Bill Gross On UberMedia, The Power Of Twitter And Why He’s Acquiring

Why is Bill Gross buying up services built on Twitter? The Idealab CEO talked about his belief in Twitter when I interviewed him recently at DLD in Munich, just after he acquired UberTwitter and renamed the company UberMedia. That closely followed the acquisition of EchoFon. Now TechCrunch reports that he’s picked up TweetDeck for $25 – $30 million (Peter Kafka says the deal’s not done yet).

With TweetDeck, UberMedia would control about 20 percent of tweets sent daily, according to Loic LeMeur, the founder of competitor Seesmic, in a post about the TweetDeck deal and its possible effect.

The video interview with Gross has too much background noise to post (if you can scrub, please ping me) but here are some excerpts that add insight:

What do you want? Do you want more technology?: I really like looking at this intersection of content, advertising and social. The social is so powerful that’s why I’m so excited about Twitter. The power of Twitter is so amazing to connect companies and new publishers to their audiences. I’m looking for the magic that will really allow the monetization to occur.

Can you talk about why you bought UberTwitter and what you’re doing with it? UberTwitter has millions and millions of users on the BlackBerry and I love this intersection as I said, of mobility, of social, of people sharing informatipn and of the chance to try to try and add value to peoples’ experience because you know where they are because of the GPS, because people are out and about and using it. People are using UberTwitter something like five times a day, five minutes per session so 25 minutes a day they’re using this when they’re out and about I think there’s exciting potential to add value to that experience and I’m really looking forward to inventing some things there. .. We’re really excited to announce things this year.

And yet the new company isn’t UberTwitter. Yes, we’ve named the company UberMedia because we’d like to do things both with Twitter and in just media in general, and on mobile devices but also on as desktops. We’re trying to be as general as possible to look for the most broadest application for this social intersection with media.

For some of us, like you, some of these ideas of push news, push information, we’ve been there, we’ve seen them fail. I was involved with PointCast. Here’s what I think has happened. Some ideas are really, really great and fundamental, like the push power of PointCast, which Twitter is very similar to today. However, the time wasn’t right. The devices weren’t ready for it. We didn’t have mobile devices, didn’t have smartphones back when PointCast was out, The bandwidth was too low. One of the big challenges PointCast has was taking over the bandwidth of corporate servers so they blocked it. At that time, the dial-up modem was just too slow to handle the push graphics. Today, it’s ideal. The ideal circumstances are there so sometimes old ideas at the right time are really powerful and I think that’s the case today.

The companion to that are the scan codes. There are a lot of ideas from 1996 to 2004 that didn’t work that were revived between 2004 and 2011 because the time is right.