The Business On... Iain Dodsworth, Founder, TweetDeck

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The Independent Online


That is indeed the way to address36-year-old Mr Dodsworth, who revealed yesterday (by Tweet, of course) that he is selling TweetDeck to Twitter. The price is around £25m.

And TweetDeck is what, exactly?

It's effectively a way of organising your Twitter feed so that messages come through in a structured way and appear in neat columns on your screen. Twitter aficionados, including celebrity tweeters such as Ashton Kutcher, have been hugely complimentary about it.

So who is Mr Dodsworth?

He's a computer programmer. He trained at Sheffield Hallam University and he's worked for companies including Prudential and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He set up TweetDeck four years ago, he says, after getting frustrated about missing tweets from friends. And the service reflects his penchant for organisation – he told one interviewer about his struggle simultaneously to organise his DVD collection alphabetically and chronologically.

Why does Twitter want TweetDeck?

For several reasons. For all its huge success, Twitter has never managed to come up with a particularly helpful user interface – TweetDeck could provide one. Also, it will have noted reports that UberMedia, the app developer, has been talking to the company and won't want to lose out to a company it regards as a rival. Plus TweetDeck has talked in the past of extending its reach to social networking sites such as Facebook.

Does it make any money?

Of course not – none of these businesses does. Mr Dodsworth has talked about plans to monetise the service but seems clearer about what he doesn't want to do – charge for access or sell banner ads – than what he does.

So is it worth £25m?

Yes, if that's what Twitter is prepared to pay. Mr Dodsworth is smart enough to know that as the phenomenon continues, this is a sellers' market. It may be far easier to cash in now rather than to try to turn the business into a money-spinner.