Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Think Big

20th April, 2010

The past few weeks has been equally worrying and exciting times for the Twitter developer community.

Along with numerous announcements of exciting new APIs, tools and dedicated sites for developers, Twitter has been making purchases and announcements which “fill gaps” in the service.

This was pre-empted by an inspirational blog post by one of Twitter’s investors. In it, Fred Wilson implores developers to stop filling holes in Twitter’s platform, and instead concentrate on building new and awesome apps that take Twitter in an entirely new direction.

That blog post, the announcements, and the challenge from Chirp, “think big”, combined with a number of events I have recently attended, have really inspired me to start thinking a lot more outside the box (even more than I usually do) when it comes to ideas, and not just related to the Twitter platform. I think it’s really improved how I work, and brought about some big changes in what I do on a day-to-day basis.

This is possibly the single biggest thing I love about the Internet. That I, with a laptop and a mobile phone sat on a field at the University, can start coming up with awesome ideas that extend other companies and developer’s ideas and platforms, can come up with anything I like, build it, and share it with the world.

But to do something meaningful, you need to think big. Without thinking big, your idea will just be lost in the ether that is all of the content on the internet.

Google thought big, and despite their professors laughing when they proposed indexing the entire internet, they did it, and now provide hundreds of millions of search results a day. People thought Bill Gates was crazy when he wanted to put a computer in every home - now I personally have 4, let alone the rest of my family and housemates. And who would imagine that 140 characters would become so ubiquitous?

So now I’m challenging myself to think big. The world isn’t going to change itself, you know.