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Geek Speak: Avi Bryant, Twitter analytics team

Interview with co-founder of Smallthought Systems, recently acquired by Twitter for its analytics and Dabble DB.


Straight.com, By Stephen Hui, July 2, 2010

In two months, Avi Bryant is moving to San Francisco to work at Twitter. On June 10, Twitter announced it had acquired Smallthought Systems, the Vancouver-based company that Bryant cofounded in 2005.

Avi Bryant

Smallthought is the developer of Dabble DB and Trendly, products that "made data more accessible to people who are not data experts", according to Bryant. Dabble DB is an on-line database application, while Trendly helps customers make sense of Web site data collected by Google Analytics.

A 30-year-old University of British Columbia graduate, Bryant is the author of the Seaside open-source Web application framework. Along with Smallthought's Andrew Catton, Ben Matasar, and Luke Andrews, Bryant is joining Twitter's analytics team.

The Georgia Straight reached Bryant by phone at his home on Galiano Island.

How did your company end up being bought by Twitter?

So, we were in San Francisco actually having talks with another company and happened to have lunch with a friend of mine who works at Twitter. I think the outcome of that was sort of him going back to Twitter and saying, "You know, it'd be really awesome if these guys worked here. Is there any way we can make that happen?"

At first, I think the fit wasn't obvious to anyone. But I then had another talk with them at South by Southwest, where we sort of realized that the advertising platform that they were going to be building could hugely benefit from some of the data-visualization and analytics stuff that we were working on. We kind of all got excited about that and made it happen.

Do you know what you'll be doing at Twitter?

We're working on the analytics team, and specifically what we're working on for now is analytics for the advertisers who are going to be running ads on Twitter with the Promoted Tweets and related products. But one of the things that's exciting about Twitter is there's so much going on and so many other things we could be working on. You know, that's what we're working on for now. Who knows what we'll be working on six months or a year from now?

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