SAN FRANCISCO--Here at the Web 2.0 Expo, one of Wednesday morning's talks was to feature Blaine Cook, Twitter's lead architect, talking about the Jabber protocol and "building the real-time Web."
The problem: Reports had surfaced earlier that morning that Blaine Cook was leaving the company. Awkward.
Cook told several blog sites that he was indeed leaving, attributing it to the fact that he was moving to the U.K. But a source close to the snafu told CNET News.com that Cook had indeed been ousted from his role at the microblogging start-up in one capacity or another. In an e-mail to the Silicon Alley Insider, Cook called the departure "amicable," that he was out as of two weeks earlier, and that he would likely stay on as an adviser to the company.
After the panel, Cook told CNET News.com that there were "a number of factors" behind his departure, and that he would be relocating to the U.K. in the fall. In the meantime, he said, he was exploring a number of possibilities. He said he'll probably end up in a role within a U.K. company to avoid the hassle of a semi-regular across-the-pond commute. With regard to the fact that he took the stage at the conference just hours after the news broke that he was leaving the company, he said, "It's been kind of an insane morning."
Luckily for Cook, his talk at Web 2.0 wasn't directly about Twitter. It was also a lecture, not a panel, so there was no moderator to poke around the issue. And it was tech-heavy, with lines of code dominating the presentation screen, which meant that the folks showing up to listen were more interested in geekspeak than gossip.
Bloggers were eager to pounce on the news as a consequence of Twitter's notorious scaling problems, which Cook should have been able to keep under control. But many members of the developer community immediately came out in support of him: Google engineer Kevin Marks said (ironically on Twitter) that Cook "has real-world experience of hard scaling issues that is worth more than any bloviating theories."
And a member of the developer community told CNET News.com that Cook's skills were highly respected and that now that the news broke, he'd likely be inundated with job offers.