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Summary:

Twitter sparked further speculation about the future of its business model on Monday with its purchase of Values of n, whose services include a smart sticky-note application called Stikkit and a personal assistant application called I Want Sandy. For while the founders of both companies said Values of n would be shutting down the two services, both also hinted fairly broadly that aspects of them might find their way into Twitter.

twitter_logoIf there’s one thing people love to speculate about, it’s what a future business model might look like for Twitter, the belle of the Web 2.0 ball. Founder and CEO Ev Williams has said the company will come out with more details in the new year, which has only increased the frenzy of speculation. That frenzy got another boost on Monday, when Twitter announced that it had acquired Values of n, a company founded by well-known programmer Rael Dornfest, the former chief technology officer at O’Reilly Media and one of the developers responsible for creating the RSS standard.

In separate blog posts, both Dornfest and Williams said that Values of n would be shutting down the two services it offers — a smart sticky-note application called Stikkit and a personal assistant application called I Want Sandy. However, both also hinted fairly broadly that aspects of these services might find their way into Twitter. “[T]he technology behind the scenes will live on and potentially re-emerge as part of Twitter’s systems, services, user experience, or open source libraries,” wrote Williams, while Dornfest said Twitter “has no immediate plans to incorporate Sandy or Stikkit’s feature sets into its core product [but] those who know our apps well may notice familiar-feeling bits and bobs appearing in your Twitter experience.”

Stikkit and I Want Sandy are similar, in that they are both personal productivity-related apps. The former makes it easy to collect bits of personal data about friends and co-workers — phone numbers, birthdays, reminders, and so on — as though you were writing them all down on a sticky note, which is then integrated with other applications and services such as email, etc. I Want Sandy, meanwhile, is a kind of virtual assistant; you send “her” emails with specific instructions or keywords, such as birthdays to remember or appointments you need to keep, and she emails you or text-messages you at a time of your choosing to help you remember.

The fit between both of these services and Twitter seems fairly obvious. In the same way that Twitter “bots” can be set up to send specific messages at certain times or when users type certain keywords (try sending a message that contains the word “pony” in order to see the Wheee! Pony bot in action), it’s easy to see how a user might set up something like I Want Sandy and Stikkit combined — so that he or she could direct message the bot with details about a meeting or appointment, and then receive a message later with all of the relevant info. I Want Sandy, in fact, is already connected to Twitter so that you can send your virtual assistant direct messages.

Who knows — for the ultra-connected and time-starved business traveler, that might someday evolve into something worth paying for.

  1. Users of Stikkit should look at Postica – already integrates with Twitter and has an amazing interface.

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  2. [...] Will Twitter Become Your Personal Assistant? – GigaOM The fit between both of these services and Twitter seems fairly obvious. In the same way that Twitter “bots” can be set up to send specific messages at certain times or when users type certain keywords (try sending a message that contains the word “pony” in order to see the Wheee! Pony bot in action), it’s easy to see how a user might set up something like I Want Sandy and Stikkit combined — [...]

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  3. Those of us who have, unfortunately, come to rely on Sandy on a daily basis are voicing our frustration via Rael’s announcement here:

    http://getsatisfaction.com/iwantsandy/topics/a_fork_in_the_road_an_important_announcement_about_i_want_sandy

    It probably won’t surprise users to eventually find out that Stikkit’s IP will be sucked into the Twitterverse. That being said, I personally feel like a friend has passed away, as silly as that might sound.

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  4. Well aside from Kory M. and other current users of these services, this is great news! I get so much value from Twitter and still see a lot of potential in it. I’m glad its executives are thinking of improving/evolving the service in the future as well.

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  5. [...] the recent purchase of Values of n—the company that runs both apps—by Twitter may mean I Want Sandy’s functionality could find its way to Twitter, but in the meantime, let’s hear what you’re planning to use as your personal assistant [...]

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  6. [...] the recent purchase of Values of n—the company that runs both apps—by Twitter may mean I Want Sandy’s functionality could find its way to Twitter, but in the meantime, let’s hear what you’re planning to use as your personal assistant in the [...]

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  7. [...] the recent purchase of Values of n—the company that runs both apps—by Twitter may mean I Want Sandy’s functionality could find its way to Twitter, but in the meantime, let’s hear what you’re planning to use as your personal assistant [...]

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  8. [...] Will Twitter Become Your Personal Assistant? – GigaOM "That frenzy got another boost on Monday, when Twitter announced that it had acquired Values of n, a company founded by well-known programmer Rael Dornfest, the former chief technology officer at O’Reilly Media and one of the developers responsible for creating the RSS standard." (tags: articles technology Portland) [...]

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  9. [...] the recent purchase of Values of n—the company that runs both apps—by Twitter may mean I Want Sandy’s functionality could find its way to Twitter, but in the meantime, let’s hear what you’re planning to use as your personal assistant [...]

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  10. [...] PPS. A few interesting Twitter based services I’ve come across recently. In addition to this amazing laundry list, there’s TweetBeep, TweetScribe ( mechanisms similar to Google Alerts), Tweader (that threads Twitter conversations), TwitteRel, JustTweetIt (find users with similar interests), Twitrratr (a grading system that helps the + and – tweets on a person, topic etc, though the system is very simplistic), TwitWall (to share videos, mp3, photos etc), Tweeple Twak (in addition to the Qwitter and CityTweets type of data, it tells you how your followers have expanded over time and geography). In fact, as this post shows, you can pretty much link everything using Twitter. In fact, Twitter could even become your virtual personal assistant. [...]

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