Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2014 Mobile Summit: How to Capitalize on the Mobile Movement - Recap

On Tuesday, July 22, 200 attendees gathered at Microsoft’s NERD center in Cambridge for MassTLC’s 2014 Mobile Summit, How to Capitalize on the Mobile Movement.  The summit focused on how to succeed with mobile, whether you’re an app developer, enterprise IT exec or infrastructure supplier and featured a series of discussions on the forces, trends and behaviors driving the next wave of mobile solutions. 

Michael Davies, Chairman of Endeavour Partners, kicked off the summit with his keynote entitled The Future is Already Here.  Michael’s premise is that we are currently facing a “perfect storm of creative destruction” that has been unleashed by five forces:

  • Smartphones and tablets – mobile personal computing
  • Widespread wireless broadband – digital cellular communications, LTE and WiFi
  • Cloud computing – the latest evolution of the “Internet” beyond the web
  • Cheap small-scale smarts – the “Internet of Things”
  • “Big data” and machine learning

This storm is driving a profound transformation in how value is created and captured.  Existing, dominant companies will fail and new upstarts will take over.  You can read more about the perfect storm and what it means here or view Michael’s presentation below. 


Picking up where Michael left off, Ryan Charles from Consumr and Care.com, Henry Cipolla of Localytics and Mike Schneider (a/k/a Schneider Mike) of Skyhook Wireless discussed mobile personalization.  Nitzan Shaer, Managing Director at High Start Group, moderated the discussion.

The three panelists discussed the use of location based services and analytics to provide apps that meet and even predict individuals’ specific needs.  The topic inevitably lead to discussions about privacy concerns, with the consensus being that if individuals provide information about themselves, they have to be repaid with useful applications that make their lives easier.

After the Mobile Personalization panel, four exciting local mobile companies participate in the “Fast Pitch” portion of the event.  Campus Tap, Snappii, Myndlift and Magenic each had two minutes to give an elevator pitch on their offerings, and the audience had one minute to evaluate each one.  The audience was able to learn about some innovative new products/services coming out of the local mobile community, and the participating companies received immediate feedback and qualified leads.

The final session of the day featured two breakouts.  Attendees chose between Paths to success for app developers: How to monetize your app and Developing an enterprise mobile strategy to deliver innovation & accelerate opportunity.  In the former, Nick Bogovich of GSN Games, Mark Kasdorf of Intrepid Pursuits and Charles Teague of Lose It! presented on their respective companies’ strategies for making their apps profitable.  Nick explained the in-app purchase and advertising revenue models, and provided five tips for success:

1. Form an effective product strategy
2. Carefully manage build cost
3. Understand your user acquisition funnel
4. Make a good first impression
5. Identify KPIs that represent success

Charles followed with an explanation of Lose It!’s freemium model and outlined the need to change users’ view of a reasonable comparable cost in order to move to this model.  Charles noted that until you make money selling your app, your business model is to 1) lose money or 2) raise money.  Neither is sustainable for long.

After the final panelist, Mark Kasdorf, discussed his strategy for getting the Timbre app acquired by Seatwave and his views on the level of VC financing that a company should accept. Moderator Matt Gross of Mobile Monday Boston and Mobile First Software moderated a discussion on the pros and cons of each model and the rules for success with each.

In the other breakout, Alan Murray of Apperian and Jim Whalen of Boston Properties, presented the vendor and customer side of enterprise mobile strategy.  Alan mapped out the components and process of developing an enterprise mobile strategy and illustrated his ideas with two customer case studies. Jim lent a customer view to enterprise mobile strategy with an overview of Boston Properties’ strategy for dealing with a geographically distributed business and workforce.  He showed how mobile not only helps in operations but can be a competitive advantage and product enhancement.

After a day of learning, sharing and networking, attendees capped things off with a wine and beer reception on Microsoft NERD’s beautiful outdoor deck.  The gorgeous view on a spectacular night was the perfect close to the summit.  

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