My Q&A with Twitter’s VP of Emerging Markets, Shailesh Rao

2014 07 21shailesh

It’s online here and in the print edition of today’s Wall Street Journal Asia.

It begins:

Shailesh Rao has one of the most important jobs at Twitter Inc.: overseeing the company’s revenue in emerging markets.

Eight months after the messaging service’s initial public offering, the San Francisco-based company is betting that populous countries in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere can help it stem slowing user growth in the U.S. and boost sales.

Twitter’s revenue, most of which comes from advertising, more than doubled in the first quarter to $250.5 million. But the company, which was founded in 2006, has yet to make a profit. Some 78% of Twitter’s more than 255 million users are located outside the U.S., but the company derives just 28% of its revenue internationally.

Mr. Rao is trying to change that. The 42-year-old joined Twitter in 2012 after seven years at Internet search giant Google Inc., where he ran the company’s Asia display advertising business.

In an interview at Twitter’s offices in Singapore, Mr. Rao, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Pittsburgh, discussed the company’s goals for growth, how double-majoring in history and economics helps him on the job, and why yoga makes him a better manager.

Twitter accounts for following snowstorm Nemo as it approaches NYC

A big snowstorm, Nemo*, is now making landfall in the Northeast.

I just Tweeted some NYC-specific Twitter accounts worth following, and thought I’d share them here as well:

*Storm nomenclature details are here.

More on Bangkok’s Tweeting Motorcycle Taxi Driver

A quick follow up on my post yesterday highlighting the BBC video report on Dejchat Phuangket, a Bangkok motorcycle taxi driver and social media maven.

Thanks to Byron at Coconuts Bangkok for getting in touch to say that his site has also run items on Khun Dejchat.

The first post provides an overview of Dejchat’s work following the Valentine’s Day explosions.

The second is a longer interview with Dejchat. One interesting tidbit on offer here: The story points out that he created an interesting Web site about his hometown in Sisaket province. (Warning: The site employs auto-loading luk thung music!)

BBC Story on Bangkok’s Tweeting Motorcycle Taxi Driver

2012 03 19 motorcycle taxi twitterer

The BBC has a video report today on Dejchat Phuangket, a Bangkok motorcycle taxi driver who has become renowned for his blogging and Tweeting:

His mode of transport is one of Bangkok’s most basic – the motorbike. But it is Dejchat Phuangket’s command of cutting edge technology that has turned him into Thailand’s most famous taxi driver.

For two years, Dejchat tweeted and blogged about his daily life.

Whether it be the contents of his lunch or the state of the traffic, his wry observations and a steady stream of photos kept his small band of loyal followers amused.

Then on Valentines Day the news came to Dejchat’s part of central Bangkok.

An explosion partially destroyed a house being rented by a group of Iranians.

As the men fled the damaged building they threw explosives at a taxi and one of the men had his legs blown off. Almost immediately the blasts were linked to attempted attacks the day before on Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India.

As news of the explosions began to circulate, Dejchat was already on the scene.

“A foreigner was carrying a bag and an explosion happened,” he tweeted under his username motorcyrubjang. “He lost his legs but is still alive at Sukhumvit 71.”

What’s more, Dejchat — who you can follow at @motorcyrubjang — may just have the coolest Twitter profile page photo montage ever. (Click through to see it.)

(All emphasis mine.)

(Image: BBC.)

Thailand Government and Twitter Censorship

The AP reports today:

Thailand is welcoming Twitter’s new policy to censor tweets in specific nations where the content might break laws.

Technology minister Anudith Nakornthap said Monday the new policy was a “constructive” development. The Southeast Asian country routinely blocks websites with content deemed offensive to the Thai monarchy.

Jon Russell has more at The Next Web:

Twitter’s controversial move towards enabling the censorsing of tweets has gained the backing of its first international government, after authorities in Thailand publicly endorsed the introduction.

And The Bangkok Post ran a story on the news today.

More to come on this topic, I’m sure.

(All emphasis mine.)

Off topic: “RE TWEET ME” T-shirt for Sale in Bangkok

I wanted to share this cell phone picture of a T-shirt I spotted at a market in Bangkok’s Silom neighborhood last night.

Yes, it says “RE TWEET ME.”

Further proof — as if any were needed — of Twitter’s global influence.

2011 12 05 retweet me T shirt bangkok

Naturally, I Tweeted the pic, and Twitter user @_JustMelissa posted the excellent image below in response.

She wrote:

@newley love it! It’s like this one. I had to stalk this kid all the way down Silom for this picture.

Af0d4zTCQAAV0ki jpg large

So there you have it: Bangkok’s Silom ‘hood is a hotbed for Twitter-focused sartorial irony. Who knew?

Osama Bin Ladin killed: how the news spread

2011 05 02 abbotabad tweet

A few links to share about today’s big news:

Brian Stelter, in the NYT, on how the news broke:

The terse announcement came just after 9:45 p.m. Sunday from Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern Time,” he wrote on Twitter, sharing the same message that had just been transmitted to the White House press corps.

According to Brian Williams, the “NBC Nightly News” anchor, some journalists received a three-word e-mail that simply read, “Get to work.”

The nation’s television anchors and newspaper editors did not know, at first, that President Obama would be announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, an extraordinary development in the nearly 10-year-long war against terrorism waged by the United States and its allies. But reporters in Washington suspected almost immediately that the announcement could be about bin Laden.

That speculation was not aired out on television immediately, but it did erupt on Twitter and other social networking sites. Wishful thinking about bin Laden’s death ricocheted across the Web — and then, at 10:25 p.m., while Mr. Obama was writing his speech, one particular tweet seemed to confirm it. Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, wrote at that time, “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”

The Atlantic had a similar story, a bit earlier, on how the news spread on Twitter.

(All emphasis mine.)

It’s also interesting to look back at the tweets from Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual), an IT consultant who lives in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where the operation took place.

In the tweet pictured above, he says, “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” You can scroll back through his timeline to read his comments as events unfolded.

Reminder: Twitter list of Thailand journalists and commentators

2011 04 29 thailand twitter list

Just a quick note, in these times of ongoing Thailand-Cambodia clashes, that I maintain a public Twitter list of Thailand journalists and commentators.

There are currently 40 members. You’ll find print and TV reporters, both foreign and Thai, as well as various writers, bloggers, and other observers here. The list is, I hope, a helpful resource for those looking for timely and credible information.