I lost... Fair & Square April 21, 2008

This is one of these moments…
A bitter taste and a hard time getting through.
I was just beaten, Fair & Square, on the finish line, building a small web app.
Here is how it started.
Like many I was first confused when I heard about Twitter, a few months ago.
Some kind of broadcasted one-way IM, 140 characters limited.
I didn’t even Twitted at first. I only started this January.
As Robert Scoble - famous blogger and huge Twitterer - understood it, the secret to Twitter is the number (and quality) of people you are following, not the other way around. I also like these two twitts about noise and signal.
None of my friends are on Twitter. So I started following people from the Mac community and from the Web developer community. But it wasn’t enough. So I went through the list of people followed by the ones I was following.
You follow me ?
Of course, this would be cool if it could be done automatically.
“Hey! I could write it !” - he said to himself.
I first searched for an existing product - Nothing, I’m good to go. Fame & Glory are mine !
Then I searched the Twitter API, fired up Textmate, and coded it.
I started 2-3 weeks ago, late at night, after home was asleep.
I have all the backend, I even registered the Domain Name: TwittsOfMyTwitts.com.
(What you have there is only the development pages. It works, but there is not a single line of styling, nor Javascript/Ajax).
And tonight, browsing the web, I find this
The exact same thing (but finished and polished), gone public 2 days ago.
It was written by Bob Lee, a software engineer @ Google.
Here is an interview of his experience writting Twubble.

OK. STOP. Introspection time:

  • The idea is dead simple. Probably dozens thought of it, and way before.
  • He finished it before me. Even a few days counts.
  • His code is nicer than mine.
  • My domain name is better ;) .
  • I’m not a software engineer @ Google nor a software engineer, nor an engineer at all. I’m not even a web developer, yet !
  • My final product would have been really close to his
    (You will have to take my word for it on this one).

So, all in all, that’s not such a bad day. I’m OK, loosing this one to Bob Lee.
Being so close might even be a compliment.
It still sucks: I was pretty eager to finally have something going public.

P.S.: Bob, If you read this, I just wonder:

  • How did you get passed the 70 requests limitation of Twitter ?
  • How the hell did you get on this page ?!