Twitter announced today the acquisition of Value Of N, a software development company focused on collaboration and productivity solutions. The company, led Rael Dornfest, is at the origin of two applications: Stikkit, and IwantSandy. Stikkit syndicates contacts and offers means to share notes, schedule a meeting, or plan a trip. IwantSandy is a smart schedule manager, a service very close to Rememberthemilk.com.
Values of n will be shutting down existing products. However, the technology behind the scenes will live on and potentially re-emerge as part of Twitter’s systems, services, user experience, or open source libraries. Nothing specific in this regard is planned but there is some smart work in there by the newest member of our engineering team.
In other words, Stikkit and IwantSandy won’t survive the acquisition, but the goodness under the hood will be extracted and manipulated to work in a Twitter’s world. This is an interesting turn of event for Twitter’s news today. Earlier, Twitter rejected a generous offer from Facebook. It reinforced the self-confidence of the IM/SMS company. In addition to not cashing in, Twitter buys out a company that doesn’t directly relate to the Twittersphere (It’s not a Twitter app). Gutsy!
The question now is what does Twitter find so attractive about Values of N? What should we expect from the popular, 3-figures-growth social network? Is this acquisition a key element to their upcoming business model? If I had to make an educated guess, I would say that Twitter is building a smart contact manager, the kind that is invisible to the eye user, but that knows who you should connect with, when and why. Twitter needs to offer better tools to manage the lists of contacts that each user gathers. The Twitterverse is wide and unorganized. Twitter offers an incredibly simple way to create new connections. However, it would be nice if it could also strengthen the existing ones.