**Editor's Note: Looking for more people "on the move" in the channel? Find them here.**
Twilio, the cloud communications platform-as-a-service company (CPaaS), on Monday introduced Ron Huddleston as its new chief partners officer. Huddleston left Microsoft in December after leading the company’s One Commercial Partner effort, an organizational restructuring that became official last February. Twilio allows software developers to programmatically make and receive phone calls and send and receive text messages using its web service APIs.
Channel Futures caught up with Huddleston to learn more about his new job, why he left Microsoft, to learn more about his vision for the company’s channel, and his upcoming strategy.
Channel Futures: What will your job responsibilities be at Twilio?
Ron Huddleston: As chief partners officer, I’ll be responsible for developing partner experiences for Twilio across ISVs, SIs and VARs/resellers. Twilio has many partners who recognize the opportunity to be a part of Twilio’s vision to fuel the future of communications. My job will be to expand the program and make sure every type of partner is successful and every type of customer can innovate with Twilio, whether directly or through one of our partners and resellers.
CF: Why did you leave Microsoft?
RH: I left Microsoft on family leave to take care of a family member who is ill, and I realized quickly that I needed to move to California to do so.
[George Hu], the new COO of Twilio, is an old colleague and reached out about the opportunity while I was on leave. The communications industry and the role at Twilio is a whole new space for me and the more I learned about the opportunity and ecosystem, the more excited I became. And, because Twilio is headquartered in California and close to my family, finding Twilio was very serendipitous. I feel very lucky to be here.
CF: Was there something about Microsoft, the people or the job that caused your departure?
RH: Not at all. The company, my manager, and the whole WCB [Worldwide Commercial Business] senior leadership team has been very supportive throughout this process. I’m grateful for the friends I made and the opportunities I was given.
Working at Microsoft was an incredible experience and a highlight of my career. It’s an amazing company and has the industry-leading partner program and ecosystem. I am confident that they have the right vision and leadership to ensure the Microsoft ecosystem thrives.
CF: What is Twilio’s channel strategy? What type of partners does the company support?
RH: Twilio’s current partner program is designed to support and enable our SaaS ISVs, development SIs and technology partners (integrations/marketplace).
The ecosystem addresses the needs of customers and developers who create new solutions with Twilio. These customers are looking for choices, access to the features they need, and help to get to production more quickly. The Twilio ecosystem is world-class at accelerating this motion and ensuring customers/developers build the right solutions on Twilio.
CF: What vision for the channel are you bringing to Twilio? What partner types is the company looking to align with, and why?
RH: In the short time I’ve been able to educate myself on the communications industry and the Twilio platform, one thing has become very clear ... the opportunity for a broad range of technology companies to build new, growing and innovative businesses with Twilio is enormous. There are few partners I’ve worked with over the last 20+ years that wouldn’t benefit from the creation of an application or practice built around Twilio’s technology.
CF: Is there a road map for building the channel?
RH: I’ll be sharing more detail about the company’s strategy and evolution of the program once I’ve had a chance to dig in. The next few months will be about learning and speaking to as many customers and partners as I can to understand their needs.
CF: Why would partners want to partner with Twilio?
RH: Twilio understands the importance of partner success and is investing in building an industry-leading ecosystem. A core focus for Twilio will be to ensure partners of all kinds can build new amazing businesses. This will open up whole new markets and business models.
In the past, when a massive market transformation is beginning, the partners that are first into a new ecosystem are wildly successful. For a partner, this is a huge opportunity to be first into a new market and be supported by Twilio, the industry innovation leader.