For a tech company, Twitter has often had a surprisingly difficult relationship with technology. Twitter outages were once so common that the Fail Whale—the marine mammal–themed error message its users received when Twitter went down—became fodder for countless tech industry jokes. More recently, the company’s convoluted technical underpinnings have held it back from releasing new features quickly.
One person helping to untangle the mess is Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief technology officer. Since taking the top job overseeing its technical strategy three years ago, Agrawal has boosted the company’s use of cloud service providers, with the goal of speeding up its product development. In an interview, Agrawal said he uses the painful reminders of Twitter’s past tech struggles to inspire him to do better.