“When the promise was broken I cashed in a few of my dreams”
– The Promise, Bruce Springsteen
It’s hard to not be enthusiastic about the promise of mobile. On one hand it has the power to bring unsuspecting and mighty companies to their knees and on the other it gives hope to the poorest of the poor. What other technology has the potential to touch so many people in so many locales and do so much good?
I may be blinded by this industry but when I sat through GigaOm’s Mobilize I saw the potential that others see in this industry and it is astounding. This was the closest event I could think of to a full on, kumbaya singing love in about the beauty of mobile. Big thinkers thinking big thoughts about what the impact these little devices are and will be having on how we shop, pay, bank and dry our hair. It was so energizing.
So energizing but so confounding.
There is such a difference between what we in the industry talk about and what is actually going on in practice. If you were at Mobilize you would have thought the vast majority of the population were already paying for everything through our phones, that companies were making great use of location to drive customers into their stores or that every app was successful and has had millions of downloads.
This simply isn’t true. Yet.
The same week I sat mesmerized at Mobilize I had the great pleasure of speaking at MRecruiting Camp – exactly what it sounds like – a conference focused on using mobile in recruiting efforts. This is where reality set in. Mobile is a relative unknown to most and using it to help a business is something that is very early in its lifeline.
This is the great mobile gap – the difference between its potential and what is actually being done today. The promise vs the reality. And nowhere was it more prominent than the difference between the two events.
I love thinking about what we can do when there is truly no tether – things we haven’t even scraped the surface of. I’m often guilty of looking at poor QR code implementations with the same scorn as a bad bordeaux might offend a sophisticated palette. This is my plight. I love the initiative that these companies are undertaking but it is very clear we have a long way to go before the mobile gap closes.