Twitter acquires startup Yes. Inc, makes its founder VP of product

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Twitter has finally found a VP of product — having left the executive position vacant for almost a year — thanks to its new acquisition.

The company just snapped up Yes Inc., a small San Francisco-based startup best known for its social messaging apps Frenzy and WYD. With the purchase comes the announcement that Yes founder Keith Coleman is assuming the important role.

Coleman previously spent more than ten years as director of product management at Google, where he served as the lead on offerings such as Gmail, Gchat, and other Google products.

In Coleman’s words, Yes was a “little” company, and now it is joining the ranks of a much larger organization. According to the startup’s website, its other employees helped build products like Android and PayPal. As a result of the acquisition, the company’s apps will be shutting down over the coming weeks.

“Our team has always admired Twitter, a product that brings the whole world closer,” reads a statement posted on Yes’ website. “Twitter also speaks to our love of working at a global scale.”

Keith Coleman, via LinkedIn
Keith Coleman, via LinkedIn

As head of Twitter’s product team, Coleman will be charged with developing new user experience features for the platform. It’s a tumultuous role, with five individuals having served as head of product since 2007, four of whom arrived in the wake of Twitter’s IPO in 2013.

Some will say it’s just business as usual for the company, which by now is used to its fair share of ups and downs. This year alone, Twitter cut 9 percent of its workforce, axed its once-popular video-looping app Vine, and lost a number of executives. And that’s not to mention the drama regarding its highly publicized (failed) attempt at offering itself up for a takeover or merger.

In terms of recent product changes, Twitter has pursued live video with notable broadcasting deals, and it pushed through a keyword filter aimed at combating harassment. If he can pin down the position, these are the types of consumer-oriented products Coleman will oversee. Maybe he can even put to rest the conundrum that continues to baffle onlookers: what exactly is Twitter? That’s a question that even CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly hasn’t been able to offer a concrete answer to.


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