Twilio started out as a "developer first" company. That means they started building their business at the developer level and have started working their way up the ladder with the larger customers. Of late though, they have been sending all kinds of signals that they are wanting to be an "enterprise focused" business and shedding that "developer first" focus.
Transition periods are usually very tough on customers who were there at the start, but are not part of the audience for where a business is going. Levels of service usually degrades. What used to be real-time handholding becomes self service support. Bug reports take longer to address and customers churn. Those small customers, the ones that the company built themselves upon, churn out, as the new larger customers receive the higher levels of attention. And like the churn of customers, so too will be the churn of people, all the way up to the top.
One indication is based upon the type of hires they have been making. That's a telltale sign of a company transitioning from what they started out as, to where they need to be, in order to grow. It's also a signal to the stock market to help keep the price up.
Yesterday Seeking Alpha had a critique about Twilio and why the stock price fell. But, stock price isn't really why Twilio is transitioning with hires and new services offers. They are making this transition in order to drive adoption of Flex, their contact center erector set, as well as to make their IoT Wireless play more loved. To do that Twilio needs to sell-in higher up the decision ladder than the devs. They're transitioning because the API economy is also transitioning.
This is happening because the world of API's is changing. Once the playground of the devs and engineering set who built software, API's are now at an advanced state, both in adoption and in capabilities. What we used to call "mashups," where the combining of two services via API's or SDK's required the involvement of a developer, now are able to be assembled by anyone thanks to services like Zapier and IFTTT. As those tools, and others like them, proliferate and become accessible to more without programming skills, a company like Twilio is being challenged to offer more because what they have been selling has been made table stakes by others in the CPaaS industry like client Signalwire. With LaML, Signalwire demonstrates the company's ability to integrate with existing CPaaS platforms so companies who deployed Twilio won't be left behind.
This inflection point is a serious one, and it's going to be an arms race. Twilio's recent hiring of ex-Tropo CTO Jose de Castro demonstrates that that they needed enterprise level creative thinking in order to provide more robust offerings, not become a founding member of the CPaaST club. It's also the third major high level executive departure from Cisco in their communications software sector when the world is heading in the software direction, signaling that Cisco is going elsewhere, obviously conceeding that they won't be a CPaaS player at the API level, and that the Broadsoft acquisition was for other reasons.
Yes, like Cisco, Twilio is clearly in transition.