Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just another Manic Monday

Monday morning classes are often difficult for all concerned, and bring to mind the 1986 observations sung by Susanna Hoff.

I went to two talks (the other one I’ll post after I’m caught up on grading) today. Tonight it was Mobile Monday, the Silicon Valley chapter. The program had three speakers:

  • Jordy Mont-Reynaud, the mobile dev lead for Bebo, talked about how this social networking site is going mobile in the next few weeks.
  • Sam Altman, the student entrepreneur founder of Loopt, who explained how location-based services support their “social mapping” service which allows people to socialize and get together. (The service has been live for a year with Boost Mobile).
  • Ain Indermitte of Nokia introduced Nokia Mosh (“mobilize and share”), a beta site for the Nokia developer community (or others) that seems like a cross between Flickr and SourceForge.
I didn’t get the point (USP in the words of Rosser Reeves) for Mosh, but I signed up anyway, getting this prompt:
In the future MOSH will be advertising supported. To ensure we show you the most relevant offers possible from our partners, please complete the following. We will never share this information with anyone and it will only take a minute to complete.
The first two speakers were more directly relevant, since they part of the sample of social media companies in the thesis project that I’m supervising this year. As a platform guy, what was most striking was the difference between the two in their view of mobile client software.

The Bebo talk was subtitled “If it doesn't work on a billion phones, don't bother.” He noted how hard it is — absent preloaded software — it is to get new applications onto mobile phones, using SMS as the least common denominator, and quoted a statistic (couldn’t find the original) that 61% of mobile games played recently were downloaded games — i.e., 39% of the games were the lame free games preloaded on the phone rather than from the $2 billion mobile game industry.

Loopt is going the other way — winning loyalty with various native applications (BREW, Windows Mobile, and various forms of Java) rather than the compromises necessary to run a WAP-based application. Part of the reason is that the location-based APIs vary by carrier, although attempts are being made to abstract the APIs across devices. (He also noted a series of privacy issues that sounded similar to those addressed by FireEagle from Yahoo).
[MoMo crowd]
This was the first time I attended a meeting of Mobile Monday, and I was quite impressed. The place was packed — we had about 150 people crammed into the Nokia Research Center (Palo Alto) — I counted 110 chairs while the rest was standing room only, and even with that they turned people away at the door.

Mobile Monday is the Nokia-founded networking group that began in Helsinki in 2000 and now has spread to a total of 45 chapters. Other than Helsinki, it seems the Beijing, London and Silicon Valley chapters are the most active. I helped start two local trade associations, and it’s rare that I’ve experienced a group with this kind of energy.

Photo by Mobile Monday organizer Mike Rowehl via Flickr.

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Jan-Michael said...

"* a beta site for the Nokia developer community (or others) that seems like a cross between Flickr and SourceForge.

I didn’t get the point (USP in the words of Rosser Reeves) for Mosh

From looking around a few blogs and the site itself, MOSH is Nokia's entry into the social network space that allows content providers (mobile developers and mobile phone users) to share and/or provide applications, wallpapers, and other media among Nokia mobile users.

The MOSH itself is a portal or aggregator of the content and signing up provides more access and I assume personalization (so common nowadays)

Just like our discussion with lock-in and switching-costs last week, this is yet another way to 'lock-in' folks by encouraging people to create content and further attract people to use the service (and maybe purchase a few Nokia phones along the way)

Since they have your profile and phone number (as part of the registration process), they have an easy way to text/instant message/notify you about advertising that might fit your profile (SPAM for your phone anyone?)

Jordy Mont-Reynaud said...

Thanks for the write-up! FYI you can find my slides here: http://www.slideshare.net/jordy/if-it-doesnt-work-on-a-billion-phones-dont-bother

AppMarks said...

The Nokia security personnel I spoke with mentioned that their head count for the Mobile Monday event was 203 people in attendance (presumably drawn from counting all the NDAs signed) and at least 63 turned away.