Saturday, 26 April 2008

Blyk Part 3: I finally get it

I had a eureka moment listening to Jonathan MacDonald last week at Forum Oxford. I don't think he intended it but it happened all the same. I suddenly realised that I had previously viewed Blyk through traditional telco eyes when the trick is to think of it in completely different terms.

You see, I now realise that it is not an MVNO at all. The telecom elements of the proposition are only a hook to hang the proposition on and not the proposition itself. The proposition is actually a discount or coupons club for people of a similar interests - and crucially I think - a particular segment of people who do not like to be missing out on what others are getting.

The first post I wrote on Blyk was quite negative, focusing on the lack of success of MVNOs around the world, the complications of the proposition and a few other sundries for good luck. I am pretty sure now that I was wrong.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Future Technologies Conference

I attended the Forum Oxford Future Technologies Conference again this year and was again impressed by the quality of the speakers and the eclectic mix of the audience. This is a networking event with a difference: reasonably priced and bringing you into contact with a different mix of industry enthusiasts from other either mass market or London based events. I enjoyed it. (And it is an interesting contrast with the Forum itself which tends to be a little techy for my taste and dominated by too few regular contributors).

Particular highlights this year were:

Mark Selby from Nokia talking about his views of an evolving mobile market. For some of his insights write to him at mark dot selby at nokia dot com requesting the Trendsetter Report. He claimed a figure of 46% of people read news on their mobile phone - this is far more aggressive than anything I have seen from m-metrics to date.

Jonathan MacDonald from Blyk who converted me to a believer (more in subsequent post) despite being too aggressive in believing that his user base would not be interested in mobile data services - something which appeared at odds with his audience's participation in a Sky subscription package worth £12.99 a month and in any case robustly challenged by Mark Curtis from Flirtomatic who was as usual on good form.

Alan Moore was as ever a delight to listen to and working with some mathematical whizzes at Xtract would seem to have reinforced his social marketing theories with hard facts. An extremely potent combination indeed.

A debate between Tomi Ahonen and Dean Bubley was an interesting format which was really well executed about whether mobile will lead internet or internet will lead mobile development in the future. A triumph which would be good see repeated elsewhere.

Christian Lindholm spoke on his view that UPC's will become a significant format in the mobile space and that Nokia will regret its decision to bypass this development. Expect Acer and others to become significant market share holders in the mobile space in the next five years.

Meeting up with Martin Smith from T-Mobile. As ever an enlightened voice of common sense in the space with his finger on the pulse. If only he would blog more!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

RIP Mowser

Russell Beattie announced that his start-up Mowser has reached the end of the road yesterday and is out looking for potential buyers. Russell is something of an institution having been the leading blogger on mobile before blogging was fashionable and as a result always commands a reasonable amount of attention.

In this case though the response to his "It's Over" missive has been a little too extreme on both sides - perhaps strong personalities provoke disproportionate reactions.

First, the "mobile web is over" dramatics from Read Write Web - who really ought to know better.

Then, this condescending post from Mikee Krisher over-reacting to Russ's statements on the state of the mobile web.

As someone in fund raising right now, the statements were certainly not particularly well timed but though there is strong evidence that the mobile web is growing strongly Russ is not a fool. There is never smoke without fire and Russ's assertion that a disproportionate amount of traffic is looking for porn and that it is tough to monetise the mobile channel effectively are true and anyone entering the space needs to have strategies for both.

Good luck to both Russ and Mike Rowehl - both will be re-appearing somewhere shortly.

Fund Raising: Part II

Here is a link to keep you cheery - the TechCrunch Deadpool - a bit of an institution and receiving new contributions by the day at the moment.

There is no shame to being in this list just a reality of the market at the present time and the nature of venture backed start-ups where in normal circumstances 20-30% go to the wall.... and these are not normal circumstances right now.

The most recent addition is Mowser (see next post), but notable others on this list includes Sonopia run by former Microsoft and Macromedia exec - Juha Christiensen. Juha is certainly worth keeping an eye on to see what comes next.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Fund Raising

Apart from freak examples anyone who tells you that raising money is easy has a) never been through it or b) talking out of their ****.

This is an excellent post over on TechCrunch from Mike Butcher citing The founder Adeo Ressi with a lot of maxims that I have found to be true over the past few years.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Interview Tips

A bit out of my usual territory, but there are some classic interview no-no's cited in Jennifer Tortorella's blog here which made me smile.

PS For those of you recruiting in the IT Industry on the East Coast you would struggle to do better than work with Jennifer.