Borthwick: Paying Attention in the iPad Era

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With today’s announcement by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo of the Tweetdeck acquisition, the shape of the next layer of micro messaging begins to come into focus. What BetaWorks CEO and co-founder John Borthwick was calling hypothetical yesterday when we talked backstage at TechCrunch Disrupt is now a fait accompli, if it wasn’t already so then. He described how Betaworks was at work modeling a desktop multi-column Twitter UI when Tweetdeck founder Ian Dodsworth popped up with a working app to invest in. But when I tapped on my iPad, Borthwick called it the device that changed everything.

Borthwick seems to speak simultaneously in code and at a broad scope historically and sometimes metaphorically, calling the gestural-based interface of the tablet the instantiation of our earliest natural instinct to point and define where we pay attention. As Borthwick pivoted the conversation away from the deal he couldn’t talk about to what Marc Benioff and salesforce.com are doing with Chatter and our strategic Radian6 acquisition, I couldn’t help but notice how Benioff had correctly called the intersection he now calls the social enterprise. Of course, Borthwick knew I couldn’t talk much about this either, and the TCTV guys shut us down just as things were getting interesting. You however are free to read between the lines for yourself.