Friday Q&A: Amy Hoy of Slash7 and Twistori - Philly


May 1, 2009 2:40 pm

Friday Q&A: Amy Hoy of Slash7 and Twistori

We chatted with the Maryland-native as she closed the business day in Vienna and about the recent release of Twistori's Desktop app.

If you have never seen Twistori in action, go look. Seriously, I’ll wait.

The popular Web site and screensaver scans Twitter for uses of a handful key phrases such as “I hate,” “I love” and “I wish” and displays the Tweets anonymously and in real time, offering a revealing look into the life of people you may never meet. The site arranges the Tweets into a beautiful cascade of bright colors on a dark background that could suck you in for hours.

Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs, the couple behind the mesmerizing service, have just just released a desktop version where users pick their own keywords to be displayed. The application was one of the first ads on Twitter, was featured on and has been covered by ReadWriteWeb among many other outlets.

Hoy may reside in Austria, but you can’t tell the story of Twistori without mentioning Philadelphia.

The desktop application was released through IndyHall Labs with the help of the hosts of� Two Guys on Beer, Dave Martorana and Johnny Bilotta. Hoy has been to the city several times, and was even there the day Indy Hall opened.

We chatted with the Maryland-native as she closed the business day in Vienna about the recent release of Twistori’s Desktop app and her thoughts about her recent appearance on the popular tech podcast This Week in Tech.

Where did the idea for Twistori come from?

I’ve been really interested in people since I first picked up a copy of The Naked Ape when I was a kid and I have been reading sociological & neuroscience-type texts ever since. I’m interested in what makes people tick. And Twitter is a freakin’ gold mine for anyone interested in people. I thought it was such a shame that nobody was doing anything interesting with that data, so I decided I would. I got my husband’s help and we shipped it that day.


What spurred the decision to do a desktop app?

Since we launched the original Twistori (web edition), we’ve gotten scores of emails and hundreds of tweets from people wishing for a Twistori they could customize. And we’ve been following our friend Dave Martorana’s progress on another Mac project, Multiplex, for some time. It seemed like a perfect fit: we love Dave, Dave loved the idea, and people have been really excited about being able to get the Twitter data they’re interested in.

PC users such myself are wondering… when is the PC version?

Weellll, we don’t have any plans for a Windows version. We’ve got a lot of things in the pipeline that rely heavily on the awesome Cocoa API stuff for which there’s no real Windows equivalent.

Nuts. Ok to switch gears a bit, I was listening to This Week in Tech and you were mentioned. Did you hear it? [Note: Listen to the segment below]

Yeah, I did, after a friend mentioned it.

Besides the terrible impersonation, did you have any reaction?

Well, there was the terrible impersonation, the random slagging on me, and the fact that they got half the facts wrong. Pretty much like the last time I was on TWiT, except for the slagging part. Both times, [Host Leo Laporte] was talking about something of mine, and the other person brought up something vaguely similar but not the same thing, and the conversation was totally confused after that. Last time, they confused Twistori with a never-revealed app that put your Tweets in calendar format. This time, they confused my husband’s missing AdSense revenue with that dude who wrote about suing Google. Totally different.

So, they’re 0 for 2 then.

Yeah, pretty much how it goes with big tech pundits, eh?

You mean those not based in Philly.

But of course!

How are Twistori’s sales doing?

We’re averaging about five copies a day (and trials will just begin to expire shortly). We haven’t done any marketing, and we haven’t unveiled the most exciting features yet, and most people aren’t up against the end of the trial … so I can only assume it will get even better.

What’s the upcoming feature that has you most excited?

It’s a secret! But it’s related to themes.

What makes you Technically Philly?

I’m a Philly resident at heart! I met Alex Hillman at [South by Southwest Interactive] when he was in the process of starting up IndyHall, but before it was a reality; I attended the IndyHall grand opening; I love all the IndyHall peeps and they don’t consider me completely annoying.

Every Friday, Technically Philly brings an interview with a leader or innovator in Philadelphia’s technology community. See others here.

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