Last month, after almost exactly ten years, my side projects Daily 140 and Macaw stopped sending out emails thanks to Twitter's API changes.
- 14,547 users
- 21,201 Twitter accounts that Daily 140 users chose to monitor
- 7,333,659 total Twitter accounts monitored for likes/follows for Macaw
- 4 million+ emails sent with a 40% daily open rate
Daily 140 was by far my most successful side project, so I wanted to document its arc and what I learned, particularly for the many people it's helped connect me with.
- All credit for the premise and the name goes to my old roommate Ryan, who was manually tracking the likes and follows of a few high profile VCs with interesting results and more generally is a spectacularly creative Twitter user
- Built over a few weeks in the fall of 2014, and launched on Product Hunt in January 2015
- I forgot about the project for a few years after starting a new job, but realized after 3 years that I had thousands of users and a bunch of mentions on various blogs
- The biggest issue with Daily 140 was not knowing which accounts would yield interesting results (in hindsight, I should have published something like @BigTechAlert that was more easily visible and followable). That led me to launch Macaw, which showed you a feed of the tweets all of your followers liked each day, and the new accounts they followed.
- Tech stack for Daily140 was PHP, MySQL, TwitterOAuth. Macaw used Python and Tweepy instead, for performance reasons.
Both projects led to a few fun opportunities:
- I met a number of investors who would use it to get leads on new deals, people leaving companies, and other business intelligence
- The Twitter Developer team did a one-hour research call with me, as part of their diligence before launching the v2 API and new Developer site
- I emailed several crypto anons, all of whom used Daily 140 to monitor new protocols and blockchains
- I got 3 offers to buy the software outright
And were written up in a few publications:
- 5 must-have apps to download while you're on vacation from work -Business Insider
- Macaw will curate Twitter for you, help expand your network -TechCrunch
- The 50 Best Twitter Tools to Use -Hootsuite
- The Big List of Twitter Tools -Buffer
- 16 Twitter tools to boost your brand’s marketing -SproutSocial
- 80 Twitter Tools for Almost Everything -Hongkiat
- "Sometimes it is hard to get started with Twitter. Take advantage of the daily emails to find people of interest to follow or stay current on the latest education conversations. Use Daily 140 to stay up to date with other educators, politicians, The White House, and more." -TeachersFirst
All of my time now goes towards building Clay, a home for your people and relationships that leverages a lot of the skills I learned building Daily 140 and Macaw, and we may end up rolling in some of the features those tools provided.
In both Clay and my side projects, I'm thinking about similar features layered on top of the next wave of social tools that are replacing Twitter, like Mastodon, Bluesky, and Micro.blog. Decentralized architectures and availability of APIs unlock a whole world of possibilities on those platforms, and there's clearly still a need for tools like Daily 140 for research, discovery, and monitoring.
Some final thoughts:
- If you'd be interested in a replacement for either tool, take my quick survey here.
- If you're interested in learning more in the coming months, sign up for my updates newsletter here.