Mobile != on the go

Mobile apps are optimized to deliver instantaneous location-based value for users on the go. When tablets started growing, companies started treating them differently from smartphones. The assumption was that its use was mostly at home.  Harvard Business Review has now published a study that included this terrific piece of information:

Mobile doesn’t always mean on the go. New data show that 68% of consumers’ smartphone use happens at home.

The article was focused on the implications of this for ecommerce. Today I would like you to think of what this means for your product. Can you deliver local, immediate experiences for the 32% of people on the go and broader, deeper experiences for the other 68%?

Figure out how to monetize mobile

KPCB‘s Mary Meeker did a terrific presentation at D10 last week. You can go over the deck yourself, it’s available below.

I’ll point out some of the highlights:

  • 1.1B Global Mobile 3G Subscribers, 37% Growth, Q4 – @ Only 18% of Mobile Subscribers. Impressive 29% of USA Adults Own Tablet / eReader,Up from 2% Less Than Three Years Ago. Despite Tremendous Ramp So Far,Smartphone User Adoption Has Huge Upside.
  • Global Mobile Traffic Growing Rapidly to 10% of Internet Traffic
  • Rapidly Growing Mobile Internet Usage SurpassedMore Highly Monetized Desktop Internet Usage in May, 2012, in India
  • eCPMs 5x Lower on Mobile than Desktop
  • ARPU (Average Revenue per User) 1.7-5x Lower on Mobile than Desktop

It seems that monetizing mobile went from being an opportunity to a necessity for survival.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012 by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers


Credit: Zef Nikolla

Today Facebook became a public company. This is not only a great moment for social media but for venture capital, Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship.

Congratulations to all of you who made it happen. Thanks for keeping the dream alive.

Still not tablet ready?

A month ago I published a post on the iPad outselling all major PC manufacturers. This week Forrester published a study that makes it clear that tablets are also changing user behavior; disrupting print and online media, music and gaming.

Device convergence is nothing new, but for many the device of choice is still mobile phones. The richer UX that tablets provide enables more complex and longer experiences, that can be monetized better.

This chart shows the results of a survey among U.S. tablet owners regarding changes in their media and device use since they own a tablet.

Crowdfunding as an alternative to bootstrapping or venture capital?

This week, industry veteran Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango), managed to raise $3,336,371 to fund his next game. Crowdfunding is now so popular, especially for games, that there was even a session at GDC 2012.

So far, however, crowdfunding has been mostly a way to fund projects with unclear commercial potential. What we haven’t seen yet is a startup that uses crowdfunding as essentially a “free” series seed. Entrepreneurs could prove there is a market for their product and get customer feedback.

I am sure it will not take too long.

If you never saw the video Tim used to raise funds, here it is:

Are you tablet ready?

This chart compares iPad sales to PC sales.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple's tablet outsold all major PC manufacturers.

No, I’m not asking if you’re ready to wait in line for the new iPad. I’m wondering if you’re taking seriously the importance of the tablet as a key device.

Perhaps you have to rethink your product and design “tablet first”. Perhaps it helps your business or hurts it.

No matter what the impact to your business is, you should take it seriously. The tablet is not going anywhere.

Serving non-consumers, self expression and focus: the keys to Pinterest’s success

This chart illustrates the rise of Pinterest in the United States, based on the number of unique visitors and the average time a user spends on the site per month.
The average time per visitor on Pinterest sustained in spite of user growth

Two things dominated my newsfeed these last couple of weeks: Jeremy Lin and Pinterest. I don’t think much more can be added to the Linsanity so I’ll focus on why I think Pinterest is succesful.

1) Serving non-consumers

The web is plagued with social bookmarking or discovery sites like Delicious, Reddit or StumbleUpon. Most of them target the same base of internet power users. Instead of competing with them Pinterest simply targets a different set of users. This would be a classical example of disruptive innovationAccording to ComScore, it’s being particularly successful among Midwest females. Not your typical startup target.

2) Self Expression

Pinterest has been compared to a scrapbook, a collage or a patchwork. There is no doubt that the interface is beautiful. Users are leveraging that beauty for self expression. Some users tell the story of their life, others their passions, their dreams. The result is an appealing visual representation that represents that user. This is a key differentiator of Pinterest.

3) Focus

What Pinterest does it does very well. More importantly, they don’t try to do anything else.

What’s next? Revenue and engagement. There’s no shortage of theories regarding their revenue. From affiliate marketing to sponsored pins, the opportunities are clear. Regarding engagement, time will tell us if Pinterest is not only a self expression mechanism but also a strong discovery site that deserves continuous visits.

I’m the Ambassador of Spain!

Spanish Ambassador to CityVille
Does he look familiar?

Well, kinda. If you play CityVille today you will be greeted by the Ambassador of Spain to CityVille. He’s bringing a lot of new Spanish-themed content and looks a lot like me. Thanks to Matt Winalski and Andy Wang from our great art team.

If you want to learn more about CityVille in general and the art process in particular, watch this NBC video.