I’ve just returned from day one at the Venture Beat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, California. It’s an invite only event for 180 mobile executives from across North America with the focus on creating a blueprint for the growth of this nascent industry.
While day 1 was only a quarter day – 3 fireside chats and 2 cocktail parties with a dinner thrown in as well – I still managed to come up with three observations.
There is froth in the hills
More than a few times I heard the lament of the media in the room – PLEASE give me something REAL – when it comes to company news . No bullshit, just real, tangible news about something that is real and tangible. No more user number talk, no more vanity stats, something concrete please.
There is also a sense of concern over the hollowing effect from the big two (Google, Facebook) buying companies too soon – either as an acqui-hire or an early exit.
Carriers are still thinking like, well, carriers
Kris Rinne, a SVP of AT&T, was first up today and she was great – she knows her stuff about the first three layers of the carrier stack. Seriously, she understands her business. The problem is that her business is rapidly becoming a commodity. It’s a thankless business being a carrier – what other business spends so much on enhancing services while being limited as to what a consumer is willing to pay for it? They literally spend billions of dollars to make a service that their customers complain as being too expensive. And then, when they finally roll out something like 4G, consumers turn around and ask for 5G. Tough when the only thing keeping a customer loyal is the subsidized hardware plan.
They own the customer, they are the gateway to data, they are the onramp yet they still think about the network as being their primary source of revenue going forward. Time for them to start thinking about moving deeper into the customer’s world and away from the commodity.
Google Glass is out, but the watch is in
More of an informal conversation around dinner than anything else but the topic is one going on across the industry. Who would you rather: Google Glass or the Apple watch? The response was mixed on the watch but unanimous on the Glass: Not so much love for that device.
This is a very unique event – one that actually holds delegates accountable by putting them on stage at the end of day 2 to summarize their findings. It is also 2 days of promise around helping to shape mobile – an ecosystem that needs to be healthy to support the incredible innovation going on right now.
More to come!