Tweetdeck: FT for the Social Web
Congrats to Iain along with Tom, Reza, Sol (Peer), Sam and the rest of the Tweetdeck team on the sale to Twitter.
It feels like a long journey from the "you're going to love this" email sent by John Borthwick in Jan 2009 introducing me to Tweetdeck with an offer for Betaworks and TAG to work together to help support Iain in building out Tweetdeck in London.
When we met Iain, he was a one man band, based in the tech mecca of Tonbridge Wells. But as a lone developer he had created some real magic. Tweetdeck was making signal out of Twitter's noise with a simple but very powerful UX innovation - columns. This insight had already made Tweetdeck the leading desktop client for Twitter and its stayed there.
Tweetdeck always had the most engaged users on Twitter: most tweets per user, most followers per user and compared to traditional media, a massive daily active user base spending hours within the application. We used to talk about Tweetdeck as the "FT for the social web" - the place to access, engage and ultimately monetize the most active, connected and influential users on Twitter - and therefore in social media. I really believe that along with Iain and his team, Twitter have the potential to do amazing things with this asset - done well, this could have as much of a transformative impact for Twitter as Summize.
It has been a total blast working with Iain - he is a superb product leader and I will cherish our jam sessions. But it was also cool to watch Iain create a team and go from being alone, to adding the firepower of the young, but superb Peer team (a small TAG investment) and then with Sam and the leadership and support of the awesome John and Andy at Betaworks, building a true NY-LON organization.
As the UK government tries to build a narrative in East London about the emerging tech cluster in Shoreditch, Tweetdeck and Iain are a great case study: housed at Moo; shared workspace with Amee, Dopplr, Groupspaces, Lightbox and SparkPR; bootstrapped with Skype (Taavet, Nicola, Priidu, Joonathan) and Last.fm (Toby) alumni -- and acquired by a US tech titan building out a presence in London :)
Ok, so the story doesn't always end that way - or have to.
Maybe one day European tech, media and communications companies will have the vision and the ambition to do some of the buying themselves. But for now, London can have a day in the sun and here's to seeing Tweetdeck help Twitter develop an even more powerful offering for the power users engaged in influencing the growth and evolution of the social web.
The journey has just begun, it was a pleasure for me and Robin to be a small part of it, stay tuned for much more from Iain and his team.