Back in 1995 when the commercial version of the Internet was growing up – before the browser war and the standards battles – I used to spring out of bed as early as possible to see what innovation had happened while I was sleeping. It was a pretty exciting time to be around – the web was being invented before our eyes and companies were building tools, reinventing how we did business and connecting the globe.Very exciting.
Mobile is like that today. Technology is being invented almost overnight and the pace and ease of innovation is something we haven’t seen since those heady dotcom days. Just as during the formative years of the web, not all of these ideas will stick but for a select few – the truly innovative – we are probably witnessing the birth of the next Amazon.com.
What has this got to do with mobile strategy? With every cycle of innovation, companies are looking at ways they can lurch into a leading position by using the latest and greatest technologies and today, with mobile, is no different. Businesses need to do this to remain competitive so dive in but with one slightly different approach: Stop thinking technology first.
Most entrepreneurs and companies I work with survey the landscape and look for ways to amplify their voice to reach new customers or find ways of increasing revenue from a technology-first approach. They find a technology that is creating a little activity/buzz and see how it can be applied to their business. I’ve seen this with Groupon to disastrous outcomes and Foursquare/coupons to the same.
This often doesn’t work because of the approach – finding a service and trying to cram your business model down it instead of taking a technology second approach.
The Technology Second Approach
Start with your business in mind – goals, objectives, expectations – and apply it as your filter to the plethora of technologies and services out there. Start by honing in on what you want as a result of the technology and the tools you should use will start to become visible and obvious.
There will always be new and exciting mobile innovation happening around you but not all of it will help your business. Be aware of what you want and those tools that are important will percolate and value will be added. Jump in with both feet but think about your business first and everything else second.