Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter’s Michael Sippey Explains the Prescient Vine Acquisition (Full Dive Video)

At its heart, Twitter is the simplest of products, but these days, the company’s product head Michael Sippey oversees all sorts of things: Search and relevance, discovery, and new forays into short-form video and music.

MichaelSippeyTwitterDiveSpeaking at our D: Dive Into Mobile conference in April, Sippey noted that his world is a mobile one.

“Product at Twitter means mobile at Twitter,” Sippey said. “It’s all I think about and it’s all the team I work with thinks about. We started seven years ago as a mobile company, the service was initially SMS; we complemented that with a website that has attracted a lot of users; and now the shift has happened, the majority of our usage comes from mobile devices.”

While Twitter works to provide consistency across its core apps, it’s also finding new ways to shake things up. Sippey’s chat with AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka focused largely on Vine, the six-second-video app that Twitter bought last year before it had even launched, and has quickly soared to the top of the app charts since launching in January.

Vine, which is popular all over the world, hasn’t fallen out of the top five U.S. iOS app downloads since the beginning of April, according to App Annie.

During that time, the Twitter app (which, to be fair, many people already downloaded in the past) has hovered between No. 25 and No. 50.

Finding Vine — and bringing it to where it is now — is definitely something to gloat about. Sippey said he and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo jumped on the deal after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey saw the product and fell in love with it.

“We saw this and said, they’ve solved this problem in a really interesting and compelling way,” Sippey recalled, noting that Vine includes neither a record button nor a play button.

“The beauty of what the team did is, they took advantage of the fundamental unit of filmmaking, which is the cut, and integrated that into the product so that you can actually tell stories, pretty sophisticated stories within a six-second time frame,” Sippey explained.

“And then they made it really simple to consume them, so it’s a simple follow model, and with the trending hashtags and the explore section, you can actually find great people and find great content and just scroll through and enjoy Vine after Vine after Vine.”

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