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A little bit about me

Hi. While this blog is a part of Seed Catalyst’s website, I realised over the initial few weeks that a lot of you are first introduced to the firm via the blog rather than our home page.

So to introduce myself - I’m a business consultant working with early stage technology firms to help streamline their strategy and go-to-market approach and support them for fund raising. 

With this blog, I aim to capture key market trends that I see in the industry, the ecosystem and cross-plays in some of the more interesting and upcoming sectors, as well as cover interesting companies that I meet. 

I will also be addressing vexing and interesting valuation and deal/term-sheet structures that would be of interest to technology start-ups at various stages of their growth.

So let’s get started...

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Mobile Internet or just mobile advertising PDF Print E-mail
Blog - New developments
Monday, 13 September 2010 12:59

 

Perhaps I’m in a slightly more pessimistic mood today but I am looking a little askance at the world and its intermittent hype phases.

 

There has been a lot of talk about all the technological innovation from the last thirty years and even more so in the last five. There are three pictures everyone puts side by side when talking about innovation leading into the 21t century – the Internet cloud, a cellular phone for communication and finally a smart-phone with the connected mobile web.

 

I am a user of the mobile web as well but for once I’m asking myself exactly how important and useful it is. The internet completely changed the way of functioning for a whole lot of us. The amount of information that we now have at our fingertips is unimaginable. There is no longer the need to browse through reams of research material in libraries whenever a white paper has to be written on a subject. I can only imagine how much student life must have changed.

 

And then we have the cellular phone and the possibilities of mobile communication it entails.

 

But the mobile web – exactly how important is it?

 

The smart-phone as a GPS device is great but that doesn’t necessarily need connectivity to the internet. Performance as an m-wallet is brilliant but once again all the secure data can be stored on the SIM and the internet need not come into the picture.

 

Email – let me be the cynic but I do have a wry smile on my face when I see couples at a candle-night dinner furiously typing away at the phones only to look up intermittently, smile at each other, share a few words and get back to the phone.

 

How does m-internet help? It can tell me which of my friends is close, which restaurant is close, where I can buy a particular good, price comparison perhaps – but are these essentials? Or is it just hype? Can’t all of this just be lumped under one big head of mobile advertising?

 

I’ll go out on a limb and state that most of our internet activities on the mobile phone are just a means for agencies to advertise their goods and services. They may sugar coat it and make out that they are providing some freebies and services......why does Foursquare come to mind or even Rummble....but at the end of the day they are pushing and prodding to get the consumer to change his natural behaviour solely so that they can sell him something.

 

Don’t get me wrong – I am not against advertising.

 

But I don’t think mobile internet should be grouped as a technological path-breaker along with the internet and cellular networks. It is a path-breaker solely in the world of advertising - a new means of maximizing mind share.

 

And why is this important? As an industry m-internet and apps etc will react to the same industry catalysts as the rest of the advertising industry. As of now they are capturing the novelty angle and the restricted ad budgets. But as we move out of this seemingly never-ending recessionary period eventually, ad spends will move back to the traditional channels. The novelty of the mobile will begin to wear thin and then the apps, the games, the check-ins, the comparison'ers' will all start being measured on their performance analytics as well. Like the dot com period there will certainly be some interesting bonfires. It's certainly worthwhile to start identifying the winners right away.....perhaps more on this later in the week.


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