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Raw Notes: Mobile Monday Silicon Valley.

Since I was in Mountain View, I decided to check out the Mobile Monday meetup. Raw notes below. I'll digest this have more to say later. :)

Highlights:
  • Om Malik (GigoOM) and Rich Wong (Accel Partners) were particularly insightful/interesting.
  • Some interesting predictions in Mobile : "Amazon will be big in payment". "Facebook story on mobile is under-reported", "Revolution on mobile advertising yet to come."
  • 2011 predictions: Android growth, Samsung winnning, LTE is a story, major security issue on mobile will cause a stink.
  • The US is finally leading in mobile innovation (after nearly ~15 years)
  • Favorite quote: "If you've played the mobile version of Angry Birds on Android with the ads, you know why they're angry.""


Mario Tapia: Mobile Monday co-ordinator/GetJar
Topic: 2010: year in review, 2011: predictions
Panelists:

- Om Malik (GigaOM)
- Rich Wong (Accel)
- Matt Fix (Vodafone Venture)
- Joe Jasin (DNA Partners)
- John Malloy (BlueRun ventures)


Polls upfront:
  • Almost everyone was working on iphone/android and almost no one on anything else.

Social:
  • Om
    • Rise of facebook mobile (underhyped by media)
    • The real story is about FB mobile; FB marries mobile to people; most under-reported. Will be more obvious in 2011
    • Twitter and FB are still the clear web apps and adapt to mobile
  • Rich:
    • Facebook Places is big
  • Joe
    • Not a phenomenon in other parts of the world
    • Some great verticals came up: government, healthcare
  • John:
    • FB is becoming the dominant communication carrier in the world
    • Om: places etc. is fine, but FB is personalizing it based on your social network. FB is not a US phenomenon.
    • Nokia has integrated FB into a $40 feature phone, as an application developer this is good thing and a bad thing.
    • because don't have a big opportunity based on it.
Augemented Reality:
  • Matt: tracking it really well; but still a huge gap and a lot more development that needs to happen.
  • Audio 3D and Spatial 3D: coming but nascent.
  • John Malloy and Rich Wong: We're over-thinking it. The ideas haven't really happened and when it has, it hasn't exactly happend the way we thought. We need to build the visual and real datasets. FB and Foursquare check-ins are a more real example of this.
  • Om: Processing power isn't going to be there until 2014. Bandwidth is going to be there until 2013. We're a few years away from it being really powerful and useful.
Advertising:
  • Consolidation was huge: (AdMob, Quattro, etc.)
  • Rich:
    • This was just the end of the beginning. There is another renaissance coming. Lot of great companies coming here.
  • Om:
    • On the annoying effect of ads: "If you've played the mobile version of Angry Birds, you know why you're angry."
    • Why do we have so many smart people for Google and Apple, and they can't come up with a compelling ad experience?
    • The ZipCar app is an example of the "end of advertising" - brands getting a direct relationship with tuser. The Google guys aren't grokking it. They just want to put a damn banner there!!
    • Tablets aren't going to solve the problem either.
  • Matt: InMobi and Playspan investments.
  • There's a macro trend here: remember the change where people went from having a www site to FB/Twitter
  • Om: the whole idea of advertising has to change. why Groupon said no to Google. Think about the Macy/Bloomingdale app: they want to connect directly.
  • Rich: there is an eCPM problem to crack - because at the end of the day this is going to be the way most apps make money. need to get to 4x-5x the current 60-70c avg CPMs
  • John: Advertising itself is to big.
    • 2010 proved pay to download doesn't work. Spending money for installs is killing us.
    • There are other t
Games:
  • John:
    • Games is hard business. Looks easy from the outside. Hard to come up with another Zynga.
    • Game mechanics are very interesting and should be used.
    • Mobile device is a time-killing device so use it in your apps and devices.
  • Crowded space
    • Internationally: you're locked into a certain
    • DeNa
  • Rich: The income statements of DeNa provide reasons incredible optimism. Interested in the category of mobile social games are extremely impressive.
  • John:
    • Mobile is hard: Angry Birds is not going to be a Zynga.
Location:
  • Matt:
    • Come and go companies: see it as an important feature, not something unique itself.
    • Tied to mobile commerce etc. could be big.
  • Rich:
    • swsx was an incredible showcase; there was a smartmob mentality. It was incredbily powerful to see how people were using it (when everyone was using it.)
    • location services is going to create transformative companies, but will be a feature tied to something like groupon/livingsocial or something else.
  • John:
    • Check-ins are new: "Its us talking to ourselves."
    • If you've checked-in more than once, you're in 1% of the smartphone population - still early and people are figuring it out.
    • But businesses are becoming more interesting: GPS enabled phones will be everywhere and people
  • Om:
    • VCs still figuring it out. guessing.
    • Attention economics are messy; vey hard for people to carve out and retain attention. Physical limit to how addicted to a platform.
    • e.g. Instagram: I'm addicted to instagram, but I only end up using it 12 mins a day.
    • Foursquare is so hyped: but still just at 5M - thats a challenge.
  • Rich: I've become more optimistic (advertising and the econsystem is much richer) - hence the investments in 3LM and MoPub
Payments:
  • Rumors on NFC etc.
  • Rich:
    • 2 categories:
    • Gateway and carrier-billing: boku and zong are playing there, but its hard while the carrier contineus to take 30%. Only for virtual goods.
    • That's why they're trying to get you to CC, paypal etc.
    • I think someone who can figure out the on-loading problem and bypassing the carriers is huge, but don't see anything out there.
  • DNA: gaming companies could bypass the mobile payment providers.
  • Om (5 companies that will have a big impact - hard to say how the other distinguish themselves):
    • Amazon: staying under the radar.
    • Apple
    • Paypal
    • Facebook
    • Payphone
  • Rich: NFC is over-hyped. Not clear what will really happen. Just because its big in Japan doesn't translate here.
  • Matt: Catch-22: who will pay for it? could be solutions for it.
  • Om: Carriers don't seem to know that they're in the carrier business: they think they are in the s/w business, the app business - they've been trying it for 20 years.

Platforms:
  • Android vs. iPhone:
    • everyone realized there was a second platform in town, but development dollars have been going to Android for the last 12 months.
    • Apple has a more profitable model long-term, but its a 2 horse race.
  • Macro theme: Linux is taking some marketshare.
  • Om:
    • 27 handsets vs 1: why are we surprised
    • Android is the Google philosophy: relaease Beta every single time.
    • I won't rule out Nokia just yet: they sell 100s of millions of phones each year. they'll catch up.
    • Blackberry either: just have one-shot
    • I like Windows 7. I'll just never buy it.
International activity:
  • Rich:
    • Android is the story even in emerging markets
    • I thought it would take much longer in India, Indonesia etc., but we're seeing share grow there quickly
  • Joe:
    • China: their development path is Android number 1, Symbian no. 2, then feature phones, and apple if they have time.
    • Not sure what's driving that, but that's clear.
  • John:
    • Mobile innovation now is : Korea, China and here. The US is no longer tier-2 in mobile innovation.
    • Now we're seeing innovation is here. For the first time the defining edge is in the US. Not seen this in 12-15 years. we're seeing where China will be when 3G is rolled out. Earlier I use to spend a lot of time in seoul; reversing that.
    • Om: Next 12 months are about 3G in emerging markets. 250M Indians in 3G, 100M Indonesions on 3G.
    • For service layer innovation to take place: you need to see commoditization of the platform layear: won't see that in India for a while.
    • In 2011, Hope that HTML5 is competitive with native apps - that will make it the broadest addressable market.
  • China:
    • Expect to see more M&A from Chinese companies (e,.g Tencent) in the US especially in horizontal plays like virtual goods.
  • Meego:
    • not shipping until really summer 2012, might have shot in some developing countre
2011 Predications
  • Matt: Security: there is going to be one major security issue that will get a lot of press/fear.
  • Rich: Android is going to accelerate and gain share even more.
  • John: HTML5 becomes more competitive and that provides a bridge for companies to iterate in a more web-like environment.
  • Om: Samsung becomes the #2 brand/company in the 2011 ; Motorola starts to dwindle. x3 by nokia will be a success
  • DNA: LTE branding will be everywhere; voice recognition as tablets take a pervasive role.

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