our own bespoke technology and has so far grown to a worldwide customer base and a winner of many awards. By using ClearMyMail, we become your mailbox – providing you with one central place to access your clean spam free email – from PC, Mac and Mobile.
We have some great new developments planned, some specifically in the mobile space which I’m looking forward to.
“Well I don’t have one particular name in mind, but more of a general area. Mobile tech is going to get pretty big this year… especially mobile social apps and networks. For a social network to work, I believe it really does have to be mobile. We don’t want to be tied to our desktops! We want mobile!”
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