It’s a sunny breezy afternoon in Gurgaon, and I’ve stepped inside the offices of one of the city’s many, many web companies. It has all the hallmarks of a web star – tup. It’s so quiet that it feels like it could be the weekend.
But behind the calm, every-office exterior, lies the astonishing truth: the staff here are holding up the systems behind the world’s hottest Internet start – up. They are responsible for a website on which 35 million people worldwide fire out messages every second. This isn’t just any office. This is Twitter.
Right now, the company’s 52 employees are part of the biggest media story on the planet. Their online messaging service – which encourages people to share their thoughts with the world in short, bite sized morsels – has rocked into public consciousness in the last year.
It began as the king of thing a hip young iPhoner would do, then began to play a role in times of crisis, getting information out of countries like Iran and China where the authorities were tightly controlling the news.
And to top it all, this amazing journey – from plaything to instrument of social change – seems to have happened in a matter of months. “It’s a little bit like being in the eye of the storm,” says Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s co – founders.
Twitter is many things to many people, but most of all it is lightweight, easy to use and transparent. Twitter doesn’t make proper money right now. It does have $55 million, being spent on propping up service and staff. Not making money isn’t so unusual in this world.
Twitter is concentrating on building up audience with the idea that the case and profits will eventually follow.